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 128: Unprecedented

From Grant’s collection of ballooning interviews to a chat with Owen Zupp about his latest book and our tribute to Hannes Arch, this episode is our biggest yet (yes, even bigger than Episode 51, our tribute to the RAAF’s F-111s!). We’ve even captured Anthony “The Infrequent Flyer” Simmons’ first ever viewing of the movie TopGun (in IMAX 3D no less :) ).

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

The episode unfolds as:

  • 00:00:00 – Our tribute to Hannes Arch, the Red Bull Air Race champion pilot who tragically died in a helicopter crash in September, 2016.
     
  • 00:04:54 – Show start & introduction.
     
  • 00:14:12 – We talk with Owen Zupp about his new book: Without Precedent. It’s the biography of his father that covers his time as a commando in World War 2, flying Meteors during the Korean War, flying Constellations with QANTAS and later flying in General Aviation. It’s a fantastic read and highly recommended.
    We started by discussing Steve’s recent Tiger Moth flight with Vintage Airways at Lilydale and how much fun he had finally flying an aircraft he swore he’d never go in.
     
  • 01:05:22 – Grant talked with Phil Kavanagh back in 2013 about the early days of sport ballooning in Australia in the 60’s & 70’s, manufacturing balloons in Australia, teaching themselves to fly, setting up Kavanagh Balloons, sourcing materials, new developments and the future of ballooning technology.
     
  • 01:27:09 – After talking to Phil, Grant caught up with Sean Kavanagh about his career in aviation ranging from being an aircraft engineer with QANTAS through to flying & making hot air balloons. Sean has flown in competitions and also been a commercial pilot flying at various locations around Australia, including the challenging city of Melbourne. In 2013 Sean was designing new balloons and burners for the company, including producing the inevitable paperwork and dealing with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). We also discuss in some detail the effort that has gone into designing the new Series IV Crossfire burner.
     
  • 01:52:50 –
    Owen Zupp's "Without Precedent"

    Owen Zupp’s “Without Precedent”

    John Wallington is the Flight Director of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, an annual event which has been running since the 80’s. He talked with Grant in 2015 about the experience of flying over Canberra and keeping the flying side of the event running smoothly and safely.
     
  • 01:55:37 – Don Whitford is the meteorologist of choice for ballooning events in Australia and he spoke with Grant about his career of more than 40 years in aviation weather forecasting. They also talk about the impacts of the changing weather patterns that are being experienced recently.
     
  • 02:05:06 – Frank Wechter was at Canberra flying the Angry Birds special shape balloon.
     
  • 02:06:53 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist used to be with the RNZAF flying Strikemasters, Macchi 339s and A-4 Skyhawks before transferring to the RAAF about fifteen years ago and in 2015 & 2016 was the primary pilot of the RAAF hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:10:33 – Richard Turnbull is back from the UK flying for commercial operators around Australia and returns to the show to briefly talk about what he’s been up to lately.
     
  • 02:12:56 – Grant chats with Ruth Wilson, Australia’s first female commercial hot air balloon pilot who has been flying balloons for over 40 years and also has a fixed wing license. She was also the first Australian hot air balloon champion and represented Australia at events around the world. They talk about flying over Canberra and being involved in the Women Fly It Forward event by taking young ladies for their first flights.
     
  • 02:17:01 – Grant flew with Kevin Cooper in his Thunder & Colt Chariot balloon which is essentially a two seat chair lift hanging under a small balloon that is a LOT of fun to fly. They also talk about his career flying balloons around the world and the experience of flying over Canberra.
     
  • 02:23:43 –
    Cameron's "UP" Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Cameron’s “UP” Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Jeff Vella is an ex-RAAF pilot who currently flies airliners for Cathay Pacific and is based out of Hong Kong. He’s also one of the pilots flying the RAAF hot air balloon as well as flying the Cathay Pacific hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:32:58 – Nick Purvis is the Sales Director of Cameron Balloons and he talks with Grant about the “UP” balloon on its “Up Down Under” tour and the new 250kg RAAF special shape balloon. They also talk about building special shape balloons including printing graphics on envelope, the interior gusseting & supports that help to keep the shape and the “dead air” that doesn’t contribute to lift but helps pressurise the shape of the balloon. Nick also gives us a quick history of the Cameron Balloon company.
     
  • 02:46:05 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist returns to talk about flying the new RAAF special shape hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:49:24 – Grant, Ms Kitt and Steven Pam took Anthony “the Infrequent Flyer” Simmons to see TopGun in 3D at the giant IMAX cinema in Melbourne. They chat about their expectations before going into the cinema and then perform a debrief after the movie. We’ve got the need, the need for speed! Oh my!
     
  • 03:04:06 – Steve & Grant wrap up the episode and discuss Grant’s recent commentary at the Wings Over Macleay air show at Kempsey in New South Wales plus the upcoming Angel Flight charity event at Lake Macquarie on November 6th with Matt Hall, OzRunways and AOPA. Steve will be MC for the event and Steven Pam will be there shooting stills and video.
    The boys also discuss how Steve’s trying to get used to flying a Cessna with a glass cockpit along with how Steve recently dobbed Kathy Mexted in as a guest host for the Plane Talking UK show. Finally, Grant’s getting his notes ready to do the commentary for OzKosh at Narromine. It’s all go especially as Steve’s getting ready to move into a new house that’s almost finished being built and will include a cool new studio for future recording.
Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

The new RAAF "Flying Helmet" special shape hot air balloon

The new RAAF “Flying Helmet” special shape hot air balloon

PCDU Episode 117: Holler for a Marshall, an AIR Marshal

With the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show only a couple of days away, we thought we’d mix up some content that promotes the event as well as some chats Grant recorded with a number of past & present members of the RAAF at the Temora Aviation Museum’s “Warbirds Down Under” event back in November. To round the whole thing off, we’ve also got Steve’s chat with Tammy Augostin about the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event that will be running from March 3rd to 9th around the world.

From top to bottom: AVM (ret) Skidmore, AIRMSHL Binskin & AVM Davies (and, of course, a P40 :) )

From top to bottom: AVM (ret) Skidmore, AIRMSHL Binskin & AVM Davies (and, of course, a P40 :) )

The episode’s content run is:

  • Steve & Grant give an overview of what to expect in the episode
     
  • 0:09:42 – Grant catches up with Air Marshal Mark Binskin at the Temora Aviation Museum to discuss his career, the role of Vice Chief of the Defence Force and flying his Cessna O-1 Birddog
     
  • 0:15:57 – Air Vice Marshal (retired) Mark Skidmore talks to us about flying the Bristol Boxkite replica
     
  • 0:20:33 – Air Vice Marshal Leo Davies (Deputy Chief of Air Force) tells us about the Centenary of Military Aviation air show, his career and the type of work he does in his role
     
  • 0:28:17 – Keith Webb explains the Temora Aviation Museum‘s “Unsung Heroes” project and the work involved in collecting the reminiscences of veterans
     
  • 0:34:42 – Grant catches up with Captain Jack Curtis, DC3 pilot extraordinaire and perhaps the only pilot flying DC3s who’s actually older than the aircraft he’s flying :)
     
  • 0:43:01 –
    F/A-18 flying over the Bristol Boxkite replica at Pt Cook (Photo by James Kightly)

    F/A-18 flying over the Bristol Boxkite replica at Pt Cook
    (Photo by James Kightly)

    Dick Simms talks about being an Officer Cadet in the RAAF & flying Mustangs, Vampires & Meteors then his career selling aircraft and his restoration of a 1930’s Ryan STM that can now be found at the Temora Aviation Museum
     
  • 0:58:10 – Mick Haxel (DFC) chats with Grant about his career in the military and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the time that it became the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before winding up with his current position with Flight Safety Pty Ltd. He also talks about how he was awarded DFC for his flying in Vietnam (Audio courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)
     
  • 1:16:50 – Steve talks with Tammy Augostin about the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event and her involvement with CCT Racing, one of the Australian jet racing teams at the Reno Air Races
     
  • 1:47:44 – Steve & Grant wrap up the episode
GPCAPT (ret) Ron Gretton AM & WGCDR (ret) Geoff Matthews talk with AVM (ret) Mark Skidmore in front of the Bristol Boxkite replica they built

GPCAPT (ret) Ron Gretton AM & WGCDR (ret) Geoff Matthews talk with AVM (ret) Mark Skidmore in front of the Bristol Boxkite replica they built
(Photo by James Kightly)

PCDU Episode 77: Qantas Crisis: After the Grounding

Almost one year after the QF32 incident, Qantas is again in the news around the world and for a short time again appeared to be on the brink of a major disaster. At 5pm on Saturday the 29th of October, Alan Joyce (CEO of Qantas) announced that he & the board of directors had decided to ground all of Qantas’ domestic & international flights (about 108 aircraft). This unprecedented step disrupted the travel plans of almost 70,000 passengers in order to avoid a “death by a thousand paper cuts” due to ongoing damage from industrial disputes with three unions.

The three unions represented the pilots, engineers and baggage handlers working for Qantas’ “mainline” operations. The Jetstar, QantasLink and JetConnect operations were not involved in the grounding.

We have assembled a collection of discussions with a number of people involved in the disputes or monitoring it from the outside. It is our intention that we provide you with an overview of what has happened, why it happened and where things might go from here. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, our time is not rigidly controlled so our guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.

While we also express our own views during this episode, we have tried to present enough information for you to get a better understanding of the situation & form your own decisions.

The discussions in this episode include:

We’d also like to thank Colin Lipiatt, the Manager of Coporate Communications at Virgin Australia, for taking the time to chat with us about their ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While we couldn’t include him in the show, he provided plenty of useful information for us.

While putting this episode together we did attempt to contact Qantas’ media department to arrange a representative who could talk to us about the items raised during the discussions listed above. Unfortunately we did not hear back from them and can only assume that, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time for us.

We trust that you’ll enjoy this special episode of content specifically covering the Qantas Grounding situation. It’s been a marathon effort to arrange & record the interviews then put it all together for you. It has certainly been educational & eye opening for us as we discussed the issues with our guests, and that’s got to be a good thing :)

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