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.

PCDU Episode 110: A Basket Full of Flight

Grant & Kathy are basket cases

Grant about to take Kathy flying in a hot air balloon

All good things take time & so do our episodes, with this one taking perhaps the longest to produce of any of them. It’s also packed full of great content covering magazine editors, wing walkers, AOPA, another give-away competition, antique aircraft, solo trips around the world & even hot air balloons. Make use of the pause button where you need to but be sure to listen right through to the very end of the episode for another set of classic “Kathy Mexted Bloopers” :)

This episode is indeed a basket full of flight & it unfolds as:

  • 0:03:30 – We chat with Kathy Mexted about her father, Pat Whitty, who passed away recently. She mentions his influence on her flying and their flights in VH-MAU, a 1978 Piper Warrior
     
  • 0:11:35 – Kathy joins with us to chat with Kreisha Ballantyne-Dickes, the Publications Editor at AOPA Australia and their Australian Pilot magazine. She also has her own blog (Girl with a Stick) and we chatted about a number of topics including:
    • Pat Whitty with VH-MAU

      Pat Whitty with VH-MAU

      How Kreisha got into flying, especially her first solo
    • Her love of Bonanzas
    • Avalon 2013 & why people don’t fly
    • Kreisha’s career in writing and becoming editor of the Australian Pilot magazine
    • Wingwalking with the Breitling team on the top of their Stearman
    • Working with AOPA, their efforts to get more people flying, the benefits of being a member, the “new approach” of AOPA and Andrew Andersen’s open letter to everyone involved in General Aviation
    • Getting involved with CASA’s regulation changes
       
  • 0:50:32 – Maikha Ly went to the Antique Aircraft Association of Australia’s annual fly-in at Echuca and recorded some great content for us. You can find the photos he took on his Echuca Flickr collection
     
  • 1:34:48 – Steve chats with Ryan Campbell two days prior to starting his TeenWorldFlight adventure
     
  • Kreisha after her flight in an Extra 330

    Kreisha after her flight in an Extra 330

    1:45:52 – Grant recently took Kathy for a balloon flight over Bacchus Marsh while listener Evan Schoo tagged along with the ground crew & got some great photos of the flight. During the flight, Grant & Kathy recorded a quick in-flight chat that we listen to here, after which, Steve asks Kathy just how the flight really went!
     
  • 2:14:30 – We announce the winners of our first 50 Tales of Flight eBook give-away competition:
    • Gary Clarkson
    • Will Coleman
    • Darren Eastwood
    • Brad Rule
    • Mitchell Royal
    • Graham Slingsby
    • Trent Stewart
    • Lahra Warry
       
  • Kreisha being prepared for her wing walking

    Kreisha being prepared for her wing walking

    2:15:34 – We have another give-away this episode with Owen Zupp‘s second (& trickier!) question about famous Australian aviators. The first five (5) people to email us the correct answer at contact@planecrazydownunder.com will win a copy of Owen’s “50 Tales of Flight” eBook.
     
  • 2:17:47 – Listener Mail:
    • SoapyHB noted that the Concorde prototype was in Melbourne in 1972 while British Airways ran some proving flights in 1975 with a production aircraft. He also really enjoyed our Avalon 2013 coverage and admits to being a real fan of Anthony’s The View from the Lounge segments. Finally, he wonders how we manage to do all this and yet still stay married … yup, so do we! :)
    • Justin Sarda sent us through a link to a beautiful set of HD cockpit photos
    • Mick (aka Bom1) sent through some great comments on lap belts in aircraft having the potential to cause severe abdominal & spinal injuries in a crash (note: rather topical given the reports of similar injuries in survivors of the Asiana crash at San Francisco)
    • Brian Grinter sent through a link to photos of Peter Jackson’s Lancaster that will be used for his remake of The Dam Busters. As Brian says: “It’s not your average Airfix kit!” :) :)
       
  • Maikha consults his notes while interviewing Maurie Evans

    Maikha consults his notes while interviewing Maurie Evans

    2:22:49 – Kathy mentioned that Col Griffin (ex RAAF Mosquito pilot) recently passed away. We interviewed Col back in Episode 61 (The Great Pilgrimage) and you can read more about him in Kathy’s articles in Australian Flying and Outback Mag
     
  • 2:24:07 – Shout Outs:
  • Maikha interviewing Murray & Andrea Wallace

    Maikha interviewing Murray & Andrea Wallace

    2:26:39 – We’ve been hearing from many people about issues at RA-Aus and are considering producing a show dedicated to the topic. Do you have any recommendations for people & issues you’d like to have covered in such an episode?
     
  • 2:29:09 – We’re now producing a weekly 1 hour radio show for Kinglake Ranges Radio, a local community radio station. You can tune in at 9am on Saturday’s (Melbourne time) via 94.5FM or via their livestream feed

As noted, the Kathy Mexted driven bloopers can be found at 2:34:25 – definitely worth checking out :)

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 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 48: ADS-B: C’est un pétard! – with Bill Hamilton

While the technology behind ADS-B is nothing new, it is becoming the centerpiece of modern Air Traffic Management systems around the world. Unfortunately, CASA is once again taking a global concept and creating an entirely unique Australian implementation of it.

According to CASA’s Discussion Paper (DP) 1006AS
Proposed Strategy and Regulatory Plan in support of the Australian Government’s Aviation White Paper
, any aircraft added to the Australian register after 2013 must have an ADS-B out compliant Mode-S Transponder on board. This means large added costs for no real benefit beyond that already provided by Mode-C and Mode-S transponders.

This is creating no small level of concern in the aviation communities, including RA-Aus, ballooning and others, as can be seen from a recent discussion about DP 1006AS on the Recreational Flying site. Even the airlines who were pushing for ADS-B to improve safety at regional airports are now realising that the costs are huge (it’s not a simple upgrade of their avionics) and the benefits are minor.

With all this in mind, Bas & Grant chat with Bill Hamilton, past president & technical director of the Australian Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA). While Bill can appreciate ADS-B’s history and benefits, he doesn’t hold back when it comes to CASA’s attempt at creating yet another uniquely Australian implementation. We discuss the differences between the US, European and Australian implementation plans, the costs associated with our version and the lack of real benefit CASA’s proposal will provide.

As the title of CASA’s Discussion Paper shows, the proposal is implementing an aspect of the Australian Government’s Aviation White Paper. If, like many, you are concerned about the costs being applied to the aviation industry for little real benefit, it is important to respond to the DP by November 30th. It is also vital that Australian aviators write to their elected representatives, members of the opposition and their aviation organisations (eg: AOPA, RA-Aus, ABF, etc) to ensure politicians are aware that the proposed solution will cause more harm than good.

You can easily find who is representing you at the Australian Government’s “Who’s Who” page. You can also find a great guide to writing effective letters to politicians over on the Crikey website.

Don’t assume others will sort this one out for you. Don’t take the classic Australian “She’ll be right” approach. Get out there and tell CASA, the politicians and your aviation group what you think, otherwise the safe skies will be achieved thanks to the removal of any non-airline aircraft.

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 (starting at 0:05:38) 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 (starting at 1:01:30), 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 (starting at 0:33:14) about the changes they’ve made at the Tooradin Flying School (YTDN).
     
  • Grant’s quick chat with Richard Turnbull (starting at 0:45:31), a hot air balloon pilot from the UK
     
  • Anthony Simmons’ latest View from the Lounge segment (starting at 0:54:12)
     
  • 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 (UPDATE 2017-02-4: After years of inactivity, the blog has been shut down & its posts moved to Grant’s Fly Me Friendly 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