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.

RAAF C130J Flight Over Melbourne

As part of the RAAF’s promotional events in the lead up to the Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show being held at Point Cook on March 1st & 2nd, we were invited to join them for a C130J media flight. As Steve was still recovering from his knee surgery and Grant was out of town, we sent Steven Pam & ATC Ben along to get video & stills plus record some interviews.

On Friday 7th of February, Steven & Ben were at Point Cook to record the arrival of two C130Js, capture the official announcements and then ride on the trailing aircraft as the two C130s flew around Melbourne’s CBD and the bay. After the flight they were able to record a couple of interviews with aircrew.

Steven then took the content they gathered & produced the video below. Full audio from the interviews can be found in PCDU Episode 116: High Performances.

We would like to extend our thanks to the RAAF for inviting us on the flight and giving us the opportunity to capture more great content for our audience. We’re very much looking forward to the air show which promises to be a major event and a great showcase of the RAAF’s aircraft from the past 100 years.

PCDU Episode 99: RAAF C-130H – Into History

C130H Farewell Cover Art

C-130H A97-005 with the ‘Farewell’ tail art

In November of 2012 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) decommissioned their C-130H fleet, transitioning to the C-130J and reaching the end of an era for flight engineers & navigators in the Air Lift Group (ALG). We were fortunate enough to be invited to partake in some of the decommissioning events including a final media flight over Sydney Harbour, watching a formation flyby practice from RAAF Base Richmond’s control tower and the delivery of C-130H A97-011 to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook.

In the course of these events we obtained a number of great interviews with past & present air crew which are gathered here in our tribute episode to the C-130H in RAAF service:

  • 0:07:48 – Air Commodore Gary Martin’s (Commander Air Lift Group) press conference held on the ramp at RAAF Base Richmond before the Sydney Harbour media flight
     
  • 0:11:39 – RAAF C-130H pre-flight safety briefing
     
  • 0:17:25 – Onboard recording of C-130H engine startup & cruise sounds
     
  • 0:17:50 – Flight Lieutenant Tony Charles, pilot of A97-005 on the media flight over Sydney, discusses the flight
     
  • Steve gets to fly the C130H simulator

    0:19:54 – Flight Lieutenant Richard Aughie, C-130H flight simulator instructor, talks about C-130H performance specs, simulator training, his involvement in the C27J Spartan training program and Steve’s landings in the simulator
     
  • 0:31:41 – Phil Brown, a former RAAF Warrant Officer C130H Flight Engineer & now an instructor with CAE, talks about his RAAF career and the role of the Flight Engineer on the C130H
     
  • 0:54:37 – Squadron Leader Rob Sokol, pilot of the final flight of A97-011, talks about the flight to Point Cook, his time at 1FTS at Point Cook, his RAAF Reserve service and his “day job” as an A380 pilot
     
  • Special tail art for the C130H farewell

    1:00:29 – Air Vice Marshall (ret) Greg Evans (DSC, AM) talks about his RAAF career as a C130H pilot from 1983 to 1992 including:
    • His exchange posting to the USAF and Little Rock AFB with the 40th Tactical Airlift SQN between 1998-90 (which naturally leads to comparing notes with Steve about flying the skies of Arkansas :)
    • Some “interesting” missions & training flights he flew with the USAF & RAAF
    • Comparing the C130H to the older C130E
    • The differences encountered with the C130J
    • The advantages of the C27J Spartan
    • Being Commander Joint Task Force 633 MEAO (Iraq) during 2004 & 2005

Thanks to Eamon Hamilton (ALG Public Affairs Officer) & Ben Wickham (ADF Regional Public Affairs Officer for NSW) for arranging our access to the events & people so we could gather the content used in this episode.

PCDU Episode 96: “Serge” – An Australian Top Gun

Serge’s “Fighter Pilot” book cover

It takes a special breed to push an F18 out to the edge of the envelope, fly missions ranging from surface attack to dog fights and then blow off steam with your squadron mates. It’s certainly not Top Gun but it does make amazing fodder for a book that highlights the good, the bad and the crazy.

Just such a book has been written by ‘Mac “Serge” Tucker‘ and it’s called “Fighter Pilot: mis-adventures beyond the sound barrier with an Australian Top Gun

Steve & Grant chat to “Serge” about being a fighter pilot, flying & partying hard, blowing off steam and dealing with bureaucrats. We also cover:

  • The size of the fighter community in Australia and the camaraderie that has developed among them
  • The mentoring that occurs within the community covering both technical & behavioural aspects of being a fighter pilot
  • The interaction of fighter pilots with pilots from other parts of the RAAF
  • Serge’s career progressing from high school through basic training in the CT4, progression to the Aermacchi MB 326H (the Macchi) and on to the F18 via a stint on the Nomad.
  • Wing Commander Ross Fox’s influence as Serge’s mentor and the impact of his death in an F18 mid-air collision
  • Serge’s thoughts on the Australian Army & Royal Australian Navy
  • Working with the fighter pilots from the USA & comparing USA pilots with RAAF pilots
  • Old timer stories and their influence on current procedures
  • RAAF exchange pilots flying F15s & F22s with the USAF
  • The F35 JSF and its issues with kinematics
  • Drones and their use in the military environment
  • How the military have missed out on changing their operations & equipment to deal better with the Middle East environment & the modern political power dynamics
  • Serge’s love of hang gliding
  • Transitioning from being a fighter pilot to being an airline pilot
  • His final flight: a one-on-one dogfight with Matt Hall

PCDU Episode 80: Farewell 2011 (aka “Tom Cruise wraps my Dolmades” :)

All good things must come to an end and so too must the year 2011. It has been an amazing year of growth for PCDU as we’ve covered Avalon 2011, NatFly 2011 and Oshkosh 2011 along with a number of major events (eg: Qantas grounding) and added some new voices to the team. So as the year draws to a close and 2012 is waiting in the wings,  Steve,  Grant and Anthony  “The Infrequent Flyer”  bring you our Farewell 2011 episode:

  • Steve &  David Vanderhoof discuss the Royal Australian Navy  (RAN)  Sea King helicopters at the time of their decommissioning, developments with the C130 Hercules and a special Christmas greeting from David
  • We chat with Mo Ferrando from High Alpha Media about the Hexacopter and Octocopter units he was displaying for us at Tooradin
  • David Pilkington talks with us about his career in aeronautical engineering and aerobatics
  • David &  Grant go up in David’s Decathlon to fly an aerobatic routine above Tooradin (YTDN) and broadcast the manoeuvres and sensations during the flight
  • Adam Wooley from JoeyGlide chats with us about the National Junior Gliding Championships recently held in Queensland

As usual we have some great listener mail, including:

  • Ryan Hothersall sent us a link to the 2011 STOL competitions – amazing stuff!
  • Congrats to the AirStig who is celebrating the arrival of a new Stigette
  • Thanks to Keane Bourke for his Merry Christmas wishes
  • Thanks also to Garry Collins for his train jargon & congrats for Steve
  • Big shout out to Owen Zupp for his Owen Zupp Author page on Facebook and his new OwenZupp.com.au blog

Given it’s our end of year episode, we have a list of people & groups to thank:

  • Our sponsors over the course of the year:
  • All the listeners who donated to help us cover the costs of being at Oshkosh &  producing the show all year
  • The contributors who have helped us create content for the show:
    • Bas Scheffers
    • Anthony Crichton Browne
    • Kathy Mexted
    • ATC Ben (aka Ben Ippolito)
    • David Vanderhoof
    • Dan Morris
    • Pieter Johnson
    • Anthony Simmons, the Infrequent Flyer
    • Adam Visscher
    • Steven Pam
    • Allan Van’t Padje
    • Mike Wilson who helped us at Oshkosh

We’d also like to say thanks to:

  • AusAir Services
  • Ian Kershaw for his help with the survey
  • James Williams &  Dave Gray from LPN
  • Milford &  Charlie from Flight Time Radio
  • Max Flight & Courtney Miller for making this happen
  • Rob Mark for his hospitality at Camp Jetwhine
  • Mike Miley &  Rod Rakic from MyTransponder for the help at Oshkosh
  • Stu Stevenson for his hospitality post Oshkosh
  • Special thanks to Kitt &  Cathey for their continuing status as podcast widows!

So thanks again to our growing audience who have been with us as we’ve expanded PCDU over the course of 2011. Happy holidays and here’s to a whole new year of bringing you the most amazing aviation experiences & information from Australia &  New Zealand that we can.

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 30: Antarctica: The Last True Wilderness

The first aircraft to be used in Antarctica was Henry Mawson’s Vickers REP monoplane. Sadly, it had been damaged in Australia before arriving in Antarctica and was used as an “air tractor” to pull sleds. Even that didn’t work out and it was dumped, eventually being found again only recently.

Given that inauspicious start, it’s hard to believe that there are multiple ice & snow runways in Antarctica receiving visits from C130s, C17s and now an Australian A319 carries scientists on regular flights to the ice. It is also possible to go on one of the QANTAS sight seeing flights that are proving to be very popular with their great views of the ice & mountains.

With all this in mind, we decided to put together a special episode focusing on the land that’s even more “down under” than we are. To kick things off we have an interview with Captain Dan Colborne of Skytraders. Dan flies the Airbus A319/ACJ from Australia to the Wilkins Blue Ice runway in Australian Antarctic territory. He also flies the CASA 212-400 aircraft that are based in Antarctica for the summer, including the long ferry flights at the start & end of the season.

We chat with David Vanderhoof about Air New Zealand Flight 901, the DC-10 that tragically crashed on Mount Erebus during a sight seeing tour over Antarctica in the 70’s. We also discuss some of the other runways on Antarctica and the aircraft that visit them.

The final section in this episode has a discussion with Phil Asker from The Captain’s Choice Tours and Croydon Travel who has been arranging Antarctic sight seeing flights for many years. Working with QANTAS, the flights are in Boeing 747 or Airbus A380 aircraft and are very much in demand, especially the New Years Eve flight.

We talk with Phil about what’s involved in preparing the flights and what passengers can expect to encounter. We also talk with David Halls about what it was like as a passenger on the New Years Eve flight on Dec 31st, 2009. Finally, we prove that nepotism is alive & well in podcasting by bringing Grant’s sister Tania on the show to talk about her time working as a Trolley Dolly (sorry, Flight Attendant) on an Antarctic flight. She also gives Steve LOTS of material to use against Grant, much of it unfit for public consumption (even in the outtakes).

So, put your survival suit on and prepare to meet some penguins as we talk about Antarctica.