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 51: Pig Out!

In November 2010 the PCDU team were invited to attend the Media Day at RAAF Amberley where members of 6 Squadron were gathered to give us one final look at the F111 before it was retired from service. We have gathered the interviews we recorded during the Media Day and combined them with a couple of discussions to present our tribute to the F111 and all those who helped to keep them in the air.

This is our longest episode to date so you may want to make use of the PAUSE button to get through it all. Like the PIG, it’s big, but we think the content is just too good to leave any of it out. The F111 has been a major part of our lives over the last 30 years in Australia and New Zealand and anyone who has experienced the RAAF’s trademark “Dump & Burn” display will have some idea why we’re so sad to see them go.

From seeing an F111 doing 4-point hesitation rolls, aileron rolls and a loop at Avalon to watching them racing past while sitting on the beach on a summer’s day, the F111 became an icon of Australia’s military as they provided us with a long range projection of power. They leave a large gap in our force structure now that they have been retired and a hole in the hearts of many who kept them flying.

So long, pig and remember: That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do!

The contents of this episode include:

  • The Media Day’s opening press conference (starts at 06:08)
     
  • A discussion with David Vanderhoof about the history of the F111 including its inception and service with the USAF & RAAF (starts at 32:06)
     
  • We talk to Wing Commander Terry Deeth about his time as a bombadier/navigator (or Weapons Systems Officer) with the F111 while on rotation to the USAF (starts at 51:33)
     
  • We visited the F111 simulator on the base and got to meet:
    • Steve Clark, an ex-RAAF F111 pilot who has more hours in an F111 than almost anyone else in the world (starts at 1:05:40)
    • Brett Denton, a computer technician who helps to keep the simulator operating (starts at 1:11:29)
       
  • While everyone likes to focus on the guys in the cockpit, an F111 needs a lot of maintenance between flights so we managed to catch up with a few of the techos:
    • Flight Lieutenant Adam Firth & Sergeant Chris Walker (starts at 1:15:32)
    • Corporal James Morton (starts at 1:30:19)
    • Corporal David Bash, an American now living in Australia (starts at 1:35:50)
       
  • We talk with Flight Lieutenant Vlad Bismark about flying the F111 (starts at 1:47:25)
     
  • We have a chat with Brendan Cowan from ADF Serials about the history of the RAAF’s F111s and with Chris Daley from the Save the F111 page on Facebook about how the page developed and where it’s going now (starts at 1:55:28)
     
  • We interview Wing Commander Al Curr who ejected from an F111 on take off from RNZAF Ohakea in New Zealand (starts at 2:14:12)
     
  • Our final chat is with Wing Commander Michael (Micka) Gray, officer commanding 6 Squadron and the world’s last F111 unit commander (starts at 2:20:42)

We also have a couple of “Shout Outs” in this episode:

  • Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith for her tireless efforts in making the Media Day run smoothly, not to mention herding us about the base and ensuring we didn’t wind up where we shouldn’t be (wonder if there’s a “Keeping media on track” medal in the ADF??? :)
  • Listener Chris Whyte who we met at RAAF Amberley has produced an F111 tribute video called “RAAF F-111 tribute feat. TV Rock – ‘In the Air'” – you can find it on YouTube and it’s well worth watching a few times