PCDU Episode 118: Can you fly to NatFly 2014?

Just to be different, this episode Steve joins ATC Ben on a BenAir flight from Essendon (YMEN) to Temora (YTEM) to attend the NatFly 2014 event. With the Cirrus SR20′s autopilot keeping them on track, Captain Ben & FO Steve introduce the show before opening up their packed lunches. Sadly, Sierra Juliette Alpha (VH-SJA) did not include a flight attendant so they had to arrange their own drinks.

BenAir's VH-SJA after arriving at Temora (YTEM)

BenAir’s VH-SJA after arriving at Temora (YTEM)

Meanwhile, as you may have heard on a recent Australia Desk Segment, Grant was flying hot air balloons in Leeton, about 60 nautical miles south west of Temora. While Steve & Ben were at NatFly & recording a few interviews, Grant managed to corner a pilot for a chat in Leeton.

This episode unfolds with the following content:

  • 0:03:54 - Paul Goard from Brumby Aircraft Australia (based in Cowra, New South Wales) talks about their high-wing aircraft, the change to the Rotax engine and their production schedule.
     
  • 0:08:49 - Robin Lowe from Lowe Flight (based at Kilcunda, Victoria) talks about the Fresh Breeze XCitor Paratrike which subsequently won the “Best Powered Parachute” award at NatFly 2014.

    It also turns out that Robin is looking for an instructor to join his team so if you’re interested, his contact details are on the website :)
     

  • 0:14:54 - Bob & Marya Phillips at AvTours Australia have been in the aviation tours business since 1989. They talk about the tours they’ve previously run to Oshkosh and their plans for this year’s tour.
     
  • 0:24:57 - Matt Hall from Matt Hall Racing talks about pylon hits, assessing the other competitors, the removal of the knife-edge pass pylons from the Red Bull Air Race‘s track design and his schedule for the next month or two.
     
  • 0:31:31 -
    Grant firing the burners during inflation

    Grant firing the burners during inflation
    (Photo by Greg Maunder Sports Photography)

    Grant catches up with Niall Higgins after another fun morning flying hot air balloons over Leeton. Niall talks about his background in aviation and why he flies fixed wing AND hot air balloons. In addition to flying a Yak52 with the Russian Roolettes, Niall also flies Tiger Moths and he talks about a very special gig on ANZAC Day this year: as part of the lead up to the Great Tiger Moth Air Race, Niall flew one of 4 Tigermoths up Sydney Harbour with WWII veterans on board.

    While we recorded the chat before ANZAC Day, this episode came out a few days after, allowing us to give you this link to an ABC News report on the flight :)
     

  • 0:38:17 - As ATC Ben flies the Sierra Juliet Alpha back to Essendon, he records a NatFly 2014 wrap up with Steve while they were somewhere over Mt Kosciuszko.

VH-SJA parked back at Essendon (YMEN) after the flight

VH-SJA parked back at Essendon (YMEN) after the flight

Balloons flying over Leeton (Grant's in there somewhere :) )

Balloons flying over Leeton
(Grant’s in there somewhere :) )

PCDU Episode 116: High Performances

After a break due to injuries, surgery & a wedding, we’re back on deck and our first episode for 2014 is packed with Down Under aviation goodness :)

From Matt Hall & the return of the Red Bull Air Race to flying in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne

From Matt Hall & the return of the Red Bull Air Race to flying in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne

From Matt Hall and the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race to our media flight in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne to promote the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show, this episode really got us exited for the year ahead.

Our first episode for 2014 unfolds as:

  • Steve & Grant chat about surgery, a wedding and some recent media publicity after a couple of unusual hot air balloon landings in Melbourne
     
  • 0:12:35 – We chat with Matt Hall about the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race and get lots of great info about the changes to the race itself, his new team, how they’ve been preparing and the telemetry system he’s using.
     
    Is ATC Ben excited or nervous to be on the C130J media flight? :)

    Is ATC Ben excited or nervous to be on the C130J media flight? :)

     
    Steven Pam is clearly excited to be on the C130J media flight :)

    Steven Pam is clearly excited to be on the C130J media flight :)

  • 0:46:20 – Steven Pam & ATC Ben got to represent PCDU at a recent RAAF C130J media flight over Melbourne to promote the Centenary of Military Aviation air show at Pt Cook on March 1st & 2nd. In the process they recorded the following content:
    • Air Commodore Phil Byrne (RAAF’s Head of Special Events) talking about the historical significance of Pt Cook and the RAAF’s preparations for their Centenary of Military Aviation air show
       
    • David Gardner (Director, RAAF Museum) talks about the Bristol Boxkite replica
       
    • Flight lieutenant Matt Fleet, an RAF C130J pilot on exchange with the RAAF
       
    • Sergeant Greg Milne, an RAAF C130J loadmaster
       
      The view of Melbourne from a RAAF C130J's ramp

      The view of Melbourne from a RAAF C130J’s ramp

       
      Even the RAAF are getting into the GoPro action for this flight :)

      Even the RAAF are getting into the GoPro action for this flight :)

  • We have some announcements:
    • PCDU will be at the Tyabb Airshow 2014 (A Salute to Veterans) on Sunday, March 9th and are looking forward to catching up with any of you who can be there
       
    • We want your stories, especially “grass roots” content and, as Steve Riley wrote in about, more “stories about flying”
       
  • The view from the C130J's cockpit is spectacular, even without another aircraft in close formation

    The view from the C130J’s cockpit is spectacular, even without another aircraft in close formation

    We have some shout outs:
    • Thanks to Steve’s surgical staff for doing his knee reconstruction, including Mr Eden Raleigh, Dr Peter Larkins & Dr Joshua Hoppe from the Epworth Hospital
       
    • Thanks to Pieter Johnson & David Vanderhoof for the long-distance support from around the world to help Steve get through some difficult times
       
    • Steve wants to thank Grant & the rest of the PCDU team for helping out with the Australia Desk episodes while he was recovering
       
    • Thanks to the Hangar 49 & Aviation Xtended podcasts for being brave enough to let Grant join them when recording their latest episodes (Hangar 49′s “G’Day Mate”Aviation Xtended’s “Plane Crazy”)
       
    • Good luck to Dave Gray (formerly from the Lifestyle PodNetwork) who is currently battling melanoma
       
    • Thanks to the RAAF for inviting us to attend the C130J media flight
       
    • Twitter user 555UHZ is posting the movie Top Gun as a series of frames (with subtitles), one every half hour or so. Now that’s dedication! :)
       

Here’s the video Steven Pam put together following the C130J media flight:

PCDU Episode 101: Avalon 2013 – Day One

Steve & Grant with Matt Hall at Avalon 2013It’s been a good start to the Avalon 2013 Airshow with Team PCDU recording a few interviews and setting up their schedule for the rest of the week. For our first day’s coverage we present:

  • Grant talks with John McCormick (Director of Flight Safety at CASA) about his military & airline experience, flying his Yak50 and how that all links into managing CASA.
  • Steven Pam talks to Mal Hurman about the Eclipse 500 at the Air Show, and to Heath Okely from Airflite about the new Eclipse 550 they are marketing.
  • Matt Hall talks to Grant about his Avalon 2013 display routine
  • Timbo’s Tarmac
  • In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf

PCDU Episode 100: The Ton

Our 100th Episode – a Ton of great content

When we began producing this show WAY back in July 2009, we had no idea that we’d make it to 100 episodes, have travelled to multiple events within Australia, been to Oshkosh and be just about to cover a second Avalon Airshow with a bigger team than ever before. We’ve learned so much about producing a quality & enjoyable aviation show, had aviation related experiences we never dreamed of, dabbled with video production and even spun off a few side-projects for other shows. We’re also very appreciative of you, our audience. The fact that you’re all still here with us, telling us what we’re getting right (& wrong :) ) and enjoying the results of our efforts makes the late nights all worth while.

For this episode we’ve resisted the temptation to do a retrospective or rehash earlier content (except for a bit at the start & the end of the episode :) ). Instead, we’ve put together some interviews with well known people about a couple of up-coming events and a discussion about the dreaded Biennial Flight Review (BFR), now known as an Aeroplane Flight Review (AFR).

Here’s how Episode 100 unfolds:

  • 0:06:09 – Grant talks a little about his recent trip to Malaysia as a guest of Malaysia Airlines
     
  • 0:11:54 – ATC Ben talks about the proposed new Australian ATC Management system called oneSky with Lockheed Martin being demonstrating their SkyLine Enterprise system as a contender
     
  • 0:15:46 – We chat with Peter Meehan about his career as a RAAF Reserve media officer, doing air show commentary, being the “Voice of Avalon” and even learning to fly
     
  • Paul McKeown is a CFI with Recreational Flying Company in Gympie, QLD

    0:35:48 – Damien Rose talks about his recent Aeroplane Flight Review (AFR) that was previously referred to as the Biennial Flight Review (BFR). He then interviews Paul McKeown, CFI with Recreational Flying Company in Gympie, QLD & his instructor for the AFR
     
  • 1:19:14 – Matt Hall joins us once again to discuss a few things he’s working on including a day-long fly past of aircraft from Super Hornets to Tiger Moths as part of the Bicentennial celebrations for the first crossing of the Blue Mountains in Sydney. He also chats about his new book (The Sky is Not the Limit) and gives us an updated on whether the RedBull AirRace will ever return
     
  • 1:58:19 – We return to summarise the episode and review a few of the key points
     
  • 2:01:34 – Listener mail!
    • David Neafsey sent us a letter and a 100th birthday card – all via snail mail! Yes, remember that? Good thing we have a snail mail address, eh? (PO Box 70, Cranbourne VIC 3977)
    • Ian Kershaw from Calgary sent in an audio message
    • Steve at Warneet asks us to organise an interview with Judy Pay
    • “Mick from the Frankston Line” has sent us a number of great emails that have been a LOT of fun to read. Awesome stuff, mate!
    • Ryan Hothersall writes in to express his disdain of NIMBYS. No argument from us on that one!
    • We give a Shout Out to Carl Valeri from the Stuck Mic Avcast for gaining his A320 type rating! Well done, mate! :)
       
  • 2:10:57 – Steve’s wife Cathey finally joins us on the podcast and, of all events, it’s to help with the drawing of the winner of our “First to 750″ competition. The lucky winner is Gary Murphy who has scored himself a free Trial Introductory Flight with Aus Air Services at Tooradin (YTDN). WOO HOO! :)
     

So there you go, our 100th episode! Thanks to all our supporters for keeping us motivated and lets see how many of you are able to make it to Avalon 2013 :)

NOTE: Check out the blooper reel: It’s a quick montage of glitches from the past four years including our Australia Desk and Flying Down Under shows.

PCDU Episode 96: “Serge” – An Australian Top Gun

Serge’s “Fighter Pilot” book cover

It takes a special breed to push an F18 out to the edge of the envelope, fly missions ranging from surface attack to dog fights and then blow off steam with your squadron mates. It’s certainly not Top Gun but it does make amazing fodder for a book that highlights the good, the bad and the crazy.

Just such a book has been written by ‘Mac “Serge” Tucker‘ and it’s called “Fighter Pilot: mis-adventures beyond the sound barrier with an Australian Top Gun

Steve & Grant chat to “Serge” about being a fighter pilot, flying & partying hard, blowing off steam and dealing with bureaucrats. We also cover:

  • The size of the fighter community in Australia and the camaraderie that has developed among them
  • The mentoring that occurs within the community covering both technical & behavioural aspects of being a fighter pilot
  • The interaction of fighter pilots with pilots from other parts of the RAAF
  • Serge’s career progressing from high school through basic training in the CT4, progression to the Aermacchi MB 326H (the Macchi) and on to the F18 via a stint on the Nomad.
  • Wing Commander Ross Fox’s influence as Serge’s mentor and the impact of his death in an F18 mid-air collision
  • Serge’s thoughts on the Australian Army & Royal Australian Navy
  • Working with the fighter pilots from the USA & comparing USA pilots with RAAF pilots
  • Old timer stories and their influence on current procedures
  • RAAF exchange pilots flying F15s & F22s with the USAF
  • The F35 JSF and its issues with kinematics
  • Drones and their use in the military environment
  • How the military have missed out on changing their operations & equipment to deal better with the Middle East environment & the modern political power dynamics
  • Serge’s love of hang gliding
  • Transitioning from being a fighter pilot to being an airline pilot
  • His final flight: a one-on-one dogfight with Matt Hall

PCDU Episode 85: Tyabb Air Show 2012 & ATC Ben Answers Your Questions

P51 at TyabbAfter a long break from the show, Ben Ippolito (aka ATC BenATCBen.PCDU@gmail.com) returns in this packed episode to tell us about getting current again, wrap up the Tyabb airshow and answer some of your ATC questions. We also bring on a new sponsor (OzRunways) who helped us get to the recent Parafield airshow (more on that in a later episode).

We start by chatting with Ben about the steps he took to regain currency after spending a few years focussing on becoming an Air Traffic Controller. After this, we move into our Tyabb Airshow content:

  • 08:32 – Peter Bernardi & John Brett from the Peninsula Aero Club discuss the history of the show, the challenges in making it happen (the paperwork!), their involvement in the show and their aviation histories
  • 22:46 – Grant chats with Paul Bennett from MaxxG Aerobatics about his aviation background, winning aerobatic competitions, flying his Pitts Special and flying warbirds
  • 29:37 – Jim & Jenny Wickham talk to Grant about their 3/4 scale P51s & the latest news in Wicko’s world
  • 34:56 – Scott Taberner talks about flying his 1941 Ryan ST3-KR & his flying history
  • 39:44 – Mark Pracy from JetRide Australia gives us an update on the 2012 race, his perspective on the Reno crash and their expanding fleet of L39s & their new Glasair
  • 47:51 – Doug Thomas talks about the Pelican Amphibian, a Russian designed seaplane and the only one in Australia
  • 53:22 – Squadron Leader Adrian Burge talks about the CT4
  • 57:29 – Peter Clements & Steve Death tell us about the history of the Southern Knights
  • 61:04 – Guy Bourke talks to us about flying the T6 Harvard (or Texan if you’re from the USA :), the P51, the Spitfire, the P40 and the Lockheed Hudson as well as which aircraft he dreams of flying
  • 67:48 – Matt Hall on making it down to Tyabb despite the weather, his recent back surgery, how his routine has modified since Avalon, his first aircraft vs car race, his new projects for 2012 & his rotary license
  • 79:46 – Tim Connell returns to reprise his Timbo’s Tarmac sessions from Avalon 2011
  • 81:13 – Peter Bernardi – post show

Following all this great content, Steve, Grant & Ben review their experiences & highlights of the Tyabb show then at 88:42 Ben answers a few ATC questions that have come in:

  • Handling emergencies
  • Who decides whether an airport is closed
  • Who decides runway configurations during operations

Big thanks to Allan VP, ATC Ben, Steven Pam & Chris for their help on the day at Tyabb.

Notes:
* The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3
* Cover art by Chris Visscher & David Vanderhoof

PCDU Episode 75: Talking Aerobatics with Anthony Crichton-Browne

Today we’re joined by Anthony Crichton-Browne, a commercial airline pilot who also likes to take his Pitts Special out for a spin (and a few other fun manoeuvres :) In addition to chatting with Anthony, we also run a chat with Grant Piper (President of the Australian Aerobatic Club) about Australia’s recent involvement in the World Aerobatic Championship, discuss aerobatics in general and also have a chat about the recent horrific tragedy at Reno Air Races where the highly modified P51 “Galloping Ghost” lost control and plowed into specators.

We start off by hanging out with Anthony and talking about his career in aviation and more, including:

  • He has an older brother who’s also a pilot
  • He’s from Western Australia, learning to fly at Jandakot in Perth
  • He did the usual hour building & quickly found himself in a Cessna 310 then on to First Officer on a Brasillia before stepping up to Second Officer on 747-400, after which he proceeded to his current gig as First Officer on a 767
  • Anthony started flying aerobatics with friends and also scored a flight with Matt Hall
  • His aerobatic training really kicked in with a Pitts and he now has his own Pitts
  • We talk about G-Tolerance, G-LOC and beating the effects of high-G manoeuvres
  • We discuss the recent tragic accident at the Reno Air Races, including the NTSB’s preliminary report & talk further the effects of pulling-G’s
  • A discussion about stalls that leads into how advanced training really helps dispel some of the many myths, how the stall stick position works and standard GFPT training vs advanced training by groups like Red Baron in Sydney (Hi Joel! :)

You can find Anthony on his Flying Ant Online website as well as following him on Twitter where he’s known as AntCB.

We then move into the interview that Steve & Anthony recorded with Grant Piper, the President of the Australian Aerobatics Club, featuring:

  • An overview of aerobatic manoeuvre’s
  • How aerobatic competitions are managed & scored
  • Australia’s return to the World Aerobatic Championship
  • How to improve the standard in Australia with coaching by current champs
  • Grant’s career in aviation including his start in the RAAF
  • The benefits of including aeros in primary training

We then return to a chat with Anthony about:

  • The challenges of flying competition aerobatics
  • Standard aerobatic figures (loop, cuban-8, etc)
  • How scoring each manoeuvre starts at 10 points then deducts points for any errors
  • How it all has to look right from the ground
  • The issues in dealing with wind & power
  • What is the aerobatic box
  • Types of propeller blades and their benefits (blade numbers, sizes, etc)

Finally we start to wrap it up with some listener mail:

  • Ian Allen from New Zealand sent us some great ideas for more Kiwi Content
  • Errol Cavit points us at a possible Kiwi aviation podcast
  • Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page and our forums on Downwind

We then wind up with some shout outs:

PCDU Episode 56: Avalon Quick Cast #3

It’s time once again for the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (aka Avalon 2011) and Team PCDU are there to arrange interviews with people & organisations that catch our eye. On the third day of the show we have been particularly busy interviewing aircrew, maintainers and other folks on site, frequently while sitting in their aircraft. The content we selected for this Quick Cast includes:

  • Catching up with Matt Hall to discuss the new show he’s performing at Avalon in his MXS-R (it’s choreographed to music) and how he’s filling his days without the Red Bull Air Race being around
  • An interview with a USAF F22 Raptor pilot and maintainer while standing on the tarmac as close as we were allowed to get to their aircraft
  • Today’s updates from Timbo & Papa Smurf on movements at the Warbird and Keyhole tarmacs

These Avalon Quick Cast episodes are being sponsored by Aviation Advertiser and supported by Red Baron and Temby Automotive.

PCDU Episode 47: Bull Me!

The 2010 RedBull AirRace season was exciting, eventful and disappointing all at once. From Adilson Kindleman’s crash in Perth to Hannes Arch’s pylon hit and Matt Hall’s “walk on water” incident, G-Stalls were everywhere. Then came the news that the last two races were cancelled and, finally, that the whole 2011 season was cancelled. As if the end of the season wasn’t bad enough, we were all stunned by the news that Alejandro Maclean had died in an aerobatic training accident.

We have already presented our “End of Season” chats with Hannes Arch and Matt Hall in previous episodes so in this one, we present our chats with Nigel Lamb and Pete McLeod.

We also officially announce the winners of our Flight City Simulator Centre B777 sim session prize (Graham Neal) and two runners up (Greg Spencer & David Mitchell), both of whom win PCDU T-Shirts.

We talk briefly about Qantas’ recent 90th Birthday event at Melbourne airport and play the quick chat we recorded with Juan Serrano, John Travolta’s chief pilot.

After another View from the Lounge segment, this time paying tribute to those serving in the military, we dive into our mailbag:

  • Steve Horton form Perth is worried that the RedBull AirRace will never return to Perth and lets us know about his great photo site
  • Peter Baxter wrote in asking about jet engine technology and again to share a great story about an Air New Zealand DC10 that helped a ferry flight in trouble over the Pacific
  • “brettkp” has some great feedback about episode 46 in our forums on Downwind

We give a shout-out to Pieter Johnson (@NascotHornet) in the UK who has just become a very proud father: welcome Beatrice :)

PCDU Episode 45: Keeping it to Scale

It’s been a while since our last episode but at last we’re able to present our latest update with some more great content. First up, Matt Hall joins us once again to look back on his 2010 RedBull AirRace season, discuss the lessons he’s learned and give us his thoughts about 2011 & beyond.

Next up we are proud to introduce our latest advertiser, Flight City Simulator Centre at Jandakot in Perth, with their Boeing 777 simulator. We chat with Richard Zandvliet, the CEO at Flight City, about their various simulators, the courses they can offer for the professional pilot and the packages they have for the general public. Richard also makes a generous offer of a one-hour flight package in the 777 simulator that we can give away on the show (see below).

While Grant’s been able to go flying in some full sized aircraft (check out the photos on our Facebook page), Steve’s been catching up with some slightly smaller aircraft. He’s been out to the Victorian Scale Aircraft Association’s state championships and interviewed John Lamont, Noel Whitehead & David Law from the Packenham & District Aircraft Radio Control Society.

Finally, we wind up the episode some mailbag & shout-outs:

NOTE: We had some additional content from our Matt Hall interview that was no longer current so we’ve moved it from the episode to our Extras collection. You can find it at our “Extras” page.

Competition: Win a one hour flight package with Flight City Simulator Center’s Boeing 777 simulator

Just listen to this episode to hear a jingle from the past. If you know who owned that jingle, send us an email at planecrazydownunder@gmail.com telling us who you think it was. We’ll draw the winner live on uStream in the near future.