PCDU Episodes:

Here is a full list of all PCDU Episodes since #1 back in 2009. Click on a title to visit the episode page & download or listen to the episode from there.

Balloons, books and TopGun: Episode 128 is live!

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Grant’s pulled out a big collection of ballooning interviews including discussions with military & commercial fixed wing pilots who enjoy the challenge of flying hot air balloons. We’ve also got a fun chat with Owen Zupp about his new book: Without Precedent, our tribute to Hannes Arch and the Infrequent Flyer finally gets to see TopGun (in 3D at the IMAX, no less).

This is our biggest episode ever (even bigger than Episode 51’s “Farewell to the Pig” tribute to the RAAF’s F-111s.

Click here to access the episode.

PCDU Episode 128: Unprecedented

From Grant’s collection of ballooning interviews to a chat with Owen Zupp about his latest book and our tribute to Hannes Arch, this episode is our biggest yet (yes, even bigger than Episode 51, our tribute to the RAAF’s F-111s!). We’ve even captured Anthony “The Infrequent Flyer” Simmons’ first ever viewing of the movie TopGun (in IMAX 3D no less :) ).

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

The episode unfolds as:

  • 00:00:00 – Our tribute to Hannes Arch, the Red Bull Air Race champion pilot who tragically died in a helicopter crash in September, 2016.
     
  • 00:04:54 – Show start & introduction.
     
  • 00:14:12 – We talk with Owen Zupp about his new book: Without Precedent. It’s the biography of his father that covers his time as a commando in World War 2, flying Meteors during the Korean War, flying Constellations with QANTAS and later flying in General Aviation. It’s a fantastic read and highly recommended.
    We started by discussing Steve’s recent Tiger Moth flight with Vintage Airways at Lilydale and how much fun he had finally flying an aircraft he swore he’d never go in.
     
  • 01:05:22 – Grant talked with Phil Kavanagh back in 2013 about the early days of sport ballooning in Australia in the 60’s & 70’s, manufacturing balloons in Australia, teaching themselves to fly, setting up Kavanagh Balloons, sourcing materials, new developments and the future of ballooning technology.
     
  • 01:27:09 – After talking to Phil, Grant caught up with Sean Kavanagh about his career in aviation ranging from being an aircraft engineer with QANTAS through to flying & making hot air balloons. Sean has flown in competitions and also been a commercial pilot flying at various locations around Australia, including the challenging city of Melbourne. In 2013 Sean was designing new balloons and burners for the company, including producing the inevitable paperwork and dealing with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). We also discuss in some detail the effort that has gone into designing the new Series IV Crossfire burner.
     
  • 01:52:50 –
    Owen Zupp's "Without Precedent"

    Owen Zupp’s “Without Precedent”

    John Wallington is the Flight Director of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, an annual event which has been running since the 80’s. He talked with Grant in 2015 about the experience of flying over Canberra and keeping the flying side of the event running smoothly and safely.
     
  • 01:55:37 – Don Whitford is the meteorologist of choice for ballooning events in Australia and he spoke with Grant about his career of more than 40 years in aviation weather forecasting. They also talk about the impacts of the changing weather patterns that are being experienced recently.
     
  • 02:05:06 – Frank Wechter was at Canberra flying the Angry Birds special shape balloon.
     
  • 02:06:53 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist used to be with the RNZAF flying Strikemasters, Macchi 339s and A-4 Skyhawks before transferring to the RAAF about fifteen years ago and in 2015 & 2016 was the primary pilot of the RAAF hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:10:33 – Richard Turnbull is back from the UK flying for commercial operators around Australia and returns to the show to briefly talk about what he’s been up to lately.
     
  • 02:12:56 – Grant chats with Ruth Wilson, Australia’s first female commercial hot air balloon pilot who has been flying balloons for over 40 years and also has a fixed wing license. She was also the first Australian hot air balloon champion and represented Australia at events around the world. They talk about flying over Canberra and being involved in the Women Fly It Forward event by taking young ladies for their first flights.
     
  • 02:17:01 – Grant flew with Kevin Cooper in his Thunder & Colt Chariot balloon which is essentially a two seat chair lift hanging under a small balloon that is a LOT of fun to fly. They also talk about his career flying balloons around the world and the experience of flying over Canberra.
     
  • 02:23:43 –
    Cameron's "UP" Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Cameron’s “UP” Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Jeff Vella is an ex-RAAF pilot who currently flies airliners for Cathay Pacific and is based out of Hong Kong. He’s also one of the pilots flying the RAAF hot air balloon as well as flying the Cathay Pacific hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:32:58 – Nick Purvis is the Sales Director of Cameron Balloons and he talks with Grant about the “UP” balloon on its “Up Down Under” tour and the new 250kg RAAF special shape balloon. They also talk about building special shape balloons including printing graphics on envelope, the interior gusseting & supports that help to keep the shape and the “dead air” that doesn’t contribute to lift but helps pressurise the shape of the balloon. Nick also gives us a quick history of the Cameron Balloon company.
     
  • 02:46:05 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist returns to talk about flying the new RAAF special shape hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:49:24 – Grant, Ms Kitt and Steven Pam took Anthony “the Infrequent Flyer” Simmons to see TopGun in 3D at the giant IMAX cinema in Melbourne. They chat about their expectations before going into the cinema and then perform a debrief after the movie. We’ve got the need, the need for speed! Oh my!
     
  • 03:04:06 – Steve & Grant wrap up the episode and discuss Grant’s recent commentary at the Wings Over Macleay air show at Kempsey in New South Wales plus the upcoming Angel Flight charity event at Lake Macquarie on November 6th with Matt Hall, OzRunways and AOPA. Steve will be MC for the event and Steven Pam will be there shooting stills and video.
    The boys also discuss how Steve’s trying to get used to flying a Cessna with a glass cockpit along with how Steve recently dobbed Kathy Mexted in as a guest host for the Plane Talking UK show. Finally, Grant’s getting his notes ready to do the commentary for OzKosh at Narromine. It’s all go especially as Steve’s getting ready to move into a new house that’s almost finished being built and will include a cool new studio for future recording.
Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

The new RAAF "Flying Helmet" special shape hot air balloon

The new RAAF “Flying Helmet” special shape hot air balloon

PCDU Episode 98: Farewell 2012

Dan O'Donnell & Grant getting ready to go fly Matt Hall's Extra 300As 2012 draws to a close come & spend a bit of time with Steve, Grant, Bas & ATC Ben as they wrap up the year with some new content, some discussions and a bit of fun. It’s another long episode but we think it’s a pretty good way to send out the year :)

The episode unfolds as:

  • 0:03:30 – We discuss issues CASA are having with RA-Aus that has seen a number of LSA grounded due to administrative issues, one of which was Bas’ own aircraft
     
  • 0:21:35 – An update on the fight to save Aldinga Aerodrome
     
  • 0:29:10 – An interview Steve & Grant recorded with Brian & Rick from Commando Skydivers at the recent Tooradin Aviation Day
     
  • 0:40:33 – a chat we recorded with Dan O’Donnell (RAAF F18 pilot who also flies with Matt Hall Racing) and Angie Morino (from Aus Air Services)
     
  • 0:57:42 – Anthony Simmons returns at last with The View From The Lounge #13: The Phantom Dolmades Roller
     
  • 1:03:14 – Steven Pam has sent us a Christmas Greeting
     
  • 1:04:54 – Steve, Grant, Bas & ATC_Ben discuss the View from the Lounge and Top Gun
     
  • NOTE: The Collective View From The Lounge is a compilation audio CD featuring 14 TVFTL segments that you can package for AUS$7.50 (posted within Australia) or AUS$12.50 (posted internationally). It’s a great collection of Anthony Simmons at his best & makes for a lot of enjoyable listening. You can purchase it by using our “Donate” button to send through your $$$ & note that you’re buying a copy in the “Purpose” message box. We can sort out your address via emails once the order is in :)
     
     
  • 1:07:17 – Bas talks about the latest updates to the OzRunways app and gives us his response to the “OzRunways for Android” lobby on Facebook
     
  • 1:16:51 – ATC_Ben talks about becoming an On Job Trainer Instructor in the ATC world
     
  • 1:21:34 – CASA have introduced a Notice of Final Rule Making regarding the use of EFBs in Australian skies (PDF) – and the news is good, according to Bas
     
  • 1:32:12 – Tech in the cockpit comes up along with the inevitable IOS vs Android vs Windows 8 with Bas in the Blue Corner and Grant in the Red Corner. DING!!!!
     
  • 1:33:16 – Ben Jones sends us a Christmas greeting
     
  • 1:33:39 – Damien Rose also sends us a Christmas greeting
     
  • 1:25:12 – We spend some time reviewing the highlights of 2012, including:
    • Grant got his balloon license
    • ATC_Ben went to the USA and Oshkosh 2012
    • Steve got a C130 ride over Sydney
    • Bas changed his work and lifestyle to focus on OzRunways, allowing him to work for himself and move to a property where he’s setting up a runway on the front yard (now, where have we heard *that* phrase before? :) )
       
  • 1:43:49 – We look forward to 2013 and talk a little about our Avalon 2013 plans and how we’re always up for new sponsors for our Avalon coverage
     
  • 1:50:13 – We give shout-outs to those who have helped us over 2012, including:
    • Sponsors & Advertisers: JetRide Australia, OzRunways, , AvSoft & Adventure Wings
    • Those who helped make AusFly such a success: QBE Insurance, Aero Refuellers & Narromine Shire Council
    • Courtney Miller & Max Flight for inspiring PCDU
    • Cathey Visscher & Kitt Loughman for their on-going support behind the scenes and their endless roles as “podcast widows”
    • Of course, a big thanks goes out to our audience for doing us the honour of listening to our programme, supporting it, interacting with us and much much more

With 2013 practically on top of us, we’re going to enjoy some New Year celebrations and then get back to work on completing Episode 99 which covers the C130H retirement & is due out in late January.

PCDU Episode 92: Helene Young – A Novel Approach to Flying

Episode 92 Cover Art

Kathy Mexted joins Steve & Grant to interview Helene Young, a Dash-8 pilot who’s written three great books based around pilots flying for Australia’s border patrol in the far north of Queensland. In addition to being a captain with the regionals, Helene has managed to juggle her home & social life with work and writing, producing three great books in a relatively short period of time.

Her first book (Wings of Fear) was released in 2011 and throws two female pilots & their crew against a bunch of terrorists attempting to infiltrate the country through the vast, empty stretches of coastline and baked earth in Australia’s north. The second book (Shattered Sky) was released earlier this year and takes one of the pilots into a whole new adventure deep in the Australian outback while Helene’s third book (Burning Lies) has just been released, bringing closure to the trilogy.

We chat with Helene about her career in aviation, what it’s like flying the Dash 8, where she gets her inspiration & ideas for her stories and much more. You can find additional information about Helene & her books via her website and follow her on Twitter via @HeleneYoung.

Helene with her latest book’s promotional poster

The whole episode unfolds as:

  • 0:02:44 – Our chat with Helene.
     
  • 0:42:58 – Steve’s interview with Peter Sobey, the Director and Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) at Sharp Airlines.
     
  • 0:54:11 – Grant’s chat with Chris Dewhirst, the first person to fly a hot air balloon over Mt Everest and also the person who started commercial hot air balloon flights over the city of Melbourne way back in 1986.
     
  • 1:01:54 – Anthony Simmons returns with another “View from the Lounge” segment that takes us Up, Up & Away in a continuation of the ballooning theme.
     
  • 1:06:51 – Our shout-outs this episode include:
    • Kathy says “Hi” to Mike Williamson (her newest online follower).
       
    • Gary Clarkson let us know about the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre‘s project to restore an Avro Anson plus their fly-in event coming up on October 20th.
       
    • The great New Zealand De Havilland Mosquito restoration project is coming along very nicely with first flight planned for September 29th at Ardmore in Auckland.
       
    • The “Will It Fly” project is almost ready to fly their Pearse replica (check them out on Facebook).
       
    • If you’re not already aware of it, you should be listening to the Wings Over New Zealand podcast, a great effort by Dave Homewood with awesome content that’s well worth listening to.

PCDU Episode 84: Geoff Whitty: Pidgin Tales

The Apron at Aropa

We’re joined by Kathy Mexted and her brother Geoff Whitty who is a real adventurer, having worked in Papua New Guinea managing aviation operations. As we learn in this episode, he has a LOT of very interesting tales to tell.

Starting with Ansett in their reservation system, Geoff moved to Qantas and then in 1989 got a job working with Air New Guinea in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He’s now working with PNG’s 2nd largest RPT carrier managing airports & operations.

While there are some well built roads in parts of PNG (mostly thanks to the mining companies), air travel is one of the only viable methods of transporting people & equipment regularly about the rugged landscape. From Chevron’s “C130 Air Bridge” through to current “Fly In, Fly Out” (FIFO) mining operations, flying in PNG offers some amazing experiences for pilots with some saying 1 year in PNG is worth 10 years mustering cattle in the outback.

Customs & Quarantine Staff at Kieta

In addition to supply chain management & keeping mining operations happy, Geoff has also managed the training of PNG nationals who operate the airline, learn to fly and also do aircraft maintenance in-country (except for heavy maintenance). Thanks to the demands of the mining companies and CASA, they are, perhaps, the most audited aviation operation in the world.

A major aspect of having a foreign company in PNG is that they are required to train PNG nationals to fly aircraft, run the airline, and perform maintenance in-country (except for heavy maint). They are flying ATRs & Dash8s and Geoff believes the ATR is more suited to their needs than the Dash8, although they’re running both at the moment. They’ve also had Caribous & Dash-7s and are running a diverse range of helicopters as well as lighter aircraft from Twin Otters down.

As if the rugged environment and rapidly changing weather systems weren’t enough to cause problems flying or running an airline, people in Papua New Guinea also have to contend with tribal warfare, the volcano at Rabaul and local ground staff throwing as much cargo on an aircraft as they can. Weight & balance? What’s that? :)

It’s a fascinating chat with Geoff and we really enjoyed learning more about life in our northern neighbour. We’d like to thank Geoff for his time chatting with us in the studio and with Kathy for introducing us to him.

On Finals at Aropa

After our chat with Geoff & Kathy, Steve talks with Tammy Augostin, the Promotion & Marketing Manager of the Parafield Airshow. They discuss the acts that have been lined up for the show and the issues involved in putting it all together.

Many of our listeners in Sydney have been commenting to us about seeing a number of Army Blackhawk helicopters flying around Sydney Harbour. It turns out they were part of a training exercise that was also open to media to ride along & experience a typical training flight. Sadly, Steve & Grant weren’t able to get up to Sydney for the flight (despite their best efforts) but Anthony Crichton-Browne was. In addition to getting lots of great photos, Anthony also recorded a quick chat with one of the pilots.

Finally, we wrap up the episode with another of Anthony Simmons’ “View from the Lounge” segments. This time, Anthony is looking at aviation in the media, ranging from movies through to jingles.

You can find Kathy’s work in many places, including:

PCDU Episode 81: An Infrequent Flyer goes to Europe

There’s been a few delays in getting our first episode for 2012 out but what can you expect with the Summer heat to enjoy and games of Cricket to watch (or avoid :). It is with Cricket in mind that our very own Infrequent Flyer, Anthony Simmons, took some time out of his European adventures to visit the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (home of the Duxford Aviation Society) at the time of their last flying display for 2011, a day that saw some 16,000 people come to watch the show!

The focus of this flying display was the Korean War and Anthony was able to find out that the “Forgotten War” was about so much more than episodes of M*A*S*H:

  • Anthony chats with Lt Don Reed (ret), a 90 year old veteran of the conflict who flew with the Fleet Air Arm as an observer on Fireflies and as a Seafire pilot
     
  • He then meets Esther Blaine, the PR Manager, for a discussion on:
    • The history of the Duxford site
    • The educational programmes the IWM provides
    • The new “Airspace” display
    • The IWM’s plans for the future
       
  • Anthony is also able to further one-up Steve & Grant by noting that he’s been through a Vickers Viscount, DeHavilland Comet and Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde as well as getting up close with a Lancaster and Tigermoth. What, us, jealous??? :)
     
  • Anthony wraps it up by interviewing Mark Linney from the Golden Apple Trust about their flying F86A, the only one of its kind still flying. They chat about:
    • The history of this particular aircraft
    • Mark’s career as a pilot in the RAF flying the Tornado GR1, instructing on the Hawk and then winding up on the Harrier. After the RAF he’s now flying 747s, A340-600s and, of course, the F86
    • They then chat about the F86’s development, handling and history

The episode wraps up with Steve & Anthony having a quick review of the content & Anthony’s experience at Duxford.

PCDU Episode 69: Carbonated

Ben Morgan from Aviation Advertiser returns to join us in a discussion of current events in the Australian aviation scene. Following a quick intro, the first topic we discuss is the Carbon Tax our government is proposing to implement. We do try to keep the discussion coming back to the impacts this tax is likely to have on aviation but it’s a very hot topic and is certainly bringing out concerns for a number of people.

Once we get through the Carbon Tax and calm down a little, we move onto the sad state of affairs with Tiger Airways, currently grounded for failure to meet the requirements of their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and a number of safety related issues. This is the first time CASA have grounded an all-jet airline and its timing was certainly drastic (right on the eve of the school holidays). We discuss the implications, some potential results and whether the Australian public will ever trust the airline again (very likely if there are cheap fares to be had).

Finally we discuss Aviation Advertiser’s sponsoring the PCDU Team in their “Up & Over to Oshkosh 2011” tour and the updates we’ll be providing on their website while we’re at Oshkosh.

After wrapping up our chat with Ben, we present another View From the Lounge segment, this time comparing public transport access to airports at Melbourne and various cities around the world. We then point listeners at Steve Price from Melbourne Talk Radio (MTR) having a great chat with astronaut Andy Thomas as well as similar coverage from the ABC StarStuff podcast.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the listeners who have donated to our “Up & Over to Oshkosh 2011” tour. We’ve had lots of suggestions for coverage and lots of donations that all help round out the support of our sponsors. Thanks to you we’ll be able to provide a more comprehensive coverage of Oshkosh 2011 than we could have if it were just Steve & Grant on site. Once again, we are amazed at the level of support we’ve received from our audience. You folks definitely make it all the hard work & late nights worthwhile :)

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 Episode 50: Farewell 2010

As the final hours of 2010 pass by and the year draws to a close, we release our 50th episode with a mix of annual review, Christmas greetings and a new experiment. In conjunction with a live video stream of the proceedings, we gathered Steve, Grant, Anthony and Ben in the recording studio to attempt the unthinkable: capturing a whole show in a single take.

We start with a look back at a few of the big stories from 2010 and an additional discussion on ADSB driven by Ben’s perspective from behind the controller’s console. Mixed in with the discussion are:

  • A discussion we recorded with Matt Wardell from AirServices Australia about their Santa NOTAM, the Santa Tracker and various other efforts they make at Christmas
     
  • An interview with Michael & Roselyn from Downwind.com.au about the site and aviation in general
     
  • Various Christmas greetings from other aviation podcasters around the world

We then start to wrap it all up with some feedback from listeners:

  • Ian Kershaw from Canada sent in recorded message
  • Ahmet Hussein emailed us looking for information to help him track down episodes of the TV series “Big Sky” (which Ben recalled watching)
  • Jay Swanepoel left us some positive feedback on our Facebook page

Finally we worked through some shout outs, including:

  • The many guests we’ve had on PCDU during 2010
  • Andrea Sammut from Scripts & Voicers for her great support this year
  • Dane Golden for his support & promotion of our show on Hey.com
  • James Williams & Dave Gray from the Podcasters Emporium on the Lifestyle Podnetwork for helping to promote our show (they’ve also been promoted recently on iTunes as a premium provider – awesome news!)
  • To all the organisations that have advertised with us, providing both in-kind help and some actual funds
  • Milford & Charlie from the FlightTime Radio Show for their faith in our product
  • David Hook from PlaneHook Aviation Services for his sponsorship of our Flying Down Under segment
  • Max, Dan, Rob & David at the Airplane Geeks Podcast for all the help & encouragement they’ve given us over the year

We’d also like to especially thank all of you, our audience who have given us your precious time to listen to our show. Your numbers are growing along with your feedback and it’s your support that helps us put in the effort to produce the show.

PCDU Episode 44: Hannes, Bas and the Rhino

In an effort to reassure you that we’re not trying to cut any corners as we build towards our 50th episode, this episode comes in at over 2 hours in length (our longest ever, in fact). It’s jam packed with great content, including:

  • A chat with Bas Scheffers about:
    • The impact of the Class D changes at Parafield
    • The flying he’s been doing lately in his Evektor Sportstar
    • The Parafield Airshow
    • How the Aeroscene Flying Group is going
    • A review of some of the latest RA-Aus developments (Recreational Aviation Australia)
       
  • A chat with Hannes Arch (Red Bull Air Race pilot) where we discuss his 2010 season and his plans for 2011/2012
     
  • An interview with an F18F pilot that David Vanderhoof recorded at the Oceana Air Show
     
  • A discussion between Steve & David about the history of the F18, its current status with the Super Hornet (aka Rhino) and the implications of the F35 JSF
     
  • Controllers Corner #2
     
  • The View from the Lounge: “Monkey in Business”
     
  • We read some mail & forum items:
  • We give a set of Shout Outs to:
    • The Flying Ant podcast by Anthony Crichton-Browne (a 767 pilot) who also has a blog
    • The Flaps Podcast from the UK is an awesome new show – we highly recommend it
    • Andrew Offen from Brisbane took Grant & Nykolai for a flight in his Cirrus SR22 with the new Avidyne Release 9 package – an amazing aircraft & systems and a lot of fun catching up with Andrew for a flight
    • Brendan Viti is getting his IFR rating – wow!

Please note that our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com and our theme music track is “YouNameIt5″ by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5).