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 :)

PCDU Episode 23: Australia: A TSA free zone (for now)

Even down here in Australia we’re being impacted by the out-of-control antics of the TSA, so what the heck, we’ll have a bit of a c’est la vent moment about it. We also have our usual opinionated discussion on some other news items and chat with Shashank Nigam from SimpliFlying.

Here’s how the show proceeds:

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

PCDU Episode 22: Farewell 2009

It’s the Christmas & New Year holiday period, plus down here it’s Summer so we’re totally into listening to long aviation podcasts when we’re not distracted by having fun. So, for all of our listeners who have long drives or lots of chores to do around home, we give you our longest episode yet. With a bit of Christmas cheer, we produce just over two hours of PCDU goodness including an interview with Michael Gilmour from Downwind.com.au, our usual opinionated review of the news and listener mail. We also wrap up the year with a tip of the wing to the podcasts that inspire us and the guests who have helped give us some great content.

Here’s how the episode came together this time: