PCDU Episode 74: Kiwi User Fees … and other issues

We’re joined by our mate Dan Morris from New Zealand to discuss some news from the Land of the Long White Cloud. Topics include:

  • Air Traffic Control in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, especially the problems they encountered due to centralising all area controllers in one location
  • How user fees in New Zealand have lead funding being removed for weather briefing service: pilots must now pay an annual fee to access the weather service
  • What the Air NZ Aviation Academy and student loan funding by the New Zealand government (which remains interest free if you stay in NZ) mean for flight training in NZ
  • Air New Zealand’s latest earnings report
  • The rapidly approaching Flair 2011 industry innovation showcase & airshow
  • The Will it Fly project that is working to produce a replica of the Pearse Flyer from 1903 with updates on the Will It Fly Facebook page

Brentword's LogoNext up, Steve travels back to his old high school to discover that it’s a lot better than when he was there (and NOT just because his class photo has been hidden :) Thanks to Chris Barry at Brentwood Secondary College and our friends at Aus Air Services, kids at the school have the opportunity to learn to fly as part of their studies. Steve chats with Chris, Angelina from Aus Air Services and some of the kids about this fantastic project.

Our final interview in this episode is a quick chat with Mark Pracy Sr from JetRide Australia and Pracy Racing as he gets ready to head to the 2011 Reno Air Races to fly his L39 low, fast & turning left. We discuss what it’s like to fly the course and how he’s going about keeping himself ready for it.

We wrap up the episode with a quick chat about Dale Watson’s Tiger Airways song on YouTube (thanks to Chris Fenlon for pointing us at it) and the fact that Tiger Airways are back flying, albeit at a reduced level. We also discuss how Crawford Rix was replaced by Tony Davis who is, in turn, leaving the airline shortly after working hard to bring it back from the brink.

Finally, we have some shoutouts, including:

  • Charlie Willwerth from the FlightTime Radio show is currently in the Mayo clinic under going chemotherapy to fight Leukemia – good luck & get well quick, mate!
  • Zyola T Mix from the Mile High Flyers has spun off her own project, a podcast about women pilots called The BoXXoffice
  • The Uncontrolled Airspace podcast has just celebrated its five year anniversary on August 23rd! Woo hoo! Go guys! Congrats to Jack, Jeb & Dave!
  • There’s a new aviation podcast with us from Canada called Cleared Enroute with hosts Danny Vacar & Chris Johnson (on Twitter as clearedenroute)
  • Jamie Dodson who writes the Nick Grant Adventures novels and sent us a couple of copies

NOTE: You can find Dan Morris on Twitter as TheGrandVizier, on Facebook and at his blog which mixes aviation & coffee in copious quantities.

PCDU Episode 53: A Ditch, Some Dutch & De-Icing

Steve & Grant are joined once again by Bas Scheffers from Adelaide to discuss a few items, including:

  • A follow up to the ADSB discussion we had with Bill Hamilton back in episode 48
  • A discussion of the iPhone/iPad application Bas & a partner have been developing called OzRunways covering what it does & how it came to be
  • The revelation that Grant actually doesn’t like the TV show “Ice Pilots” (oh, the shame! :)
  • Parafield airshow is changing dates to March 25th, 2012 due to weather concerns and to help ensure more Australian Defence Force assets will be available
  • Avalon is coming up soon
  • Bas is going to Oshkosh and as we may not be able to make it, he may have to be the PCDU correspondent for us (not sure how we’ll get him a more Australian accent though!)
  • Hassling Bas to provide a bio for the PCDU “About Us” page

We also have another great chat with our man “Across the Ditch,” Dan Morris from New Zealand, including:

As if all this wasn’t enough, we also have a chat with James Williams from the Podcaster’s Emporium about his recent Business Class trip with Emirates across the ditch to New Zealand & back.

Finally, we wrap up the show with some Listener Mail & Shout Outs, including:

  • Bill Morelli from the USA who flies a Zenith Zodiac (nice plane!)
  • Paul Bridges who supplied the photo of the Qantas DC3 that graces this episode’s notes
  • Colin Sweetman from the UK who has started getting back into his flying and wants to do aerobatics (YES!!!! says Grant :) and also offered to be our tour guide to a number of aviation museums if we can get there (we’ll hold you to that, Colin! :)
  • And finally, a big shout out to the people who decided to take part in the “$50 for Episode 50″ concept – thanks folks!

PCDU Episode 33: Four Degrees of Separation from Ben Sandilands

In this episode we join noted aviation journalist Ben Sandilands from Plane Talking to review the latest news & information. When we called Ben, he was experiencing a heat wave of 11 degrees Celsius at his home in the mountains near Canberra. Meanwhile, here in Melbourne we were thinking winter was upon us as the temperature dipped to 15 degrees Celsius. Four degrees of separation but a very different pair of perspectives on cold vs hot.

Fortunately, we were all spot on with our news analysis, including such topics as:

  • Use of composites in airliners and the indications that it won’t really be effective for another 10 to 20 years
  • QANTAS still claiming that they’re going to get their 787-9s on a date that would be before Air New Zealand (the launch customer) despite Boeing making a statement contradicting this
  • The changes that are afoot with the Virgin Blue group being under new leadership:
    • Brett Godfrey’s farewell bash
    • John Borghetti not getting the top job at QANTAS but, perhaps, getting something better with running Virgin Blue
    • Fleet choices and the possibility that they’ll get A330s or B767s, especially on high density routes like Sydney to Melbourne
    • The likelihood that they’ll rebrand the group (Virgin Blue, V Australia, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue) under a single name
  • Singapore Airlines having veto rights over the name Virgin for any new international airline
  • Tiger Airways recording a profit and becoming more of a stable, solid threat in the market
  • Australia’s transport minister Anthony Albanese wanting to restrict cockpit access to only the two pilots flying and any check pilots or safety reviewers
  • The F35 and how Australia seems to be one of the few countries NOT getting upset about all the delays and problems

After chatting with Ben, we have an interview with James Baldwin & Glen Somerville from EmptyJets, an organisation that gives you the chance to get rides in charter aircraft that would otherwise be flying empty on positioning flights. From helicopters to Gulfstream Vs, they’re all on the list and well worth checking out.

After that we dive into the mail bag where:

  • Matt McCabe compares the cost of learning to fly here in Australia against the USA
  • Errol Cavit enjoyed the Red Bull show and will be catching up with us when he comes over from New Zealand (for a Sci Fi convention, no less)
  • Vince Bezzina who volunteers at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook was checking if we knew about the DC6 coming to Australia from South Africa. Oh yes, do we ever!

We also have a couple of shout outs to:

  • Damien Rose who is now a private pilot and on his way to a commercial license (and speaking of the cost of learning – Damien sold his house to fund all this! He must have a VERY understanding wife, that’s for sure :)
  • Steve Cooke from the Flying Podcast in the UK has released his latest episode on a topic that’s very important for Grant: ballooning

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 25: Fan Boys

Yes, Steve & Grant are Fan Boys (big Fan Boys, in fact :) and this episode we demonstrate it once again by interviewing Matt Hall and hanging out with some more fans at the Flight Experience Melbourne Facebook fan page open night in their 737 flight simulator. Seems we’re not the only ones who think a publically accessible 737 simulator is a great thing :)

Here’s how this episode flows:

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

PCDU Episode 24: Misuse of Accents

Despite the annoying habit of our “day jobs” and families encroaching into our PCDU time, we’ve finally managed to get some time to record an episode. Steve even managed a marathon effort of post production to edit a coherent episode from our opinionated news discussion and an interview with Saj Ahmad. Go Steve! :)

Despite my best efforts to drone on endlessly, Steve’s also managed to keep the episode under 2 hours, but not by much. Hopefully this will give you heaps of fun listening as you travel to & from work, mow the lawns or do your household chores :)

Here’s how the show came together this time:

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

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:

PCDU Episode 21: London Calling

Regent Street in the snow (by Jon Curnow)

Regent Street in the snow (by Jon Curnow)

For the majority of our listeners it’s warm and getting warmer down here in the Southern Summer with Christmas just around the corner. Not so in London where it’s bleak and somewhat miserable (and that’s the economy, let alone the weather). Saj Ahmad from FleetBuzz Editorial is based in London and recently returned from the scorching skies of Dubai where he’d been attending the Dubai Airshow 2009. Saj generously took some time away from his family to record with us last Sunday (morning his time, evening our time), trying not to look out the window at the winter weather while we discussed the warmth Melbourne was experiencing. The discussion covers the Dubai Airshow, Middle East airlines and their flights to Australia, aircraft orders and the (then) pending first flight of the 787. It’s an enlightening chat and we’ll be sure to have Saj on again early in the new year.

In addition to our chat with Saj, we also recorded some news items to round out the episode. We actually recorded these on the same day the 787 flew and, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, have spliced it all together into a single show. Neat, hey! :)

Topics in this episode include:

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

PCDU Episode 19: Interview with a Vampire … Pilot (& Other Stories)

Steve’s out sick (he must have eaten the fish :) so Grant’s flying solo on this one and cheating madly by assembling a few interviews and a slightly modified version of the Australia Desk segment we recorded for the Airplane Geeks’ Thanksgiving episode. The interviews include:

  • Matt Hall & Nigel Lamb
  • Carlo Santoro from Flight Experience Melbourne
  • Nick Brau on flying hot air balloons over Melbourne city

The news items we covered include:

  • British Airways again discussing a merger with QANTAS
  • The US FAA wil be conducting an Air Safety examination of Australia’s air operations
  • 30th Anniversary of Air New Zealand’s DC10 crashing on the side of Mt Erebus in Antarctica
  • Virgin Blue likely to have a profit in FY09/10
  • QANTAS to purchase additional aircraft and will be assigning more of their 787s to Jetstar
  • QANTAS introduces the airport of the future concept
  • Airport capacity in Sydney and the need for a second airport
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau provides interim reports on the QANTAS A330 ADIRU issues and QANTAS 747 oxygen bottle incidents
  • RAAF to purchase 14 F35 fighters even though Lockheed has admitted the project is running late
  • The first two Wedgetail AEW aircraft have been delivered
  • Last flight of the Caribou in Australia & it’s potential replacement

We hope you enjoy the show and we will return to our usual levels of interviews, discussions & opinionated news reviews in a week or so.