PCDU Episode 88: Dreamtime

787 Dreamliner (photo by Steven Pam)

787 ZA003 provides our Cover Art for this episode

Boeing have been taking their 787 Dreamliners on the DreamTour, a series of 7 multi-stop flights, or segments, that take one of the 787 test aircraft around the world. Each segment visits multiple countries, allowing airlines & invited guests to get up close to the advanced new airliner. Perhaps saving the best for last, the DreamTour came to the Dreamtime during it’s 7th segment. As part of this segment, the aircraft visited Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland (yes, that’s New Zealand, we know) and then on to Cairns before heading north of the equator once again.

Team PCDU were invited to tour the 787 while it was in Melbourne as guests of Qantas & Jetstar. Despite the cold, grey weather & occasional rain, our spirits were high & we were excited to once again encounter the Dreamliner. We’d met ZA001 at Oshkosh 2011 but been too busy to go through the interior so with ZA003 parked on the BAe Systems ramp, this was our chance to finally check out the cockpit.

After chatting with Reid Templin, one of Boeing’s flight test engineers, we recorded an interview with Captain Todd Abraham, one of the Boeing 787 technical pilots flying the aircraft on segment #7. Todd answered our questions about the training program, the electric brakes, the engines, the fly-by-wire system, adherence to the Boeing philosophy and the tactile feedback provided by the control yoke & throttles. Like the other Boeing airliners, the computer systems on the 787 supplement & assist the pilot but do not override, despite being fully computerised.

Our interview with Todd starts at 02:11.

Steve & Grant on the Flight Deck of 787 ZA003

Following this interview we climbed on board and checked out the cockpit (cool!!!!!) before heading back through the demonstration interior which featured example seating arrangements, galleys, toilets, large dimmable windows, high ceilings (with the new storage bins) & crew rest areas. All very impressive but the chance to hang out & chat with some more Boeing flight test engineers at the rear of the aircraft & talk about systems, structures & designs was fascinating.

Eventually we left & went back down to the tarmac to get some more photos of engines, landing gear, vents, inlets & more. From there we returned to the bus & went back to our vehicles, coming back to the reality of a cold, grey Melbourne day.

Team PCDU would like to thank Qantas & Jetstar for inviting us to join the 787 DreamTour here in Melbourne. We’d also like to thank Boeing for bringing the 787 down under and for allowing us to interview Captain Todd Abraham as well as spend so much time chatting with their flight test engineers.

Naturally, we’ve loaded our photos from the day as a 787 set on our Flickr stream for you to check out. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and that you can appreciate the need to balance a short-length ‘quick-cast’ episode against getting our interview published while the DreamTour is still underway.

Notes:
* Cover art image courtesy of Steven Pam from SmartShots
* Thanks to Owen Zupp and also the crew at Junior Flyer for technical help with this episode
* Intro by Andrea Crook of Scripts & Voices

Joining the 787 DreamTour in Melbourne

Update: Our 787 DreamTour ‘quick cast’ has been released. Check it out at PCDU Episode 88: Dreamtime

At the invitation of Qantas & Jetstar, we spent some time today exploring the 787 ZA003 with its demonstration customer interior. The aircraft is visiting Australia & New Zealand as part of the DreamTour and today’s leg brought it to Melbourne.

In addition to getting to walk around & through the aircraft, we had some time to enjoy the cockpit, record a great interview with Captain Todd Abraham from Boeing and also have some casual chats with a few of the Boeing Flight Test Engineers who were on the tour.

It was a great experience and we’d like to thank Boeing, Qantas & Jetstar for helping to make it happen.

Steve & Grant on the Flight Deck of 787 ZA003

You can see all the photos we took today in our PCDU Flickr Stream.

We’ll be releasing our chat with Todd in our next episode. Watch this space :)

Update: Our 787 DreamTour ‘quick cast’ has been released. Check it out at PCDU Episode 88: Dreamtime

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 78: Tim Smith: Flying Saved My Life

Many people in Australia know of Tim Smith, a Melbourne comedian who’s worked on television and in radio for years. What many people don’t know is that Tim is a pilot who is working towards his goal of running charter operations taking people around Australia, visiting places many folks have never heard of let alone visited.

We were fortunate enough to get some time chatting with Tim in one of the briefing rooms at Moorabbin Flying Services where we had a great time talking about a variety of topics, including:

  • The number of people in radio who have their pilots license
  • The difficulties of juggling radio work with learning to fly & the challenge of time management
  • What influenced him to become a pilot
  • How flying saved his life
  • Amusing flying stories about instructors, examiners and experiences
  • Aircraft he’s flown and ratings he has, including a great look at glass cockpits vs steam gauge
  • His interest in flying people around Australia on charter work, going to places like Fraser Island, Daly Waters, Alice Springs, Darwin, Birdsville, etc
  • How he’s often doing lots of exploring from the air & going to out of the way places & experiencing the outback scenery & friendliness
  • Aviation TV shows in Australia
  • The impact of government legislation and ideas to get more people flying
  • Flying in New Zealand

It’s a great chat and we’re very happy that Tim was able to give us so much of his time on the AFL Grand Final day (when almost the whole of Victoria and most of the rest of Australia stop to watch football).

You can find Tim online at:

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

PCDU Episode 72: Oshcast #3 – Hugging your Roo

As all good things must come to an end, so too must our time at Oshkosh 2011. It’s been an incredible event for us and an eye-opener to just how large this Mecca of all things aviation truly is. With our final day at the show, we’ve produced a chunky episode packed full of *some* of the content we picked up here. There’s still more to come in subsequent episodes including a focus on the teams on site from New Zealand, the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group and GippsAero.

For now, here’s a list of what you’ll find in episode 72: Oshcast #3 (Hugging your Roo):

After all this, we wrap up the show with a discussion between Steve, Grant, Bas, David & Mike, closing off our on-show coverage of Oshkosh 2011.

PCDU Episode 42: Wings Down Under

This episode we’re joined by Will Horton from the Wings Down Under blog to chat about recent aviation news items. We also have Anthony Simmons returning for another View from the Lounge segment and a chat with Damien Rose about his flight training up in Toowoomba. The episode wraps up with some listener mail and a shout out so it’s a little long but that should make up for the three Election QuickCast episodes we released recently :)

The list of topics we discussed with Will Horton include:

  • A review of the recent Asia/Pacific Aviation Outlook Summit in Sydney
  • The Asia/Pacific outlook for airlines includes a prediction for strong growth
  • “Buy local” for Russia (Sukhoi) & China (Comac) plus India building up its local aeronautics capabilities along with Mahindra & Mahindra buying into Australian aviation companies such as Gippsland Aeronautics
  • Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A350-900 order
  • V Australia’s 777 useage in Fiji & Bali plus the use of wide bodies (eg: 767/A330) on domestic routes due to slot restrictions
  • Qantas wanting to fly 787s into China & on to Europe
  • Jetstar being boosted over Qantas (if it’s new it’s JQ) and using Singapore as a hub into Europe
  • Qantas’s new smart card system for check-in that relies on elite frequent flyers who are with Qantas, not Jetstar
  • AirAsia setting up a Frequent Flyer program
  • Crawford Rix @ Tiger Airways is against frequent flyer programs as they’re anticompetitive and is hinting that Tiger could go down the RyanAir path (standing seats, pay loos, etc) – at least for the publicity :)
  • Customers in Australia and Asia/Pacific wanting a higher level of standards
  • Tiger setting up a franchise in Thailand (51% Thai owned but still Tiger Thailand)
  • China more likely to have standing seats as the Chinese can lay down the law for their own operations – no need to align with FAA/EASA standards although they’re investing in highspeed trains)
  • AirAsia wants to enter the Australian domestic & trans-tasman market
  • The high quality of the AirAsia experience (a discount carrier that doesn’t nickle & dime their passengers) will hit Jetstar hard
  • Pacific Blue is pulling out of the New Zealand domestic market
  • Repurposing of V Australia’s 777s off the Fiji route
  • United is not worried about Delta-V
  • Qantas’ financial results

Steve & Grant also talk afterwards about Virgin Blue’s financial results which came out after we spoke with Will, along with their news about adding A330s, dropping the E170s (while keeping the E190s) and linking up with Etihad.

PCDU Episode 38: Dick Smith: Around the World in Many Ways

Dick Smith is an entrepreneur well known to most Australians, ranging from the country wide chain of Dick Smith Electronics stores he created to Dick Smith Foods and Australian Geographic.

Another very important aspect of Dick’s life has revolved around aviation. In addition to owning & flying his own aeroplanes & helicopters, he has also flown around the world multiple times, made the first helicopter landing at the North Pole, and flown balloons across Australia as well as from New Zealand back to Australia (against the prevailing winds). He was on the board of (and then director of) both the Civil Aviation Authority and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Dick is also a very vocal champion of air space reform in Australia and aviation safety in general.

We were very fortunate to have been given some of Dick’s valuable time to discuss his early days learning to fly, his adventuring around the world and his thoughts on a number of different aircraft he’s owned & flown. We also touch briefly on his time with the CAA/CASA and his thoughts on aviation safety & airspace reform, all of which will be covered in more detail in future interviews we hope to bring you as soon as Dick’s schedule permits.

PCDU Episode 28: Save the Liberator

The B24 Liberator was the most produced heavy bomber of World War 2 and saw service in all theaters of the war. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flew B24s along side those of the USAAF, based in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. These aircraft flew long range missions of many hours duration, typically without fighter escort. Providing bombing, maritime patrol and transport services, the advanced & complicated B24 was, perhaps, the unsung hero of heavy bomber operations.

Very few of these aircraft still exist (see the list of remaining B24s) and in Australia, only a single example remains. It is currently being restored by a group of dedicated and passionate individuals, many of whom flew B24s during or immediately after the war.

Based in Werribee, just outside Melbourne, the Australian B24 Restoration project is definitely worth visiting and supporting. We were fortunate to visit the team, admire the aircraft and interview John Temby (President of the association) and Ed Crabtree (ex B24 pilot). Another trip down is currently being planned and we expect to have more great content from the restoration team in a later episode.