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 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: