Alex Fisher & the Flight of Solidarity

Alex Fisher is a 17 year old who is currently flying solo around Australia to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and become the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo by aircraft in the process.

Alex has named his project “Flight of Solidarity” (www.flightofsolidarity.com.au) and thanks to sponsorship from Spidertracks, you can track his progress on the “Alex’s Location page” of the website.

When we caught up with Alex, he was over-nighting in Weipa after the 3rd day of his two week journey. We spoke briefly about what inspired him to do the project, how long he’s been flying, the help he’s received and his sponsors.

This chat was released as one of our Australia Desk segments for the Airplane Geeks podcast. You can listen to it on the site where we host our collection of Australia Desk segments:

Click here to listen to our chat with Alex Fisher from the Flight of Solidarity project

PCDU Episode 93: Positive Moves

After three years of lamenting the hassles involved in getting to the West Coast of Australia to report on aviation happenings wwwaaayyy over there on the other side of the big empty, we’ve finally done something about it: we’ve set up a PCDU-WestCoast office and found someone just as aviation-crazy as we are to run it :)

In this episode we introduce Ben Jones who is based in West Australia and has a long and fascinating history of aviation. Clearly it’s in his blood as most of his family are into aviation while Ben himself is a pilot, home builder, member of the RAAF reserve and much much more. He’s even started a blog called WA Aviator to record his aviation activities ‘over there.’

There’s more to the episode than introducing Ben, however, and here’s what you’ll find in it:

  • 0:02:29 – We bring Ben in & start chatting about his background in aviation, the aviation scene in West Australia and his current projects.
     
  • 0:26:58 – We chat with Sussan Ley, Federal Member for Farrer, Commercial Pilot and one of the two people responsible for starting the “Friends of Aviation” group in Federal Parliament. With only a half hour window to chat with Sussan, we had to jump through a number of subjects in only a short time. Hopefully we can return to chat again with Sussan in the near future as it sounds like there are plenty of additional stories for us to listen to as well as updates on progress with Friends of Aviation group :)
     
  • 0:53:02 – Mark Pracy from JetRide Australia and Pracy Racing joins us to talk about their preparation for the Reno Air Races this year. We discuss the Galloping Ghost crash, the changes made to address the issues it raised and Mark’s training & preparation techniques.
     
  • 1:11:04 – David Brown from the Sport Aviation Association of Australia chats with Steve about the AusFly event being held at Narromine over September 14th to 16th.

We also have a very special announcement about AusFly: We’ve been invited to attend and provide commentary, narration and general radio services during the show. We’ll be there with a PA system, low powered FM transmitter and a live-stream to the Internet via LiveATC and our MyRadioStream link. Check it out at:

Finally, at 1:24:13 we have a few shout outs to cover:

  • Richard Pollard (the voice of the JetRide ads) is heading back to New Zealand to start a new chapter in his life.
     
  • Andrea Crook (our awesome voice-over lady) is launching her own podcast network: the Waffle Network
     
  • Steve gives HUGE thanks to Gary Mac for helping him with some voice-over training during the past couple of months. Check out Steve’s even more dulcet tones, folks! :)
     
  • Well done to the Airplane Geeks for getting sponsorship from AOPA
     
  • If you’re in West Australia, check out the Sport Builders Club of WA who are holding their annual fly-in on September 30th at Serpentine Airfield, which also happens to be right about the same time as the WestFly event
     
  • Thanks to JetRide Australia and OzRunways for renewing their sponsorship of our show!

PCDU Episode 80: Farewell 2011 (aka “Tom Cruise wraps my Dolmades” :)

All good things must come to an end and so too must the year 2011. It has been an amazing year of growth for PCDU as we’ve covered Avalon 2011, NatFly 2011 and Oshkosh 2011 along with a number of major events (eg: Qantas grounding) and added some new voices to the team. So as the year draws to a close and 2012 is waiting in the wings,  Steve,  Grant and Anthony  “The Infrequent Flyer”  bring you our Farewell 2011 episode:

  • Steve &  David Vanderhoof discuss the Royal Australian Navy  (RAN)  Sea King helicopters at the time of their decommissioning, developments with the C130 Hercules and a special Christmas greeting from David
  • We chat with Mo Ferrando from High Alpha Media about the Hexacopter and Octocopter units he was displaying for us at Tooradin
  • David Pilkington talks with us about his career in aeronautical engineering and aerobatics
  • David &  Grant go up in David’s Decathlon to fly an aerobatic routine above Tooradin (YTDN) and broadcast the manoeuvres and sensations during the flight
  • Adam Wooley from JoeyGlide chats with us about the National Junior Gliding Championships recently held in Queensland

As usual we have some great listener mail, including:

  • Ryan Hothersall sent us a link to the 2011 STOL competitions – amazing stuff!
  • Congrats to the AirStig who is celebrating the arrival of a new Stigette
  • Thanks to Keane Bourke for his Merry Christmas wishes
  • Thanks also to Garry Collins for his train jargon & congrats for Steve
  • Big shout out to Owen Zupp for his Owen Zupp Author page on Facebook and his new OwenZupp.com.au blog

Given it’s our end of year episode, we have a list of people & groups to thank:

  • Our sponsors over the course of the year:
  • All the listeners who donated to help us cover the costs of being at Oshkosh &  producing the show all year
  • The contributors who have helped us create content for the show:
    • Bas Scheffers
    • Anthony Crichton Browne
    • Kathy Mexted
    • ATC Ben (aka Ben Ippolito)
    • David Vanderhoof
    • Dan Morris
    • Pieter Johnson
    • Anthony Simmons, the Infrequent Flyer
    • Adam Visscher
    • Steven Pam
    • Allan Van’t Padje
    • Mike Wilson who helped us at Oshkosh

We’d also like to say thanks to:

  • AusAir Services
  • Ian Kershaw for his help with the survey
  • James Williams &  Dave Gray from LPN
  • Milford &  Charlie from Flight Time Radio
  • Max Flight & Courtney Miller for making this happen
  • Rob Mark for his hospitality at Camp Jetwhine
  • Mike Miley &  Rod Rakic from MyTransponder for the help at Oshkosh
  • Stu Stevenson for his hospitality post Oshkosh
  • Special thanks to Kitt &  Cathey for their continuing status as podcast widows!

So thanks again to our growing audience who have been with us as we’ve expanded PCDU over the course of 2011. Happy holidays and here’s to a whole new year of bringing you the most amazing aviation experiences & information from Australia &  New Zealand that we can.

PCDU Episode 79: Flying Low

Steve’s finally picked up his instructor’s rating although it’s in trains, not aircraft, but don’t worry, we’re not switching the show over to Train Crazy Down Under :)

Once again we’re joined by Kathy Mexted and this time we’re discussing what’s involved in being an Ag Pilot and how the industry has developed here in Australia. We then switch to Kathy’s interview with Georgia Maxwell in Gunnedah. Georgia is the first female ag pilot in Australia qualified to fly the Air Tractor 802 with Pay’s Air Service. Georgia discusses what it’s like working in the Aerial Application world (aka being an Ag Pilot).

After the interview we talk about the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia and how the season is booming following the breaking of the drought. Anthony Crichton-Browne joins us to continue talking about Ag pilots & the nature of their work.

Anthony has recently been at Red Baron Australia’s open day chatting with Joel Haski and the guys from Combat Dragon who are now basing their A37 at Red Baron’s hangar. We get to sit in on a Combat Dragon briefing, then listen to the sound of the A37 starting its engines before discussing the A37’s typical departure from Bankstown (YSBK).

We then play Anthony’s chat with Joel Haski about the latest developments at Red Baron and their new hangar facility. Anthony talks briefly with Jeff from Combat Dragon about their missions and working with Red Baron. You can hear more about Combat Dragon from an interview Anthony had with them in episode 2 of his podcast, Flying Ant.

Next up, Pieter Johnson from XTP Media in the UK takes time out from his “Across the Pond” segment in the Airplane Geeks to bring us his first “From Up Here to Down There” report. In today’s report, he provides an interview with Matt Falcus about his Far East and Australasia airport spotting guide. If you’re spotting in the Asia/Pacific area, you should check out Matt’s book.

Having listened to Pieter’s chat with Matt, Anthony chats with us about a pilot’s view of the ‘plane spotters’ he sees at most of the major Australian airports.

After the break, we return to Grant’s chat with Geoff Morrison from GT Gyroplanes at Echuca. We talk about Geoff’s background in aviation in New Zealand hunting deer & working on warbirds before he came over to Australia to work on gyroplanes with his brother Alistair. After that we get into a discussion about gyroplanes in general, the Australian Sports Rotorcraft Association (ASRA) and their Kruza gyroplane in particular.

We then have a discussion about gyrocopters before bringing Pieter Johnson back onto the show to chat with us about his background in aviation, his goals for linking Australian/NZ flying with the UK and his interview with his father.

Moving onto Listener Mail, we have:

  • Andrew Brown from the UK talking about our Qantas Grounding episode
  • Voice mail from Ian Kershaw in Canada
  • Chris Howard-Bath who likes the C130 & works with ATC Ben
  • Peter Anderson talks about our website

If you want us to send you a CD copy of our content, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

PO Box 70
Cranbourne VIC 3977
Australia

Don’t forget about our Aus Air Services + PCDU BBQ & Fly In on December 17th at Tooradin Airport (YTDN). Come on down and say HI, folks :)

The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3

PCDU Episode 70: AirVenture 2011 – Oshcast #1

Steve & Grant are at Oshkosh along with Bas Scheffers, David Vanderhoof and a large number of other aviation podcasters, swimming in the sea of aviation that is AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Grant & Bas have been here since Saturday while Steve & David arrived on Sunday. We’ve recorded with the Airplane Geeks, producing an episode with Peter Moll (director of Wittman Regional Airport@wittmanairport on Twitter) recorded in his office.

Today was the first full day we were all here and also the first official day of the show. We’ve started gathering content and have assembled some items together to create our first show episode:

  • Steve reconnects with Kent Pietsch who we last spoke to back at Avalon earlier this year (in Episode 6 of our show daily coverage)
  • David interviews Brandon with his Super Cub
  • Bas records some chats with folks in the light-sport (Recreational) area:
  • Steve talks with Pablo Alvarez about international pilot admissions at Embry Riddle University

We then wrap up the episode with a group discussion featuring Dave Allen, Bill Williams, Kent Shook, Pilot Damon, Stu Stevenson & David Vanderhoof.

PCDU Episode 65: Innovative Ideas

There’s no denying that aviation has been the home of many innovative ideas when it comes to aerodynamics, systems and so on. Sometimes we even get to hear about innovation in many of the business & training aspects of aviation and this episode is bringing us a few of them, from new ways to bring aviation education to kids through to recognising the need to store aircraft in the Asia/Pacific area. We also have a number of other content items including a few more of our Avalon interviews.

Eagle Microlight at Porepunkah

This episode contains:

  • Tom Vincent from Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) talking about the new “boneyard” facility they are creating at Alice Springs in the middle of Australia
  • Angelina Morino from Aus Air Services joins us again to review their past year of operation and discuss their involvement with Brentwood College (Steve’s old high school) to provide aviation study to students. They’re also planning to extend this out to other high schools in the area. NOTE: As with Peter Dow at TVSA, it’s great to see local flying schools thinking outside the box to make it easier and/or cheaper to learn to fly)
  • Some more content from Avalon, including:
    • The crew of a KC135 tanker
    • Flying Officer Johnno Pearson on flying the F/A-18 Hornet
    • Flight Lt Liam Webler, a techo who helps to keep the F/A-18 Hornet in the air
  • Steve & Lisa Ruffles talk about their Eagle School of Microlighting at Porepunkah

The view of the runway and "ramp" at Porepunkah

We wrap up with the following Listener Mail and Shout Outs:

  • Miles Rados wrote in about gliding at Tocumwal
  • Toby Robb wrote in about Steve’s recent microphone levels and had some comments on our recent chat with Dick Smith
  • The Airplane Geeks podcast reaches episode 150 – well done, guys!
  • Kudos to the RAAF social media team for helping to promote our work via the “I love jet noise” Facebook page
  • There’s a new aviation podcast – The Stuck Mic AvCast – from the folks at The Pilot Report. They’re two episodes in and have been producing great content so far
  • PCDU can now be found on Stitcher & SlapDash Radio
  • Thanks to all those who’ve left feedback at the iTunes store – much appreciated and keep it up!
  • Don’t forget to check out our website where we’ve made some recent layout changes plus we’ve also been loading more videos on our YouTube channel.

PCDU Episode 64: Dick Smith – Setting it Straight

We are fortunate to have Dick Smith return to PCDU, joining us to discuss his views on Australia’s aviation environment. We talk about his time as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and then his return as chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. He mentions some of the initiatives he started that worked as well as some that didn’t quite work as planned. Dick also gives us a rather candid look at his views on user fees, ministers and what’s going wrong with aviation today.

Once again this discussion with Dick is sure to generate divided commentary from those in aviation, both old & new. If you’ve not already listened to our previous chat with Dick about his early flying adventures, you really should check it out now.

Following our chat with Dick we have a dramatic change of scene as the Infrequent Flyer (aka Anthony Simmons) returns to give us his View From the Lounge angle on the Avalon Airshow. Then, to answer Anthony’s question of “How it all flows together” we have ATC_Ben return to present his latest Controller’s Corner where he explains just what went on at Mercat Manor.

Following that we have a few interviews recorded at Avalon:

  • FLT LT Pete Komar, an F-18F Super Hornet pilot with the RAAF
  • BAe Hawk Mk127 techo LAC Brian Dick
  • Pilot Officer Emmanuel “Muz” Murray talks about flying the BAe Hawk Mk127
  • SGT Kerry Dimar who works in logistics with the BAe Hawk Mk127

To keep with the Fast Jets angle, we’ve thrown in some cockpit audio from Steve’s flight with Mark Pracy in JetRide’s L39 Albatros.

For this episode, we’ve dived into the mailbag to bring out:

We also give a shout out to:

PCDU team are appearing beyond their own podcast

Some of you may be aware that the Plane Crazy Down Under team can be found beyond the bounds of the PCDU podcast. In addition to venturing out of the studio to attend events and record interviews, we’re also occasionally appearing in print (yes, print!) and other forms of recorded history.

Most of you may know of the Australia Desk segment segment we produce for the Airplane Geeks podcast. In fact, that’s where our show started when we found that we had too much to talk about than would fit in the time allocated for the Australia Desk.

We’re also producing the Flying Down Under segment for the FlightTime Radio Show that Milford & Charlie have been broadcasting every Saturday morning on radio W-BOB in Florida. Our segment plays every fortnight and is sponsored by Planehook Aviation Services.

We’re also starting to appear in print media too, including an article by Kathy Mexted on the Centenary Airshow at Melton and a write-up about PCDU in the Australian Pilot magazine. You can find links to these two articles in our new PCDU in the News page under the “About Us” menu entry on our site. We’ll update that page as we appear in print, on radio shows or maybe even on TV.

Slowly but surely, we’re spreading the word about aviation down under to the rest of the world. Don’t forget that you can help to spread the word which will, in turn, help us to keep promoting the fun & benefits to be found in aviation.

Oshkosh Podapalooza 2010

We never made it to the Podapalooza event at Oshkosh 2010 although we did try and a recording of our attempt was played for everyone there. As many of you may know, a recording of the entire event was capture and has been circulated on a few of the podcasts that were there. In each case the podcast adding the podapalooza entry to their feed has made their own intro to it covering their own perspectives on the event.

We thought about doing the same but figured that most of you have probably already heard it from the other feeds. Rather than add yet another download of the same content to your already overloaded stash of podcasts, we’re going to follow the Airplane Geeks’ lead and point you at places to get it if you haven’t already heard it:

So go & check it out if you haven’t already heard it and by the way, be sure and listen to all those podcasts we’ve listed there if you’re not already (as well as all the others we list in our podcasts we like section :).

PCDU Episode 34: Arching over the Swamp

This episode we feature an interview with Hannes Arch, the Austrian Red Bull champion in 2008 who came second in 2009 and is currently second on points for 2010. We have a great chat with Hannes about his involvement in extreme sports, his love of flying and his approach to the Red Bull racing world.

We were also fortunate to get some time with Gary Clark, the creator of the Swamp cartoon strip. Gary’s experiences in learning to fly and his on going adventures in the air have provided a solid source of inspiration for many of the characters & moments depicted in the Swamp series. It is not uncommon to find his cartoons on the walls in flying clubs & schools, hangars and aviation organisations.

This episode also includes the following:

  • A discussion with Angie Morino from Aus Air Services about the changes they’ve made at the Tooradin Flying School (YTDN).
     
  • Grant’s quick chat with Richard Turnbull, a hot air balloon pilot from the UK
     
  • Anthony Simmons’ latest View from the Lounge segment
     
  • Our listener mail, including:
    • Stephen Silk points us at Ask the Pilot
       
    • Steven Pam provides still more checklist examples
       
    • Trent Donnovan from WA shows that Jandakot (YPJT) is only just behind Bankstown (YSBK) for total movements in February

  • We give a few shout outs:
    • The Airplane Geeks podcast reaches 100 episodes – well done guys!
       
    • We’ve launched our PCDU Commentaries blog
       
    • Kathy Mexted mentioned us in her article about the Melton Centenary Air Show that appeared in AOPA’s Australian Pilot magazine
       
    • Milford & Charlie from the Flight Time Radio Show over in Florida
       
    • Don’t forget to give PCDU a good comment (or two :) ) over at the iTunes store