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During August, Grant spent a week in Darwin covering Exercise Pitch Black 2014, a major multinational “war game” exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force.
RSAF F15 at dusk in Darwin
Held every two years, Pitch Black is Australia’s version of the Red Flag training exercises held in the USA and in 2014 the RAAF was joined by forces from the US, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Grant joined Andrew McLaughlin, Nigel Pittaway, Mike Yeo and Eng Tiong Ow to experience fantastic access to the local & visiting forces thanks to the efforts of FLTLT Eamon Hamilton. From meeting with representatives from each group attending Pitch Black to being beside the runways & taxiways at Darwin & Tindal, we were able to capture some fantastic photos, videos & interviews.
In addition to Grant’s collection of Pitch Black 2014 content, Steve & ATC Ben recorded a chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book and his ideas for future projects.
At the time we recorded the wrappers for this episode, Steve was about to head to the USA for a family holiday and to cover the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas while Grant was geting ready to go to Auckland for the Wings Over New Zealand forum gathering. Unfortunately there were delays in getting everything finished so the episode didn’t come out until after the boys had left on their flights. Go figure :)
The episode’s details are:
- 0:08:20 –
Grant’s coverage of Exercise Pitch Black 2014
GPCAPT “Micka” Gray – Officer Commanding Exercise Pitch Black 2014
- 0:09:22 – General media “door stop” interview with GPCAPT “Micka” Gray
- 0:17:05 – FLTLT Ben Daly talks about the roles of Air Combat Officer (ACO) and Fighter Combat Controller (FCC)
- 0:22:03 – FLGOFF Kathryn Koslowicz talks about the day to day tasks of an Air Combat Officer (ACO) and being deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO)
- 0:26:31 – FLTLT Ben Daly takes us through No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit’s operations cabins and how they’re used to deploy & manage operations in remote locations
- 0:31:25 – SQNLDR Tim Main reviews the RAAF’s new E7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft
- 0:40:15 – Lt Col Scott Arbogast is the commander of the US ANG F16s & he tells us about their role in the exercise
- 0:46:02 – CMSgt Joseph Smiley discusses the logistics behind getting the US ANG F16s to Australia, keeping them running here and then getting them back home afterwards
- 0:52:34 –
WGCDR Ben Sleeman, CO of 77 SQN, tells us about being the defender
French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) CASA CN235 Transport
- 1:00:42 – SQNLDR Rob Crawford talks about the 37SQN C130J he brought up to Tindal
- 1:04:56 – WOFF Kyle Lovett is a refuelling operator (aka “boomer”) on 33SQN’s KC30A MRTTs and he walks us through a typical mission they’ve been flying
- 1:14:39 – FLTLT Adam Rouessart & FLGOFF Matthew Bleach were the crew for the F18F Super Hornet handling display during the week
- 1:18:52 – CASA CN235 crew from the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia
- 1:29:24 – RTAF WGCDR Titan
- 1:33:44 –
Mick Gablonski is the CHC base manager for the S61 SAR helicopter at Tindal
RTAF SAAB Jas 39 Gripen departing Darwin
- 1:42:19 – Nobby has been part of the team restoring Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair & he lets us in on some of the effort required to bring it to flight status
- 1:48:05 – Steve & ATC Ben chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book “Born to Fly” and his ideas for the future
- 2:15:11 – Steve & Grant return to wrap up the episode with the following shout outs:
RAAF F18 Hornets doing a paired take-off
Grant is very impressed with Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair
CHC’s Sikorsky S61 SAR Helicopter
Our small group of Aviation Media on the RSAF tarmac after our dusk-walk
(Eng Tiong Ow, Grant McHerron, Mike Yeo, 2 x RSAF, Andrew McLaughlin, Eamon Hamilton, Nigel Pittaway)
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Steve’s very happy to have finally started converting currency into currency as he’s logging hours in a Flysynthesis Texan and progressing towards getting his RA-Aus license. Grant’s been too busy with work to get many hours but did finally get to log some “special shape” time in his balloon logbook. Naturally, both Steve & Grant are VERY happy to have finally released another episode.
Air Marshal Geoff Brown with Steve at Pt Cook
This episode the boys are joined by Kathy Mexted
and Maikha Ly
so you know the blooper reel at the end will be “interesting” to say the least. Kathy & her hubby have been flying their Piper Cub while Maikha’s been flying for work but, thanks to Adelaide’s weather lately and a recent house purchase, he’s not been able to do any personal flying.
For this episode we’re bringing you a mixed bag of content from the RAAF’s Pt Cook Centenary of Military Aviation airshow (including Steve’s chat with AIRMSHL Geoff Brown), Kathy’s chat with Kingsley Just about his new world record, catching up with John Fisher to talk L39s & USAF and Grant’s recent visit to the B24 restoration project in Werribee for their heritage recognition award ceremony
- 0:13:15 – Steve chats with Air Marshal Geoff Brown (Chief of Air Force) about the Royal Australian Air Force’s celebration of their centenary at Point Cook, his career with the RAAF, the RAAF’s fleet upgrades & current operations, the C-27J & F-35, flying gliders and transitioning from flying CH-47 Chinooks to flying fast jets.
- 0:30:34 –
Grant visited the B24 restoration project at Werribee for their Heritage Recognition award ceremony and recorded a few chats with the following people:
Tony Maher demonstrates the electrically driven mid-upper turret
- Doug Lindsay (President of the B24 Restoration project)
- Professor Alex Baitch (National President, Engineers Australia)
- Andrew Elsbury MLC (Member of State Parliament)
- Dan O’Connell (Volunteer)
- Before chatting with Tony Maher (volunteer), Grant also recorded the sound of Tony demonstrating the electrically driven mid-upper turret
- 0:50:41 – Kathy chats with Kinglsey Just about setting the Guinness World Record for the most continuous rolls performed in an aircraft (an amazing 987 in his Pitts Special!). They talk about the planning & preparation, the method, the reason and how it all worked out (complete with a dramatic ending). They also talk about his interest in aviation including his gliding & flying tow planes in Europe.
- 1:05:08 –
Maikha was with us at the RAAF’s Pt Cook event and he spent most of his time with the antiques and warbirds where he recorded the following:
Kevin Bailey and his wife with their Stinson Reliant
- Chris Shine with his Beech Staggerwing
- Kevin Bailey and his Stinson Reliant
- Allan Harding and his MkIII Auster
- Allan’s young assistant Lloyd Galloway talks about flying, the RA-Aus scholarship he was awarded and his involvement with the Auster
- Steve Death talks about the Southern Knights formation team
- Maureen Massey is the Vice President of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and she talks about the C-47, DHC-4 Caribou and PBY Catalina
- Robert ‘Bob’ StJohn, a Vietnam veteran, volunteers with HARS to help keep the Caribou flying. He talks about what’s involved in keeping it going and his experiences in Vietnam with “Wallaby Airlines” (the RAAF’s Caribou operations)
- Warren Gengos flies the HARS PBY Catalina
- 1:42:55 – John “Viper” Fisher from Top Gun Australia talks about Top Gun Australia’s operations, flying the L-39, being a WSO on the F-4 & flying the A-10 with the USAF plus his exchange rotation with the French
- 1:59:04 – We come back for some shout outs:
- Thanks to Barry Moore for suggesting we chat with John Fisher
- Shane Simpson has recently completed his first solo in a Cessna 152 at Moorabbin (YMMB). Onya mate!
- Congratulations to Anthony Crichton-Browne and his wife Prudence for the recent arrival of their son Andrew
- Our friend Owen Zupp who is making the transition from Boeing 737s to a command position with Jetstar A320s as well as releasing his new book “50 More Tales of Flight” and his new site “The Pilots Blog“
- Maikha recommends that everyone should check out the South Australian Aviation Museum in Adelaide
- Grant’s ecstatic to hear that OzRunways are producing an Android version of their app (“Project Marvin” – awesome! :) ). With AvPlan also producing an Android version, Grant is very happy to not need to buy an iThing :)
- Congratulations to Steven Pam who has done a marathon effort producing the Tyabb Airshow DVD and also to Karl von Moller from the Broken Wings project who’s been helping out as well
Music for this episode was “Short Change Hero” by “The Heavy” (2009 on Counter Records)
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With Australia’s confirmed purchase of a total of 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Steve & Grant are joined by Andrew McLaughlin from COMINT (Communications Intelligence) to discuss the F-35 and its operation within the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). We also feature a number of great interviews with Lockheed Martin staff and an in-depth discussion with Air Vice Marshall Kym “Koz” Osley regarding the work required to integrate the F35 into the RAAF.
F-35A, B & C models
(Image supplied by Lockheed Martin)
After an introductory discussion on the F35 between Andrew, Steve & Grant, this episode features:
- 0:09:49 - Excerpts from the press conference held at RAAF Base Pt Cook in March 2014 where AVM Kym Osley discussed the F35 purchase and Deputy Chief of Air Force (DCAF) AVM Leo Davies introduced the first two RAAF pilots to go to the USA for F35 training: SQN LDR David “Belly” Bell & SQN LDR Andrew “Jacko” Jackson.
- 0:13:19 - Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn talks to us about his career from a Canadian F18 pilot seeing combat in Kosovo to a test pilot on the Eurofighter Typhoon and on to the F35.
Australia’s first two F35 pilots:
SQN LDR Andrew ‘Jacko’ Jackson & SQN LDR David ‘Belly’ Bell
- 0:23:17 - Graham Bentley is ex-RAAF and the Lockheed Martin Business Development Manager in Australia. We talk to him about his career from flying P3 Orions to commanding the Australian Forces in the Middle East and on to his role as Air Attache in Washington, USA. He also discusses LockMart’s preparations to bring the F35 to Australia and the technologies it’ll bring with it.
- 0:32:42 - Steven L Over, Lockheed Martin’s Director of F-35 International Business Development, talks to us about component manufacturing being undertaken within Australia.
- 0:40:44 - Billie Flynn returns to talk with Grant in more detail regarding the F-35’s new high-tech helmet.
Billie Flynn running Steve through the cockpit of the F35
- 0:52:39 - Grant catches up with AVM Kym “Koz” Osley for an in-depth discussion on the work involved in bringing the F-35 into the RAAF, including infrastructure construction at airports, staffing & training, support equipment and perhaps the most complex part of the F-35’s support environment: Autonomic Logistics Information System (aka “ALIS”)
- 1:52:49 - We wrap up the episode with a further discussion between Andrew, Steve & Grant on the F-35 aircraft, the program and the potential for Australia to operate the F-35B on our new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships (gotta use that ski-ramp, right?)
Grant gets to check out the F-35 cockpit. Fortunately it has burners, just like a hot air balloon :)
Cover image thanks to Lockheed Martin
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Just to be different, this episode Steve joins ATC Ben on a BenAir flight from Essendon (YMEN) to Temora (YTEM) to attend the NatFly 2014 event. With the Cirrus SR20’s autopilot keeping them on track, Captain Ben & FO Steve introduce the show before opening up their packed lunches. Sadly, Sierra Juliette Alpha (VH-SJA) did not include a flight attendant so they had to arrange their own drinks.
BenAir’s VH-SJA after arriving at Temora (YTEM)
Meanwhile, as you may have heard on a recent Australia Desk Segment
, Grant was flying hot air balloons in Leeton, about 60 nautical miles south west of Temora. While Steve & Ben were at NatFly & recording a few interviews, Grant managed to corner a pilot for a chat in Leeton.
This episode unfolds with the following content:
- 0:03:54 - Paul Goard from Brumby Aircraft Australia (based in Cowra, New South Wales) talks about their high-wing aircraft, the change to the Rotax engine and their production schedule.
- 0:08:49 - Robin Lowe from Lowe Flight (based at Kilcunda, Victoria) talks about the Fresh Breeze XCitor Paratrike which subsequently won the “Best Powered Parachute” award at NatFly 2014.
It also turns out that Robin is looking for an instructor to join his team so if you’re interested, his contact details are on the website :)
- 0:14:54 - Bob & Marya Phillips at AvTours Australia have been in the aviation tours business since 1989. They talk about the tours they’ve previously run to Oshkosh and their plans for this year’s tour.
- 0:24:57 - Matt Hall from Matt Hall Racing talks about pylon hits, assessing the other competitors, the removal of the knife-edge pass pylons from the Red Bull Air Race‘s track design and his schedule for the next month or two.
- 0:31:31 -
Grant catches up with Niall Higgins after another fun morning flying hot air balloons over Leeton. Niall talks about his background in aviation and why he flies fixed wing AND hot air balloons. In addition to flying a Yak52 with the Russian Roolettes, Niall also flies Tiger Moths and he talks about a very special gig on ANZAC Day this year: as part of the lead up to the Great Tiger Moth Air Race, Niall flew one of 4 Tigermoths up Sydney Harbour with WWII veterans on board.
Grant firing the burners during inflation
(Photo by Greg Maunder Sports Photography)
While we recorded the chat before ANZAC Day, this episode came out a few days after, allowing us to give you this link to an ABC News report on the flight :)
- 0:38:17 - As ATC Ben flies the Sierra Juliet Alpha back to Essendon, he records a NatFly 2014 wrap up with Steve while they were somewhere over Mt Kosciuszko.
VH-SJA parked back at Essendon (YMEN) after the flight
Balloons flying over Leeton
(Grant’s in there somewhere :) )
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After a break due to injuries, surgery & a wedding, we’re back on deck and our first episode for 2014 is packed with Down Under aviation goodness :)
From Matt Hall & the return of the Red Bull Air Race to flying in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne
From Matt Hall
and the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race
to our media flight in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne to promote the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show
, this episode really got us exited for the year ahead.
Our first episode for 2014 unfolds as:
- Steve & Grant chat about surgery, a wedding and some recent media publicity after a couple of unusual hot air balloon landings in Melbourne
- 0:12:35 – We chat with Matt Hall about the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race and get lots of great info about the changes to the race itself, his new team, how they’ve been preparing and the telemetry system he’s using.
Is ATC Ben excited or nervous to be on the C130J media flight? :)
Steven Pam is clearly excited to be on the C130J media flight :)
- 0:46:20 – Steven Pam & ATC Ben got to represent PCDU at a recent RAAF C130J media flight over Melbourne to promote the Centenary of Military Aviation air show at Pt Cook on March 1st & 2nd. In the process they recorded the following content:
- Air Commodore Phil Byrne (RAAF’s Head of Special Events) talking about the historical significance of Pt Cook and the RAAF’s preparations for their Centenary of Military Aviation air show
- David Gardner (Director, RAAF Museum) talks about the Bristol Boxkite replica
- Flight lieutenant Matt Fleet, an RAF C130J pilot on exchange with the RAAF
- Sergeant Greg Milne, an RAAF C130J loadmaster
The view of Melbourne from a RAAF C130J’s ramp
Even the RAAF are getting into the GoPro action for this flight :)
- We have some announcements:
- PCDU will be at the Tyabb Airshow 2014 (A Salute to Veterans) on Sunday, March 9th and are looking forward to catching up with any of you who can be there
- We want your stories, especially “grass roots” content and, as Steve Riley wrote in about, more “stories about flying”
We have some shout outs:
The view from the C130J’s cockpit is spectacular, even without another aircraft in close formation
- Thanks to Steve’s surgical staff for doing his knee reconstruction, including Mr Eden Raleigh, Dr Peter Larkins & Dr Joshua Hoppe from the Epworth Hospital
- Thanks to Pieter Johnson & David Vanderhoof for the long-distance support from around the world to help Steve get through some difficult times
- Steve wants to thank Grant & the rest of the PCDU team for helping out with the Australia Desk episodes while he was recovering
- Thanks to the Hangar 49 & Aviation Xtended podcasts for being brave enough to let Grant join them when recording their latest episodes (Hangar 49’s “G’Day Mate” … Aviation Xtended’s “Plane Crazy”)
- Good luck to Dave Gray (formerly from the Lifestyle PodNetwork) who is currently battling melanoma
- Thanks to the RAAF for inviting us to attend the C130J media flight
- Twitter user 555UHZ is posting the movie Top Gun as a series of frames (with subtitles), one every half hour or so. Now that’s dedication! :)
Here’s the video Steven Pam put together following the C130J media flight:
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Would you let these guys run a radio station? AusFly did!
September 2013 rolled around and it was time for the second AusFly event at Narromine in New South Wales. Team PCDU squeezed into a bus that was loaded with Analog Al’s airshow PA system, our gear and a certain trade stand then drove over 800km in a day to get there. Whew!
Once there we cleared out the studio, set up the sound system & got ready to run AusFly Radio & do the air display commentary. We applied the lessons we learned from AusFly 2012 and, over the course of the event, wound up learning all new lessons so AusFly 2014 will be even better. We also recorded a stack of content and have packaged some of it up into this first AusFly 2013 episode. Even though it’s over 2 hours long, there’s still more yet to come but we’ll save that for later episodes.
For now, here’s the AusFly 2013 content we have for you in this episode:
- 0:02:13 – Ben Jones joins us for a recap of AusFly 2013 with David Brown from the SAAA.
- 0:09:32 – Rob Fisher from Superior Air Parts covers the aviation components & parts they’re able to supply
- 0:15:01 – Anton Meier from Aerosport Aviation in New Zealand talks about the Triton Sport, a derivation of the Sport Cruiser
- 0:21:27 – Russell Milton from Atlas Aviation Australia talks about their SkyLeader aircraft
- 0:26:22 – Stephen Gale talks us through learning to fly the SIA Marchetti S211 jet with input from Willie “Godfather” Chew (ex-RSAF instructor). We’re also joined by Jodie Davis from SkyThrills who went flying with Stephen in the jet.
- 0:34:13 – Allan Barton from Zenair Australia tells us about the Zenith aircraft they’re importing from the USA
- 0:37:11 – Dianne McNamara produces custom aircraft covers for Punkin Head Air Sports
- 0:43:08 – Michael Coates represents Pipistrel in Australia
- 0:51:36 – David Baddams runs Snow Goose International and ferries aircraft around the world. He also flew David Brown’s RV10 in an RV formation at AusFly
- 1:00:31 – Grant & Ben chat with Dick Smith and Ryan Campbell about flying solo around the world
- 1:09:50 – Amanda Pond from Puddle To Pond Financial talks about life insurance for pilots
- 1:13:45 – Steve & Ben talk to Paul Holler & Norm Edmunds from the SAAA about home building aircraft
- 1:38:17 – Bas Scheffers went up with Jeremy from SkyThrills to do some aerobatics in their Super Decathalon. He also tells us a bit about the latest OzRunways news
- 1:46:14 – Steve, Grant, Ben & David Brown wrap up their AusFly 2013 review
Don’t forget to go & support Steven Pam’s Airheads documentary, a movie that desperately needs to be made.
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JQ’s new 787 arrives at Melbourne
The past month has included a number of events related to the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review 2013 as well as the arrival of Jetstar’s new 787-8. Grant’s been visiting a few ships & interviewing their aircrew while Kathy’s had a flight on Australia’s brand new MRH-90 Taipan transport helicopters. Not long after that, Grant was in Sydney to watch the mass-flypast of aircraft as the fleet steamed into Sydney harbour then both Steve & Grant were on the tarmac in Melbourne for the new Jetstar 787 arrival celebrations.
HMS Daring’s Lynx
Naturally this generated lots of great new content and we’ve packaged it all up as follows:
- 0:06:43 - LT Hamish Walker, Lynx Pilot on HMS Daring
- 0:13:37 - LT CDR Teilo Elliot-Smith, Air Warefare Officer on HMS Daring
- 0:27:15 - CDR Angus Essenhigh, Commanding Officer of HMS Daring
- 0:34:37 - LT David Roderick, Seasprite Pilot on HMNZS Te Mana
- 0:46:17 - LT Hamish Liddy, Seasprite Observer on HMNZS Te Mana
- 0:57:22 - Leading Hand Zach Taylor, Seasprite crew on HMNZS Te Mana
1:06:29 - David presents Grant with their 6 Squadron patch & explains its symbolism
6 SQN is combined RNZAF & RNZN
- 1:07:43 - Grant chats with listener “Mick from the Frankston line”
- 1:14:45 - Kathy Mexted chats with Steve about flying in the MRH-90
- 1:17:45 - LT Jack Wadey, MRH-90 Taipan Pilot
- 1:31:40 - CPT Brett Chandler, Commanding Officer of HMAS Creswell
- 1:38:27 - Kathy chats about how she knew Brett Chandler from some time ago
- 1:43:20 - David Hall, CEO of Jetstar Australia & New Zealand
- 1:48:53 - Captain Jeremy Schmidt, lead pilot on Jetstar’s 787 programme
- 1:55:19 - Gordon Rich-Phillips, Victoria’s Minister for Aviation Industry
- 1:59:23 - We wrap it up and sign off
Kathy’s aircraft for her media flight
Ben Wickham & Kathy Mexted getting ready to board the MRH-90