Episode 124: Avalon15 Bravo (Yet more Avalon Airshow Goodness)

The Australian International Airshow (aka Avalon Airshow) may well be over for 2015 but our collection of content recorded at the show is still being worked on. Here’s another hour of interviews & discussions and we suspect there may be another two episodes before we’re through with all of it. This is what happens when you let Steve, Grant & Maikha run loose with audio recorders at an airshow :)

Maikha & his Selfie Stick seemed to get almost everywhere at Avalon15

Maikha & his Selfie Stick seemed to get almost everywhere at Avalon15

 

Steve kicks us off with an overview of the episode which unfolds as:

  • 0:02:42 - Grant caught up with Richard Woodward but instead of chatting in his usual ride (an A380), they’re chatting about the new coaxial rotor helicopters he’s working on with Coax Helicopters. They’re amazing machines that are being targeted at those who like to ride sports bikes without fairings.
     
  • 0:10:45 -
    Richard Woodward at the controls of a Coax Helicopter (it's a tad smaller than his usual A380 :) )

    Richard Woodward at the controls of a Coax Helicopter (it’s a tad smaller than his usual A380 :) )

    Peta Denham Harvey is the vice president of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (Victorian Branch) and she tells Maikha about the Round Australia Relay which features women pilots flying around australia to raise money for the Cancer Council. The relay started during the Avalon Airshow and will conclude in April at the AWPA conference in Launceston (Tasmania).
     
  • 0:16:21 - Grant talks with GPCAPT Guy Adams regarding Unmanned Aerial Systems within the Australian Defence Force ranging from backpack units Army squads can use through to Global Hawk & Triton. The discussions also covers how the Heron UAV is operating with the RAAF after Afghanistan, the Scan Eagle platform trials, operations with Reapers in the USA and what was involved in getting a Global Hawk to land at Avalon Airport.
     
    GPCAPT Guy Adams in front of the Triton mockup

    GPCAPT Guy Adams in front of the Triton mockup

  • 0:38:04 - Craig Duncan from the Airline Academy of Australia has come down from Queensland for the show and he talks with Steve about their training operations at Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba.
     
  • 0:49:03 - Maikha’s managed to get into the belly of an RJ85 Fire Fighting aircraft that’s been derived from a BAe146. He’s with Ray Horton from ConAir in Canada and they’re talking about Ray’s career, ConAir’s operations, the RJ85 and fire bombing in Australia.
     
  • 1:01:06 - Grant got to take a break with Jodi Davis and review what she’s been up to over the last 18 months including her aerobatic flying and working as Matt Hall Racing’s domestic business development manager based at Belmont Airport in Pelican (New South Wales).
     
  • 1:06:18 - With a live-to-the-mic intro from Allan Van’t Padje, Timbo joins Grant to give us yet another Timbo’s Tarmac with the inside word on the Avalon warbird tarmac, some fun with soft ground and storing aircraft in the now empty ex-Qantas hangars.
     
  • 1:09:47 - Steve wraps up the episode
ConAir Spotter, C130 & RJ85 parked in front of their hangar

ConAir Spotter, C130 & RJ85 parked in front of their hangar

PCDU Episode 122: Farewell 2014

As the final hours of 2014 draw to a close, we’re getting our last episode for 2014 out the door. The boys have been kept pretty busy with their day jobs lately but, despite this, they’ve managed to do some flying:Ep122 Cover

  • Grant’s been taking friends on their first balloon flights including Evan Schoo and Darren Craven
  • Fred Samson took Steve for a fly over San Francisco while he was there a back in October
  • Steve got to fly a 172 in Las Vegas thanks to Rod Rakic & AirWork Las Vegas, an OpenAirplane member
  • The PCDU aeroplane fleet has expanded thanks to Jonesy picking up a 1974 model Cessna 172

After the hangar talk settles down, we get into the episode itself which includes the recent Avalon Airshow Media Launch, Steve’s time at the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas and Grant’s trip to Auckland in New Zealand for the Wings Over New Zealand Forum meet up. The episode stacks up in the following list:

Steve with the AirWork Cessna 172 he flew over Las Vegas

Steve with the AirWork Cessna 172 he flew over Las Vegas

  • Grant attended the media launch for the Avalon Airshow which was held in the old Qantas hangar where they used to park a 747 while doing heavy maintenance on it. There was wind on the hangar walls, doors opening, vehicles moving and people talking which all made it a rather “interesting” place to record the following chats:

    • 0:16:29 – Jeff “Trappo” Trappett finally gets a chance to appear on PCDU (that or he couldn’t run away fast enough :) ) and talks to Grant about his P51, his C47 & his Sabre
       
    • 0:22:34 – Paul Bennet talks about his new Wolf Pitts aircraft, the manoeuvres it’s letting him do and where things are at with Paul Bennet Airshows (sounds like he’s got a bit of an airforce happening :) )
       
    • 0:26:36 – Darren Craven talks about owning & flying a Winjeel
       
    • 0:33:30 – Gordon Robinson talks about flying Australia’s only Fokker Dr.1 triplane replica all the way down to Melbourne from Brisbane
       
    • 0:39:38 – Andrew Carter owns & flies the Dr.1 replica that Gordon flew down. He talks to us about setting up the Australian Vintage Aviation Society to commemorate WW1 & bring to life aircraft of the era.
       
    • 0:48:28 – Of course, there wouldn’t be aircraft at Avalon without a session on Timbo’s Tarmac and Grant made sure to record one at this event
       
  • Back in October, Steve went to the USA to experience the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas (his family still thinks it was a family trip :) ). While at the event he recorded the following interviews:
    • Steve chats with Matt Hall at the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas

      Steve chats with Matt Hall at the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas

      0:54:27 – Matt Hall talks about his results in the Fort Worth race & the challenges he’s found this season
       
    • 0:59:33 – Eric Cieslar & Peter Wezenbeek are Matt Hall’s race technician & race tactician and they talk about their roles in keeping Matt flying in top form during the races
       
    • 1:05:30 – Hannes Arch talks about standardised engines and how they’ve highlighted the pilot’s skills as opposed to engine power
       
    • 1:09:06 – Kirby Chambliss talks about the challenges he’s faced this season and the changes he’ll be making for the next season
       
    • 1:13:42 – Mike Goulian talks about his involvement with Cirrus aircraft and the hassles he’s worked through this season
       
    • 1:19:48 – Steve catches up with Matt once again just prior to the start of the second day to discuss qualifying
       
    • 1:21:55 – Steve presents a wrap up of the race after the winds came up and they had to cancel the day’s flying (audio courtesy of the Red Bull Air Race content pool)
       
    • 1:24:21 – Rod Rakic talks about OpenAirplane
       
  • As Steve was on a Qantas A380 heading to the USA, Grant was on an Air New Zealand A320 heading to New Zealand to attend the Wings Over New Zealand Forum gathering at Ardmore Airport near Auckland. More than just a gathering, this event included plenty of presentations on great topics, all hosted within the New Zealand Warbirds hangar. While Dave Homewood is releasing much of the content from the event on his Wings Over New Zealand show, Grant recorded a few items of his own:
    • 1:33:54 – Brett Nicholls talks about owning two ex-RNZAF BAC 167 Strikemasters and what it’s taken to get them running for publically available joy flights with Jetfighter Military Adventure Flights
       
    • Graham Wood taxies the DH.83 Fox Moth

      Graham Wood taxies the DH.83 Fox Moth

      1:42:20 – Grant got the opportunity to take a ride in a DH.83 Fox Moth along with fellow passenger Grant Newman. In addition to recording some of the sounds from the flight, he also chatted with Graham Wood about his career and flying the DH.83
       
    • While Grant didn’t get a chance to record with Melanie Salisbury from Aviation Tours NZ, she did pass on some information about their “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” tour of the UK in July 2015 which includes Duxford’s “Flying Legends” airshow. It looks like a great tour with plenty of aviation goodness packed into it :)
       
  • Steve & Grant recommend you check out Spotters Mag

    Steve & Grant recommend you check out Spotters Mag

    1:48:38 – Steve & Grant wrap up the year including a couple of items from the mailbag (including Luke Murphy, Andrew Brown & Shaun Dwyer) and a few shout outs for the end of the year:
    • Steve & Grant have been enjoying the new Spotters Mag, an eMag for aviation spotters with a version just for Australia & New Zealand. Highly recommended!
    • Carlos Stebbings from the Plane Talking UK show is doing his pilot’s license: onya, mate!
    • Steve would like to thank Captain Harry Wubbin for his hospitality on board QF93
    • Steve & Grant thank Paul Burfitt from 64 for his great help this year
    • Don’t forget that the Avalon Airshow 2015 is coming up in a few months and we’re looking forward to seeing you there
    • With tickets on sale already, it’s definitely time to start thinking about the Temora Aviation Museum‘s Warbirds Down Under event coming up in November

PCDU Episode 99: RAAF C-130H – Into History

C130H Farewell Cover Art

C-130H A97-005 with the ‘Farewell’ tail art

In November of 2012 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) decommissioned their C-130H fleet, transitioning to the C-130J and reaching the end of an era for flight engineers & navigators in the Air Lift Group (ALG). We were fortunate enough to be invited to partake in some of the decommissioning events including a final media flight over Sydney Harbour, watching a formation flyby practice from RAAF Base Richmond’s control tower and the delivery of C-130H A97-011 to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook.

In the course of these events we obtained a number of great interviews with past & present air crew which are gathered here in our tribute episode to the C-130H in RAAF service:

  • 0:07:48 – Air Commodore Gary Martin’s (Commander Air Lift Group) press conference held on the ramp at RAAF Base Richmond before the Sydney Harbour media flight
     
  • 0:11:39 – RAAF C-130H pre-flight safety briefing
     
  • 0:17:25 – Onboard recording of C-130H engine startup & cruise sounds
     
  • 0:17:50 – Flight Lieutenant Tony Charles, pilot of A97-005 on the media flight over Sydney, discusses the flight
     
  • Steve gets to fly the C130H simulator

    0:19:54 – Flight Lieutenant Richard Aughie, C-130H flight simulator instructor, talks about C-130H performance specs, simulator training, his involvement in the C27J Spartan training program and Steve’s landings in the simulator
     
  • 0:31:41 – Phil Brown, a former RAAF Warrant Officer C130H Flight Engineer & now an instructor with CAE, talks about his RAAF career and the role of the Flight Engineer on the C130H
     
  • 0:54:37 – Squadron Leader Rob Sokol, pilot of the final flight of A97-011, talks about the flight to Point Cook, his time at 1FTS at Point Cook, his RAAF Reserve service and his “day job” as an A380 pilot
     
  • Special tail art for the C130H farewell

    1:00:29 – Air Vice Marshall (ret) Greg Evans (DSC, AM) talks about his RAAF career as a C130H pilot from 1983 to 1992 including:
    • His exchange posting to the USAF and Little Rock AFB with the 40th Tactical Airlift SQN between 1998-90 (which naturally leads to comparing notes with Steve about flying the skies of Arkansas :)
    • Some “interesting” missions & training flights he flew with the USAF & RAAF
    • Comparing the C130H to the older C130E
    • The differences encountered with the C130J
    • The advantages of the C27J Spartan
    • Being Commander Joint Task Force 633 MEAO (Iraq) during 2004 & 2005

Thanks to Eamon Hamilton (ALG Public Affairs Officer) & Ben Wickham (ADF Regional Public Affairs Officer for NSW) for arranging our access to the events & people so we could gather the content used in this episode.

PCDU Episode 91: New Horizons

Give Way to Balloons

Always give way to Balloons :)

After a number of years and the inevitable stumbling blocks that life throws at us, Grant has finally become a balloon pilot having completed his check flight up at Mildura just the other day. From how the final stages of solos & check flight unfolded to a comparison of “first solo” moments, Steve & Grant talk briefly about the realisation that a new license & $5 can now buy you a beer…

While Grant would no doubt like the entire episode to be about the new horizons he’s just opened up, there’s a lot more to this episode so we really should get into telling you about it:

  • 0:09:07 – Anthony Crichton-Browne & Bas Scheffers join Steve to discuss iPad aviation apps & their increased useage in cockpits (both small ones & large ones)
  • 0:36:10 – Having discussed apps in general, Bas then spends some time answering a number of OzRunways questions that Anthony had for him
  • 0:43:50 – Pieter Johnson presents From Up Here to Down There #4 with his interviews with Mark McNamara from GippsAero and Mark Shearer from Ferra Engineering on the Team Australia stand at Farnborough 2012

    Remember, if you’ve not checked out Pieter’s own podcast (Aviation Xtended) then you really should do so!

  • 0:55:04 – Steve & Bas chat with Peter Gibson from CASA about the new, easier to obtain (& cheaper) Class 2 fixed wing pilot medical that allows you to use a General Practitioner & be assessed like a standard drivers’ license (with a few extra checks). Of course, there are some restrictions such as: single engine piston, < 1,500kg MTOW, only 1 passenger, below 10,000' & no aerobatics
  • 1:10:13 – Andrew Rankin, Steve McCann & Jennifer Palmer join us from Aviation Australia to discuss their aviation training courses (Flight Attendants and Engineers) and their Aviation Careers Expo
  • 1:30:20 – Grant interviews Alan Joyce (no, really!!!!) about the Qantas experience, areas the company should focus on and flying hot air balloons
  • 1:34:15 – Steve & Grant review the show’s content, including the Class 2 Medical changes coming out just ONE DAY after Grant completed his expensive “old school” Class 2 assessment. DOH!
  • 1:39:00 – We’re going to AusFly in mid-September with the mobile studio and some new gear (watch this space :)
  • 1:40:32 – We got an email from Greg Leversher who shares his views on & experiences with aircraft ownership
  • 1:44:24 – Steven Pam sent in his thoughts on Episode 90 in a voice mail via our new Speakpipe system. You can access our Speakpipe system from our home page & our Facebook page.

Notes:
* Episode introduction by Andrea Crook from Scripts & Voices

PCDU Episode 73: Oshkosh: The Greatest Show on Earth

Today Steve & Grant are chatting with Bas Scheffers, reviewing their experiences at EAA‘s AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. We talk about the long haul across the Pacific via V Australia 777 and Qantas A380, arriving in Chicago on their hottest day in 10 years and then hanging out with Rob Mark, his family and his ever watchful guard dog Simba (aka Steve’s new friend & house cat :)

From here Bas & Grant got to join the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group and fly from Rockford up to Oshkosh on the Saturday, landing on RWY 36 where even two days before the official opening, the aircraft parking spaces were filling up and the airport was a hive of activity. On the Sunday Rob, David Vanderhoof, Dan Web, Steve and his friend Mike all arrived having driven up from Chicago. Joining our friends at Firebase MyTransponder / Camp Bacon we set up the tent and settled into life in Camp Scholler, which is definitely something to be experienced at least once (& perhaps only once :)

Until we left on the Sunday at the end of the show, we were flat out experiencing the amazing sights, sounds & people that make up Oshkosh. We discuss the highlights and talk about trying to take it all in before winding up by reviewing our departure, our returns to Australia (including Steve’s flight with Milford from the FlightTime Radio show) and then our post-Oshkosh thoughts.

Titan II Control CentreFollowing this we have a recording Steve & Grant made with Rob Mark (also from CommAvia as well as JetWhine and the Airplane Geeks) before Steve presents an interview he recorded with Bill & Earlene Hankins about Bill’s time in Strategic Air Command. Titan II Launch Control PanelTowards the end of Bill’s time with SAC he was a commander of a Titan Missile complex. While some of the chat can be like watching the movies Strategic Air Command or Gathering of Eagles, his descriptions of the Titan’s launch environment are very much like those shown at the start of the movie WarGames.

Typical Titan II Launch ComplexIt also turns out that Bill and Earlene hosted Steve when he was an exchange student and then again when he returned to the USA to complete his US pilot’s licenses and instrument ratings. Titan II Combat Crew in ActionThe interview includes some discussion about N4223Q, a C172L Bill used to own and Steve got to fly a lot.

Steve's Favourite C172After all this we have a chat with Bas about the OzRunways app then mention Ryan Hothersall’s photos of the 787 and Rob Noonan’s heads up about the Australian aerobatic pilots who are getting ready for the World Aerobatic Championships in Italy later this year.Steve's favourite C172 tied down at its home base

PCDU Episode 49: Hovering Matilda

Rosemary Arnold learned to fly fixed wing in the early 60s then converted helicopters in the mid-60’s, becoming the first woman in Australia to receive a helicopter pilot’s license. From operating her own helicopter business in Australia to flying in locations around the world, Rosemary has had an extensive career in aviation. She has also written a number of books, lectures on aviation history and join the public speaking circuit. As a registered celebrant, she also runs “Chapel in the Sky” performing weddings in a helicopter above Sydney harbour. We chat with Rosemary about her career and her new book, First Females Above Australia, a presentation of the pioneering women involved in aviation in Australia.

We also chat with Dan Morris, a flight instructor in New Zealand who’s joined us previously in a few of our Australia Desk adventures. Dan joins us to discuss his aviation career to date and the flying scene in New Zealand. He also anticipates providing more New Zealand related content in the new year.

This episode is rounded out with another Controller’s Corner segment where ATC_Ben answers some of the many questions that have been raised in our forums and via email. We then move on to listener mail:

  • Braham Sacks asks about careers in aviation
  • Ian Kershaw from Canada has a blog & podcast page that’s worth checking out
  • Luke Murphy writes in from China where he’s working as a pilot
  • Ed Stubbs sent in a link to an interview with one of the pilots from QF32 (the Qantas A380 that had a massive uncontained engine failure)
  • We mention that Anthony Simmons is looking for more feedback on his View from the Lounge segment

We also have some shout-outs:

  • Damian Rose has completed his MECIR and is now working on his Caravan endorsement – congratulations (and yes we are jealous! :) You can follow his details on his blog.
  • Robert E Coli from Thromby airlines has done another great cartoon showing Steve & Grant hard at work in the PCDU studio. You can see it in all it’s glory on our Facebook page.
  • Thanks to Michael & Roselyn from Downwind and the team at Moorabbin Flying Services (MFS) for a great BBQ the other weekend and for making discount TIFs/Check flights available

PCDU Episode 46: Qantas A380 incident – from the Ground Up

On November 4th, 2010 Qantas A380 VH-OQA (“Nancy Bird Walton”) was operating flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney. During the climb out from Singapore, the number 2 Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine’s Intermediate Pressure Turbine appears to have failed and flown apart, sending bits through the aircraft’s wing in multiple locations and raining debris down on Batam island, Indonesia. After assessing the problem, determining their options and burning off fuel, the crew were able to return the aircraft to Singapore for a safe landing.

This incident, in conjunction with some other recent engine failures on Qantas 747s, has overshadowed Qantas’ 90th birthday celebrations. While the story is still unfolding and it will be some weeks before the ATSB’s preliminary investigations are completed, we have decided to quickly produce an episode dedicated to the incident.

To begin with, we talk to Captain Richard Woodward, Vice President of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA). He discusses what the crew would have experienced on board as the incident unfolded, including the systems alerts & alarms, the processes to be followed and the roles over the various people on board. He also discusses the A380’s systems & redundancies and the options available to the crew when flying & landing a crippled aircraft.

We then chat with Steve Purvinas of the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) about the changes that have occurred in Qantas as they have moved from an exclusively in-house engineering operation to one that relies more on outsourced maintenance performed overseas. We discuss the implications of the changes and other paths Qantas could have followed.

This episode was conceived, implemented and released within the week of the incident occurring as we felt it important to present our listeners with good background information about the aircraft, the crew’s likely experience and some of the changes at Qantas that have seen their engineering force reduced significantly compared to their heyday of the 70’s & 80’s.

PCDU Episode 30: Antarctica: The Last True Wilderness

The first aircraft to be used in Antarctica was Henry Mawson’s Vickers REP monoplane. Sadly, it had been damaged in Australia before arriving in Antarctica and was used as an “air tractor” to pull sleds. Even that didn’t work out and it was dumped, eventually being found again only recently.

Given that inauspicious start, it’s hard to believe that there are multiple ice & snow runways in Antarctica receiving visits from C130s, C17s and now an Australian A319 carries scientists on regular flights to the ice. It is also possible to go on one of the QANTAS sight seeing flights that are proving to be very popular with their great views of the ice & mountains.

With all this in mind, we decided to put together a special episode focusing on the land that’s even more “down under” than we are. To kick things off we have an interview with Captain Dan Colborne of Skytraders. Dan flies the Airbus A319/ACJ from Australia to the Wilkins Blue Ice runway in Australian Antarctic territory. He also flies the CASA 212-400 aircraft that are based in Antarctica for the summer, including the long ferry flights at the start & end of the season.

We chat with David Vanderhoof about Air New Zealand Flight 901, the DC-10 that tragically crashed on Mount Erebus during a sight seeing tour over Antarctica in the 70’s. We also discuss some of the other runways on Antarctica and the aircraft that visit them.

The final section in this episode has a discussion with Phil Asker from The Captain’s Choice Tours and Croydon Travel who has been arranging Antarctic sight seeing flights for many years. Working with QANTAS, the flights are in Boeing 747 or Airbus A380 aircraft and are very much in demand, especially the New Years Eve flight.

We talk with Phil about what’s involved in preparing the flights and what passengers can expect to encounter. We also talk with David Halls about what it was like as a passenger on the New Years Eve flight on Dec 31st, 2009. Finally, we prove that nepotism is alive & well in podcasting by bringing Grant’s sister Tania on the show to talk about her time working as a Trolley Dolly (sorry, Flight Attendant) on an Antarctic flight. She also gives Steve LOTS of material to use against Grant, much of it unfit for public consumption (even in the outtakes).

So, put your survival suit on and prepare to meet some penguins as we talk about Antarctica.

PCDU Episode 29: What’s in a Checklist?

Some in-cockpit audio provided by a listener triggered a discussion on the differences in pre-landing checklists (GUMPS vs BUMFTH vs BUMFOH vs whatever). All of Grant’s aviation books & manuals are still in boxes after moving house so he had to rely on his memory with predictable results. Talk about incentive to go out and get current again…

Given we couldn’t do a whole episode around the concept of “gas” in different countries, we also discuss recent aviation news items (so many to chose from lately) and have a collection of interviews we recorded at the RAAF’s Air Pageant at Point Cook.

Here’s how the episode hangs together this time:

As usual, our theme music track is “YouNameIt5″ by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5) and our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com.

The Jetstarisation of QANTAS is not over yet

Thanks to an opportunity presented by Shashank Nigam, Grant’s just had an article about the ongoing Jetstarisation of QANTAS published on Shashank’s Simpliflying site.

It provides a background on the birth of Jetstar, its growth to date and how it is destined to consume more of QANTAS’ mainline routes & aircraft. Head on over to Simpliflying and check out the article.

Thanks to Shashank for giving us the opportunity to gain further exposure to the global aviation world, it’s very much appreciated :)