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 111: Radio Killed the Podcast Star (Almost :) )

As the F111 was late & delayed by all sorts of issues, so too has our Episode 111 been late in arriving. Our big excuse has been discovering that the PCDU Radio Show has taken a LOT more effort than we expected. All this plus our day jobs, families AND our PCDU Commentary & Announcing gigs have, in turn, made it almost impossible to get an episode out. Suffice to say, we’re parking the radio show production for a while as we try to find a new way of working that lets us produce radio shows AND episodes. It’s very much a learning experience!

Meanwhile, we have managed to get this episode out and it’s packed with lots of great content, including:

  • 0:01:55 – Grant recently took a holiday in Bali & flew with Virgin Australia. He provides a review of their short-haul international business class service & the GA scene on Bali.
     
  • 0:12:50 – We chat with Mark Pracy from Pracy Racing about his preparations for Reno 2013 and the “feel” of the event now that it’s coming up on two years since the big crash back in 2011.
     
  • 0:34:46 – We present a summary of the chats Steve recorded with Dave Jacka as he made his solo-flight around Australia to become the first quadriplegic person to do so as part of his On A Wing & A Chair charity. These chats were recorded during Dave’s journey and after his return to Tooradin airport (YTDN), giving a great overview of the many issues & experiences he encountered.
     
  • 1:03:46 – During Exercise Talisman Saber, Damien Rose interviewed Jake Press a pilot with the KC135. He then went on to enjoy a great ride in a USAF C17 doing a low-level airdrop. You can watch his summary video posted to the PCDU YouTube channel:
     
  • 1:08:20 – Back in 2012, Grant had a great chat with David Cottee, the curator of the Qantas Heritage Collection
     
  • 1:29:28 – Also back in 2012, Grant had a fantastic chat with Paul Gianniotis, an ex-Cathay Pacific Flight Engineer who learned to fly in a Piper at Kai Tak in Hong Kong (no, really :) ) and even started flying hot air balloons in Hong Kong. As you could imagine, he’s got some amazing stories to tell!
     
  • 1:47:23 – We give some shoutouts:
    • The Stuck Mic AvCast has not only passed their 50th episode, they’re about to release their 55th! Awesome!
    • Dave Homewood is about to release his 50th Wings Over New Zealand podcast episode and it’s going to be a fantastic one!
    • We’ve released our 200th Australia Desk segment for the Airplane Geeks podcast
    • Bevan Anderson from AvSoft has seen his AvPlan application turn 2 years old
    • Steve’s daughter Rachel turned 18 and his wife now has her Yellow Belt in Karate
       
  • Australia’s Federal Election is coming up & once again we’re going to do some Election Quick Cast episodes to give you an insite to the aviation policies (if any) of the major parties

PCDU Episode 68: Flyabout to Memory Lane

We open this episode having a chat with James Williams of the LifeStyle PodNetwork, Australia’s global podcast network. We are very happy to announce that we’ve been invited to join and we talk with James about the network, why they invited us to join and what it means to be a part of their community of podcasters.

We then transition to a chat with Monika Petrillo and Elliott Schiffman who came to Australia in the late 90’s to fly around the country as part of a one month air safari with Mal Shipton’s GOANA (Great Outback Air Navigation Adventure) Australian Air Safaris. After returning to the USA, Monika spent a number of years producing the movie FlyAbout, a documentary film based on her adventures during the air safari.

You may also have heard Monika on other podcasts such as The Pilot’s Flight Podlog, The New Pilot Podblog and the Mile High Flyers. Each of these podcasts have chatted with Monika and presented their own unique approach to her movie & her story.

Who are we to be different, then? :)

In chatting with Monika & Elliot we touch on the following aspects of their adventure:

  • What it was like for Monika to edit & produce the movie
  • Why did they come to Australia for this adventure?
  • Monika’s learning to fly & then flying on the safari with her father, an even more inexperienced pilot
  • Elliott’s background in flying
  • Getting to know each other while on safari
  • What it was it like flying in the Australian outback without needing radios, having the freedom to deviate from track and so on
  • The scenery they encountered and experiences with the locals as they travelled around
  • How have the others from the safari gone since their big adventure?
  • Comparing Australia’s aviation culture with that of the USA
  • Dealing with certification, maintenance, paperwork
  • A side track into ballooning (gee, thanks Grant :)
  • The non flying activities they got up to during the safari
  • What flying they’re currently doing
  • Elliott’s involvement with Bonanzas to Oshkosh, the mass arrival of 100+ Bonanzas at Oshkosh

Following our chat with Monika and Elliott, we introduce Don McLean, an air traffic controller from New Zealand who also happens to be Grant’s 2nd cousin. Like Grant’s father, Don went through the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) flying P3 Orions then went on to Bristol Freighters before winding up in a desk job at which point he decided to leave. From there he started working as an Air Traffic Controller at Ardmore near Auckland before moving to Auckland International Airport and then on to Hong Kong. After many years working in Hong Kong he returned to New Zealand where he worked at Palmerston North airport before moving to Hamilton where he’s currently working in the tower.

In addition to a discussion of Don’s career, our chat includes:

  • Oceanic Control
  • ADSB in New Zealand
  • Working the old school radar equipment
  • What it was like working in Hong Kong – especially Kai Tak
  • How airspace is structured in New Zealand
  • The GAAP to Class D transition here in Australia
  • Radar coverage of New Zealand airspace
  • The process of centralisation in Christchurch and whether Auckland could provide a good fall back position

We then wrap up the episode with a chat about Grant & Bas joining the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group for a rather stylish arrival while they’re over there. We then get some great listener mail from Mark Fraser in Canada who has a great story about an early flying experience in his life. Finally, Steve gives Grant a Shout Out for editing the interviews then another to Glen Philp from Steve’s CFA past who recently contacted us via the podcast.

Music supplied from the royalty free production music at JewelBeat.