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During August, Grant spent a week in Darwin covering Exercise Pitch Black 2014, a major multinational “war game” exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force.
RSAF F15 at dusk in Darwin
Held every two years, Pitch Black is Australia’s version of the Red Flag training exercises held in the USA and in 2014 the RAAF was joined by forces from the US, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Grant joined Andrew McLaughlin, Nigel Pittaway, Mike Yeo and Eng Tiong Ow to experience fantastic access to the local & visiting forces thanks to the efforts of FLTLT Eamon Hamilton. From meeting with representatives from each group attending Pitch Black to being beside the runways & taxiways at Darwin & Tindal, we were able to capture some fantastic photos, videos & interviews.
In addition to Grant’s collection of Pitch Black 2014 content, Steve & ATC Ben recorded a chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book and his ideas for future projects.
At the time we recorded the wrappers for this episode, Steve was about to head to the USA for a family holiday and to cover the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas while Grant was geting ready to go to Auckland for the Wings Over New Zealand forum gathering. Unfortunately there were delays in getting everything finished so the episode didn’t come out until after the boys had left on their flights. Go figure :)
The episode’s details are:
- 0:08:20 –
Grant’s coverage of Exercise Pitch Black 2014
GPCAPT “Micka” Gray – Officer Commanding Exercise Pitch Black 2014
- 0:09:22 – General media “door stop” interview with GPCAPT “Micka” Gray
- 0:17:05 – FLTLT Ben Daly talks about the roles of Air Combat Officer (ACO) and Fighter Combat Controller (FCC)
- 0:22:03 – FLGOFF Kathryn Koslowicz talks about the day to day tasks of an Air Combat Officer (ACO) and being deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO)
- 0:26:31 – FLTLT Ben Daly takes us through No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit’s operations cabins and how they’re used to deploy & manage operations in remote locations
- 0:31:25 – SQNLDR Tim Main reviews the RAAF’s new E7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft
- 0:40:15 – Lt Col Scott Arbogast is the commander of the US ANG F16s & he tells us about their role in the exercise
- 0:46:02 – CMSgt Joseph Smiley discusses the logistics behind getting the US ANG F16s to Australia, keeping them running here and then getting them back home afterwards
- 0:52:34 –
WGCDR Ben Sleeman, CO of 77 SQN, tells us about being the defender
French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) CASA CN235 Transport
- 1:00:42 – SQNLDR Rob Crawford talks about the 37SQN C130J he brought up to Tindal
- 1:04:56 – WOFF Kyle Lovett is a refuelling operator (aka “boomer”) on 33SQN’s KC30A MRTTs and he walks us through a typical mission they’ve been flying
- 1:14:39 – FLTLT Adam Rouessart & FLGOFF Matthew Bleach were the crew for the F18F Super Hornet handling display during the week
- 1:18:52 – CASA CN235 crew from the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia
- 1:29:24 – RTAF WGCDR Titan
- 1:33:44 –
Mick Gablonski is the CHC base manager for the S61 SAR helicopter at Tindal
RTAF SAAB Jas 39 Gripen departing Darwin
- 1:42:19 – Nobby has been part of the team restoring Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair & he lets us in on some of the effort required to bring it to flight status
- 1:48:05 – Steve & ATC Ben chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book “Born to Fly” and his ideas for the future
- 2:15:11 – Steve & Grant return to wrap up the episode with the following shout outs:
RAAF F18 Hornets doing a paired take-off
Grant is very impressed with Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair
CHC’s Sikorsky S61 SAR Helicopter
Our small group of Aviation Media on the RSAF tarmac after our dusk-walk
(Eng Tiong Ow, Grant McHerron, Mike Yeo, 2 x RSAF, Andrew McLaughlin, Eamon Hamilton, Nigel Pittaway)
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Episode 95 Cover Art
Steve & Grant go north of Melbourne thanks to the aid of some members of Team PCDU, both current & new. First up we tag along with ATC_Ben on his visit to Oshkosh 2012, discussing his journey there & listening to a few of the interviews he recorded (yes, we’re still jealous we couldn’t get there!). We then introduce long-time listener Damien Rose who’s joining us as our Queensland correspondent & lives about 2,000km north of PCDU HQ. Finally, we play a few of the interviews Steve & Grant recorded at Oshkosh 2011 to help us feel a bit better about not being there this year (nope, still jealous! :)
The whole episode unfolds as:
1:50:07 – We talk to ATC_Ben about the new Flightplan 2012 changes being introduced by AirServices
How Allan kept us running at AusFly
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Way back in April, Steve & ATC Ben flew “Ben Air” from Lilydale (YLIL) to Temora (YTEM) for the RA-Aus NatFly 2012 event, leaving Grant behind in Melbourne attempting to recover from bronchitis. While not as vibrant as 2011, there was still plenty of activity to keep Steve & Ben busy recording the following items:
- 0:02:46 – Introduction to NatFly 2012
- 0:03:25 – RA-Aus directors Steve Runcleman & Steve Tizzard discuss the event
- 0:10:55 – Rohan Wittington talks about the amazing Petrel Amphibian
- 0:18:28 – Chris Cabot from Wagga Air Centre discusses the Tecnam P2006T
- 0:28:07 – Peter Wezenbeek walks us through the Wingmate Data Recorder
- 0:33:02 – Andrew Tricket & his team will be releasing Sport Pilot TV in the very near future
- 0:39:22 – Graeme from Stawell Aviation steps us through the Air Safaris they run
- 0:45:51 – Chris Brandon at AirCreation Australia has some very cool trikes available (you know Grant wants to fly them, right? :)
- 0:54:07 – Greg Robertson from Best Off Aircraft Australia had the Nynja on site for people to examine
- 0:59:15 – Bas & Rowan from OzRunways talk about their presence at NatFly, the workshops they were running and their future plans for the software
- 1:09:57 – Steve & Ben wrap up their NatFly 2012 experiences
ATC Ben preparing “Ben Air VH-RCR” for the great journey north
At 1:17:12 Steve, Ben & Grant have a chat about NatFly then we launch into an ATC Q&A where Ben answers questions about runway incursions plus aircraft callsigns and how ICAO handles them.
At 1:29:12 we then move into Listener Mail:
- Lavan Ruben is a 14 year old aviation enthusiast who got to visit the 787 ZA003 at Melbourne (YMML), posting some videos on his YouTube channel: My Travels and Spotting
- Jack Miller wrote in to say Hi and talk about his Aussie aviation blog General Aviation Australia
- Andrew Brown writes in from the UK to say he really enjoyed the Geoff Whitty interview
- Howard McClernon writes in to say he’s been sifting through the archives and enjoyed Lang Kidby’s talk about his flight re-enactments wwaaayyyy back in Episode 14
Temora’s making us all feel welcome
We then wrap up the episode (1:34:46) with a chat about helping to keep councillors from contemplating the closure of Kyneton airfield near Melbourne then a great shout out (at 1:36:50) to GippsAero for the first flight of their GA10 turboprop aircraft.
* The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3
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After a long break from the show, Ben Ippolito (aka ATC Ben – ATCBen.PCDU@gmail.com) returns in this packed episode to tell us about getting current again, wrap up the Tyabb airshow and answer some of your ATC questions. We also bring on a new sponsor (OzRunways) who helped us get to the recent Parafield airshow (more on that in a later episode).
We start by chatting with Ben about the steps he took to regain currency after spending a few years focussing on becoming an Air Traffic Controller. After this, we move into our Tyabb Airshow content:
- 08:32 – Peter Bernardi & John Brett from the Peninsula Aero Club discuss the history of the show, the challenges in making it happen (the paperwork!), their involvement in the show and their aviation histories
- 22:46 – Grant chats with Paul Bennett from MaxxG Aerobatics about his aviation background, winning aerobatic competitions, flying his Pitts Special and flying warbirds
- 29:37 – Jim & Jenny Wickham talk to Grant about their 3/4 scale P51s & the latest news in Wicko’s world
- 34:56 – Scott Taberner talks about flying his 1941 Ryan ST3-KR & his flying history
- 39:44 – Mark Pracy from JetRide Australia gives us an update on the 2012 race, his perspective on the Reno crash and their expanding fleet of L39s & their new Glasair
- 47:51 – Doug Thomas talks about the Pelican Amphibian, a Russian designed seaplane and the only one in Australia
- 53:22 – Squadron Leader Adrian Burge talks about the CT4
- 57:29 – Peter Clements & Steve Death tell us about the history of the Southern Knights
- 61:04 – Guy Bourke talks to us about flying the T6 Harvard (or Texan if you’re from the USA :), the P51, the Spitfire, the P40 and the Lockheed Hudson as well as which aircraft he dreams of flying
- 67:48 – Matt Hall on making it down to Tyabb despite the weather, his recent back surgery, how his routine has modified since Avalon, his first aircraft vs car race, his new projects for 2012 & his rotary license
- 79:46 – Tim Connell returns to reprise his Timbo’s Tarmac sessions from Avalon 2011
- 81:13 – Peter Bernardi – post show
Following all this great content, Steve, Grant & Ben review their experiences & highlights of the Tyabb show then at 88:42 Ben answers a few ATC questions that have come in:
- Handling emergencies
- Who decides whether an airport is closed
- Who decides runway configurations during operations
Big thanks to Allan VP, ATC Ben, Steven Pam & Chris for their help on the day at Tyabb.
* The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3
* Cover art by Chris Visscher & David Vanderhoof
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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
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
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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:
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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.
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This episode features a discussion with Peter Gibson, the manager of corporate communications at CASA. He’s joined us to explain the airspace changes that will come into effect on June 3rd, changes which will impact Class D, see the transition of GAAP to Class D and introduce the mandatory carriage of radios at all certified, registered or military non-towered aerodromes (plus any others as designated in the ERSA).
We also talk to Owen Zupp just before he departed on his There and Back trip around Australia as well as Tim Pryse and Ken Evers a few days prior to the start of their Millions Against Malaria trip around the world. We feature another “View from the Lounge” and introduce ATC_Ben‘s new “Controllers Corner” segment.
As we wind up the show, we discuss the Australian Capital Territory funding yet another feasibility study for a much needed secondary airport near Canberra. You can read more about it in an news entry from Australian Aviation and also follow up progress through the Canberra Region Aviators Association web site.
If you want to see a 737-200 land at Jandakot (Perth’s secondary airport), check out the video of the landing that Ed Stubbs pointed us at. Not bad.
Just in time to make our cut off for this episode, we had a quick chat with Owen as he was half way around his trip. A great update on his progress and how things have been going.