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 87: Wings Over Illawarra 2012

HARS Connie flying at Wings Over Illawarra 2012The Great PCDU Road Trip of 2012 covered over 1,700km in the course of a single weekend. From late on Friday night to early on Monday morning, Steve, Grant & Allan drove from Melbourne up to Wollongong (just south of Sydney) to attend the Wings Over Illawarra 2012 air show. Firmly ensconced in the Southern Biplanes hangar with a great view of the show unfolding beyond “Lilly Warra” (their big red Boeing Stearman), the mobile studio was set up (thanks Allan! :) allowing Steve, Grant & Anthony Crichton-Browne to record stacks of great content.

Most of that content has wound up in this episode, although we have saved a couple of bits for later. For now, kick back & enjoy:

  • 0:03:19 – Flying Officer Daniel Kruger & Warrant Officer Brett Lewis from RAAF 37SQN talk about operating the C130J Hercules (& a bit about the C130H too)
  • 0:16:35 – Joel Haski (Red Baron) & Jeff Criddle (Combat Dragon) talk about flying the A37 Dragonfly to & from the show
  • 0:19:13 – Lieutenant Commander Todd Glynn & Lieutenant Rob McBeeth from the RAN walk us through their careers getting to the SH60B along with a few typical missions and the Kanimbla Blackhawk crash
  • 0:38:17 – Andrew Musgrove from Southern Biplanes talks about the company and the adventure flights they’re offering
  • 0:45:01 – Barry Sandry, Marketing Manager for NSW Air, talks about the Commercial Pilot training courses & charter/scenic flights they offer
  • 0:52:28 – Army Red Berets Parachute Jump Instructor Warrant Officer Adam Paris tells us what it’s like to become a paratrooper & get on the Red Berets demo team
  • 1:11:13 – Chris Clark, chief pilot for Southern Biplanes, tells us how he got into flying, why they got a Boeing Stearman (and where they found it) and what’s involved in their barnstorming adventures in rural NSW
  • 1:18:37 – Harry Mitchell from Australian Aerial Patrol talks about their history and current fleet
  • 1:28:34 – James Gray, Officer Commanding of the Australian Air League‘s Albion Park Unit (and brother of Dave Gray from the Lifestyle PodNetwork :) runs us through the benefits & goals of the AAL

Finally, at 1:40:07, we start to wrap up the episode with a series of big “Thank You’s” to:

  • Southern Biplanes for the use of their facility during the day
  • Owen Zupp for letting us take a break at his place on the way to Wollongong (ace hot cross buns, mate! :)
  • The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) for putting on such a fantastic event and also giving us full access to the show (thanks to Russell Field for the safety walk around & the parking permit :)
  • Josh Masterton for his help on the weekend
  • Allan Van’t Padge for his fantastic support as PCDU Roadie & for riding shotgun the whole way up & back. We couldn’t have done half as well without you, mate! :)

Lilly Warra, Southern Biplane's Boeing Stearman

Southern Biplane's Stearman

With luck, we’ll recover in a few weeks and be ready for the next epic journey, but for now, we’re already working on the next couple of episodes :)

Notes:
* Cover art image courtesy of Cameron Hines

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: