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 119: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: The RAAF Approach

With Australia’s confirmed purchase of a total of 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Steve & Grant are joined by Andrew McLaughlin from COMINT (Communications Intelligence) to discuss the F-35 and its operation within the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). We also feature a number of great interviews with Lockheed Martin staff and an in-depth discussion with Air Vice Marshall Kym “Koz” Osley regarding the work required to integrate the F35 into the RAAF.

F-35A, B & C models (Image supplied by Lockheed Martin)

F-35A, B & C models
(Image supplied by Lockheed Martin)

After an introductory discussion on the F35 between Andrew, Steve & Grant, this episode features:

  • 0:09:49 – Excerpts from the press conference held at RAAF Base Pt Cook in March 2014 where AVM Kym Osley discussed the F35 purchase and Deputy Chief of Air Force (DCAF) AVM Leo Davies introduced the first two RAAF pilots to go to the USA for F35 training: SQN LDR David “Belly” Bell & SQN LDR Andrew “Jacko” Jackson.
     
  • 0:13:19 – Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn talks to us about his career from a Canadian F18 pilot seeing combat in Kosovo to a test pilot on the Eurofighter Typhoon and on to the F35.
     
    Australia's first two F35 pilots: SQN LDR Andrew 'Jacko' Jackson & SQN LDR David 'Belly' Bell

    Australia’s first two F35 pilots:
    SQN LDR Andrew ‘Jacko’ Jackson & SQN LDR David ‘Belly’ Bell

  • 0:23:17 – Graham Bentley is ex-RAAF and the Lockheed Martin Business Development Manager in Australia. We talk to him about his career from flying P3 Orions to commanding the Australian Forces in the Middle East and on to his role as Air Attache in Washington, USA. He also discusses LockMart’s preparations to bring the F35 to Australia and the technologies it’ll bring with it.
     
  • 0:32:42 – Steven L Over, Lockheed Martin’s Director of F-35 International Business Development, talks to us about component manufacturing being undertaken within Australia.
     
  • 0:40:44 – Billie Flynn returns to talk with Grant in more detail regarding the F-35’s new high-tech helmet.
     
    Billie Flynn running Steve through the cockpit of the F35

    Billie Flynn running Steve through the cockpit of the F35

  • 0:52:39 – Grant catches up with AVM Kym “Koz” Osley for an in-depth discussion on the work involved in bringing the F-35 into the RAAF, including infrastructure construction at airports, staffing & training, support equipment and perhaps the most complex part of the F-35’s support environment: Autonomic Logistics Information System (aka “ALIS”)
     
  • 1:52:49 – We wrap up the episode with a further discussion between Andrew, Steve & Grant on the F-35 aircraft, the program and the potential for Australia to operate the F-35B on our new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships (gotta use that ski-ramp, right?)

Grant gets to check out the F-35 cockpit. Fortunately it has burners, just like his hot air balloon :)

Grant gets to check out the F-35 cockpit. Fortunately it has burners, just like a hot air balloon :)



 

Cover image thanks to Lockheed Martin

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