PCDU Episode 113: Fleeting Dreams

JQ's new 787 arrives at Melbourne

JQ’s new 787 arrives at Melbourne

The past month has included a number of events related to the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review 2013 as well as the arrival of Jetstar’s new 787-8. Grant’s been visiting a few ships & interviewing their aircrew while Kathy’s had a flight on Australia’s brand new MRH-90 Taipan transport helicopters. Not long after that, Grant was in Sydney to watch the mass-flypast of aircraft as the fleet steamed into Sydney harbour then both Steve & Grant were on the tarmac in Melbourne for the new Jetstar 787 arrival celebrations.

HMS Daring's Lynx

HMS Daring’s Lynx

Naturally this generated lots of great new content and we’ve packaged it all up as follows:

  • 0:06:43 - LT Hamish Walker, Lynx Pilot on HMS Daring
     
  • 0:13:37 - LT CDR Teilo Elliot-Smith, Air Warefare Officer on HMS Daring
     
  • 0:27:15 - CDR Angus Essenhigh, Commanding Officer of HMS Daring
     
  • 0:34:37 - LT David Roderick, Seasprite Pilot on HMNZS Te Mana
     
  • 0:46:17 - LT Hamish Liddy, Seasprite Observer on HMNZS Te Mana
     
  • 0:57:22 - Leading Hand Zach Taylor, Seasprite crew on HMNZS Te Mana
     
  • 6 SQN is combined RNZAF & RNZN

    6 SQN is combined RNZAF & RNZN

    1:06:29 - David presents Grant with their 6 Squadron patch & explains its symbolism
     
  • 1:07:43 - Grant chats with listener “Mick from the Frankston line”
     
  • 1:14:45 - Kathy Mexted chats with Steve about flying in the MRH-90
     
  • 1:17:45 - LT Jack Wadey, MRH-90 Taipan Pilot
     
  • 1:31:40 - CPT Brett Chandler, Commanding Officer of HMAS Creswell
     
  • 1:38:27 - Kathy chats about how she knew Brett Chandler from some time ago
     
  • 1:43:20 - David Hall, CEO of Jetstar Australia & New Zealand
     
  • 1:48:53 - Captain Jeremy Schmidt, lead pilot on Jetstar’s 787 programme
     
  • 1:55:19 - Gordon Rich-Phillips, Victoria’s Minister for Aviation Industry
     
  • 1:59:23 - We wrap it up and sign off

Kathy's aircraft for her media flight

Kathy’s aircraft for her media flight

Ben Wickham & Kathy Mexted getting ready to board the MRH-90

Ben Wickham & Kathy Mexted getting ready to board the MRH-90

Jetstar’s new 787 is here

Jetstar 787-8 Arrives in Melbourne

Jetstar 787-8 Arrives in Melbourne

Jetstar’s shiny new 787-8 arrived in Melbourne on October 9th and we were there to greet it. From being beside the runway to video the arrival, near the fire trucks for the water cannon salute and in the hangar for the celebrations, Team PCDU captured lots of content from the event.

We’ll be including the interviews we recorded in our next episode (in final production at the moment) and loading photos on our Flickr stream & videos on our YouTube channel (as soon as Grant gets them loaded :) ).

Our thanks to Jetstar Australia for inviting us to attend and helping coordinate our access to staff for interviews.

PCDU Episode 88: Dreamtime

787 Dreamliner (photo by Steven Pam)

787 ZA003 provides our Cover Art for this episode

Boeing have been taking their 787 Dreamliners on the DreamTour, a series of 7 multi-stop flights, or segments, that take one of the 787 test aircraft around the world. Each segment visits multiple countries, allowing airlines & invited guests to get up close to the advanced new airliner. Perhaps saving the best for last, the DreamTour came to the Dreamtime during it’s 7th segment. As part of this segment, the aircraft visited Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland (yes, that’s New Zealand, we know) and then on to Cairns before heading north of the equator once again.

Team PCDU were invited to tour the 787 while it was in Melbourne as guests of Qantas & Jetstar. Despite the cold, grey weather & occasional rain, our spirits were high & we were excited to once again encounter the Dreamliner. We’d met ZA001 at Oshkosh 2011 but been too busy to go through the interior so with ZA003 parked on the BAe Systems ramp, this was our chance to finally check out the cockpit.

After chatting with Reid Templin, one of Boeing’s flight test engineers, we recorded an interview with Captain Todd Abraham, one of the Boeing 787 technical pilots flying the aircraft on segment #7. Todd answered our questions about the training program, the electric brakes, the engines, the fly-by-wire system, adherence to the Boeing philosophy and the tactile feedback provided by the control yoke & throttles. Like the other Boeing airliners, the computer systems on the 787 supplement & assist the pilot but do not override, despite being fully computerised.

Our interview with Todd starts at 02:11.

Steve & Grant on the Flight Deck of 787 ZA003

Following this interview we climbed on board and checked out the cockpit (cool!!!!!) before heading back through the demonstration interior which featured example seating arrangements, galleys, toilets, large dimmable windows, high ceilings (with the new storage bins) & crew rest areas. All very impressive but the chance to hang out & chat with some more Boeing flight test engineers at the rear of the aircraft & talk about systems, structures & designs was fascinating.

Eventually we left & went back down to the tarmac to get some more photos of engines, landing gear, vents, inlets & more. From there we returned to the bus & went back to our vehicles, coming back to the reality of a cold, grey Melbourne day.

Team PCDU would like to thank Qantas & Jetstar for inviting us to join the 787 DreamTour here in Melbourne. We’d also like to thank Boeing for bringing the 787 down under and for allowing us to interview Captain Todd Abraham as well as spend so much time chatting with their flight test engineers.

Naturally, we’ve loaded our photos from the day as a 787 set on our Flickr stream for you to check out. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and that you can appreciate the need to balance a short-length ‘quick-cast’ episode against getting our interview published while the DreamTour is still underway.

Notes:
* Cover art image courtesy of Steven Pam from SmartShots
* Thanks to Owen Zupp and also the crew at Junior Flyer for technical help with this episode
* Intro by Andrea Crook of Scripts & Voices

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

PCDU Episode 66: That Wasn’t in the Script!

It’s been a while since we got down & dirty with the Australian commercial airline scene so with that in mind, we called up Ben Sandlilands from the PlaneTalking blog on Crikey.com.au for a chat. There’s some amazing developments going on in the “big iron” side of people moving here in Australia and we went through the following subjects:

  • The joys of ash clouds (Thanks Chile!)
  • Virgin Australia taking on Qantas & Jetstar with their new pricing structures & business class, including just what kind of passenger they were targeting at the front of the cabin
  • Qantas & JetStar’s industrial issues with their unions
  • Tiger regrouping & focusing on routes where it can do the most damage to the others (watch out Melbourne <-> Sydney and maybe even the Golden Triangle of Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane)
  • Strategic’s foray into the Pacific

In this episode we also include an interview with Kathy Mexted, a freelance writer who we met *way* back at the Centenary of Flight airshow in 2010. Flying is in Kathy’s blood by birth & by marriage and she’s been writing articles for a variety of aviation magazines as well as working on a book about being the spouse of an airline pilot. We’re very happy to announce that Kathy’s also going to be producing some content for us in the near future mostly covering Recreational & General Aviation areas.

Finally, we’re including some new music in our show as Steve’s found out about the royalty free production music by JewelBeat. Watch out for whole new background tracks & cross-over music in this & future episodes :)

PCDU Episode 42: Wings Down Under

This episode we’re joined by Will Horton from the Wings Down Under blog to chat about recent aviation news items. We also have Anthony Simmons returning for another View from the Lounge segment and a chat with Damien Rose about his flight training up in Toowoomba. The episode wraps up with some listener mail and a shout out so it’s a little long but that should make up for the three Election QuickCast episodes we released recently :)

The list of topics we discussed with Will Horton include:

  • A review of the recent Asia/Pacific Aviation Outlook Summit in Sydney
  • The Asia/Pacific outlook for airlines includes a prediction for strong growth
  • “Buy local” for Russia (Sukhoi) & China (Comac) plus India building up its local aeronautics capabilities along with Mahindra & Mahindra buying into Australian aviation companies such as Gippsland Aeronautics
  • Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A350-900 order
  • V Australia’s 777 useage in Fiji & Bali plus the use of wide bodies (eg: 767/A330) on domestic routes due to slot restrictions
  • Qantas wanting to fly 787s into China & on to Europe
  • Jetstar being boosted over Qantas (if it’s new it’s JQ) and using Singapore as a hub into Europe
  • Qantas’s new smart card system for check-in that relies on elite frequent flyers who are with Qantas, not Jetstar
  • AirAsia setting up a Frequent Flyer program
  • Crawford Rix @ Tiger Airways is against frequent flyer programs as they’re anticompetitive and is hinting that Tiger could go down the RyanAir path (standing seats, pay loos, etc) – at least for the publicity :)
  • Customers in Australia and Asia/Pacific wanting a higher level of standards
  • Tiger setting up a franchise in Thailand (51% Thai owned but still Tiger Thailand)
  • China more likely to have standing seats as the Chinese can lay down the law for their own operations – no need to align with FAA/EASA standards although they’re investing in highspeed trains)
  • AirAsia wants to enter the Australian domestic & trans-tasman market
  • The high quality of the AirAsia experience (a discount carrier that doesn’t nickle & dime their passengers) will hit Jetstar hard
  • Pacific Blue is pulling out of the New Zealand domestic market
  • Repurposing of V Australia’s 777s off the Fiji route
  • United is not worried about Delta-V
  • Qantas’ financial results

Steve & Grant also talk afterwards about Virgin Blue’s financial results which came out after we spoke with Will, along with their news about adding A330s, dropping the E170s (while keeping the E190s) and linking up with Etihad.

PCDU Episode 35: Perseverance & Persistence

These days it’s quite common to find ladies in command of commercial airliners, bizjets and combat aircraft. Thirty years ago, however, this was certainly not the case here in Australia and a female required a stubborn streak & thick skin to push through and gain acceptance in a very male dominated world.

While the situation for ladies in aviation is still not completely balanced it is significantly improved over the scene in the mid-70s. One reason for that improvement was thanks to the efforts of Deborah Lawrie (aka Deborah Wardley) who was the first female pilot with Ansett Airlines, one of Australia’s biggest airlines until it’s demise in 2001.

Deborah’s story is one of determination and a drive to achieve her goals, no matter what obstacles society and some organisations put in her path. We are fortunate enough in this episode to have had Deborah join us for a great chat about her interest in aviation, learning to fly, her early commercial days, getting into Ansett, the Australian Pilots’ Dispute of 1989 and her subsequent career working with KLM before returning to Australia where she is currently working with Jetstar as their manager of Safety Investigations (while still also flying their A320s).

It’s an incredible chat and we think that in addition to learning about Deborah’s life, you’ll also learn a lot about the Australian airline environment of the past & present.

The Jetstarisation of QANTAS is not over yet

Thanks to an opportunity presented by Shashank Nigam, Grant’s just had an article about the ongoing Jetstarisation of QANTAS published on Shashank’s Simpliflying site.

It provides a background on the birth of Jetstar, its growth to date and how it is destined to consume more of QANTAS’ mainline routes & aircraft. Head on over to Simpliflying and check out the article.

Thanks to Shashank for giving us the opportunity to gain further exposure to the global aviation world, it’s very much appreciated :)

PCDU Episode 25: Fan Boys

Yes, Steve & Grant are Fan Boys (big Fan Boys, in fact :) and this episode we demonstrate it once again by interviewing Matt Hall and hanging out with some more fans at the Flight Experience Melbourne Facebook fan page open night in their 737 flight simulator. Seems we’re not the only ones who think a publically accessible 737 simulator is a great thing :)

Here’s how this episode flows:

As usual, our theme music track is “YouNameIt5″ by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5) and our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com.

PCDU Episode 23: Australia: A TSA free zone (for now)

Even down here in Australia we’re being impacted by the out-of-control antics of the TSA, so what the heck, we’ll have a bit of a c’est la vent moment about it. We also have our usual opinionated discussion on some other news items and chat with Shashank Nigam from SimpliFlying.

Here’s how the show proceeds:

As usual, our theme music track is “YouNameIt5″ by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5) and our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com.