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 121: Exercise Pitch Black 2014

During August, Grant spent a week in Darwin covering Exercise Pitch Black 2014, a major multinational “war game” exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force.

RSAF F15 at dusk in Darwin

RSAF F15 at dusk in Darwin

Held every two years, Pitch Black is Australia’s version of the Red Flag training exercises held in the USA and in 2014 the RAAF was joined by forces from the US, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, France and the United Arab Emirates.

Grant joined Andrew McLaughlin, Nigel Pittaway, Mike Yeo and Eng Tiong Ow to experience fantastic access to the local & visiting forces thanks to the efforts of FLTLT Eamon Hamilton. From meeting with representatives from each group attending Pitch Black to being beside the runways & taxiways at Darwin & Tindal, we were able to capture some fantastic photos, videos & interviews.

In addition to Grant’s collection of Pitch Black 2014 content, Steve & ATC Ben recorded a chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book and his ideas for future projects.

At the time we recorded the wrappers for this episode, Steve was about to head to the USA for a family holiday and to cover the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas while Grant was geting ready to go to Auckland for the Wings Over New Zealand forum gathering. Unfortunately there were delays in getting everything finished so the episode didn’t come out until after the boys had left on their flights. Go figure :)

The episode’s details are:

  • 0:08:20 –
    GPCAPT "Micka" Gray - Officer Commanding Exercise Pitch Black 2014

    GPCAPT “Micka” Gray – Officer Commanding Exercise Pitch Black 2014

    Grant’s coverage of Exercise Pitch Black 2014
    • 0:09:22 – General media “door stop” interview with GPCAPT “Micka” Gray
       
    • 0:17:05 – FLTLT Ben Daly talks about the roles of Air Combat Officer (ACO) and Fighter Combat Controller (FCC)
       
    • 0:22:03 – FLGOFF Kathryn Koslowicz talks about the day to day tasks of an Air Combat Officer (ACO) and being deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO)
       
    • 0:26:31 – FLTLT Ben Daly takes us through No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit’s operations cabins and how they’re used to deploy & manage operations in remote locations
       
    • 0:31:25 – SQNLDR Tim Main reviews the RAAF’s new E7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft
       
    • 0:40:15 – Lt Col Scott Arbogast is the commander of the US ANG F16s & he tells us about their role in the exercise
       
    • 0:46:02 – CMSgt Joseph Smiley discusses the logistics behind getting the US ANG F16s to Australia, keeping them running here and then getting them back home afterwards
       
    • 0:52:34 –
      French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) CASA CN235 Transport

      French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) CASA CN235 Transport

      WGCDR Ben Sleeman, CO of 77 SQN, tells us about being the defender
       
    • 1:00:42 – SQNLDR Rob Crawford talks about the 37SQN C130J he brought up to Tindal
       
    • 1:04:56 – WOFF Kyle Lovett is a refuelling operator (aka “boomer”) on 33SQN’s KC30A MRTTs and he walks us through a typical mission they’ve been flying
       
    • 1:14:39 – FLTLT Adam Rouessart & FLGOFF Matthew Bleach were the crew for the F18F Super Hornet handling display during the week
       
    • 1:18:52 – CASA CN235 crew from the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia
       
    • 1:29:24 – RTAF WGCDR Titan
       
    • 1:33:44 –
      RTAF SAAB Jas 39 Gripen departing Darwin

      RTAF SAAB Jas 39 Gripen departing Darwin

      Mick Gablonski is the CHC base manager for the S61 SAR helicopter at Tindal
       
    • 1:42:19 – Nobby has been part of the team restoring Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair & he lets us in on some of the effort required to bring it to flight status
       
  • 1:48:05 – Steve & ATC Ben chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book “Born to Fly” and his ideas for the future
     
  • 2:15:11 – Steve & Grant return to wrap up the episode with the following shout outs:

RAAF F18 Hornets doing a paired take-off

RAAF F18 Hornets doing a paired take-off

Grant is very impressed with Graham Hosking's F4U-5N Corsair

Grant is very impressed with Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair


CHC's Sikorsky S61 SAR Helicopter

CHC’s Sikorsky S61 SAR Helicopter

Our small group of Aviation Media on the RSAF tarmac after our dusk-walk (Eng Tiong Ow, Grant McHerron, Mike Yeo, 2 x RSAF, Andrew McLaughlin, Eamon Hamilton, Nigel Pittaway)

Our small group of Aviation Media on the RSAF tarmac after our dusk-walk
(Eng Tiong Ow, Grant McHerron, Mike Yeo, 2 x RSAF, Andrew McLaughlin, Eamon Hamilton, Nigel Pittaway)

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 2: Aero Neuro What???

Surprisingly less than one week after our first episode was released, we’re releasing our second episode. During this one, we discuss the following items: