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 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.