PCDU Episode 95: Northern Exposure

Episode 95 Cover Art

Steve & Grant go north of Melbourne thanks to the aid of some members of Team PCDU, both current & new. First up we tag along with ATC_Ben on his visit to Oshkosh 2012, discussing his journey there & listening to a few of the interviews he recorded (yes, we’re still jealous we couldn’t get there!). We then introduce long-time listener Damien Rose who’s joining us as our Queensland correspondent & lives about 2,000km north of PCDU HQ. Finally, we play a few of the interviews Steve & Grant recorded at Oshkosh 2011 to help us feel a bit better about not being there this year (nope, still jealous! :)

The whole episode unfolds as:

  • 0:02:05 – We chat with ATC_Ben about his US trip and being at Oshkosh 2012
     
  • ATC_Ben channelling Dan “Seat Pitch” Webb

  • ATC_Ben’s Oshkosh interviews:
    • 0:12:47 – Malcolm Savill at Classic Aviation Designs discusses their timber-construction Cubflyer CA18 kitset & Dick Sybrandy from Auroa Helicopters discusses their two seat turbine-powered microlight helicopter
    • 0:22:46 – Peter Maloney from Composite Helicopters International talks about the ongoing development & flight testing of their kitset composite turbine-powered helicopter
    • 0:26:20 – Shaun Mitchell from Kiwi Propellers talks about their high-performance propellers
    • 0:32:16 – Glen Towler (@NZAircraftFan) is a listener from New Zealand has a quick chat about drinking from the Oshkosh firehose
    • 0:35:11 – Matthew Hassall from GippsAero & Elizabeth from Groom Aviation talk about the increased recognition the GA8 is getting in the USA these days
       
  • 0:42:39 – We wrap up the interviews with ATC_Ben
     
  • Ben wishing he could be flying the A6 Intruder

  • 0:44:35 – Damien Rose (OzFlyBoy) joins us give us an update on his aviation activities since last we had him on the show and officially join us as our Queensland reporter
     
  • We run a few recordings from our time at Oshkosh 2011:
    • 1:14:37 – George Morgan, co-founder of GippsAero talks about the history of the company, the development of the GA8, Mahindra Corporation & future directions
    • 1:23:26 – Karthik Krishnamurty of Mahindra Aerospace talks about Mahindra, why they purchased GippsAero & future directions
    • 1:28:15 – Rod Rakic talks about flying the GA8 with the Civil Air Patrol
       
  • 1:31:49 – We wrap up the Oshkosh 2011 interviews & talk some more about GippsAero
     
  • 1:34:28 – Listener Mail:
    • Steve Davis at Warneet tells us about his attempts at learning to fly & asks about how ultralights fit into the Australian airspace
    • Brian Judd from Kentucky was wrapped when we read out his email previously and has come back with a new question: can we get RC Cola here?
       
  • 1:42:17 – Shout Outs:
    • Aus Air Services are hosting the Tooradin Open Day on December 1st
    • Matt Hall Racing will be offering adventure flights at the Open Day
    • Thromby Air‘s art department have done it again with more PCDU cartoons and have even spun off into apparel at Fighter Jox
    • Caboolture Warplane Museum are having their Antique Day on November 18th
       

    How Allan kept us running at AusFly

  • 1:50:07 – We talk to ATC_Ben about the new Flightplan 2012 changes being introduced by AirServices
     
  • More Shoutouts:

PCDU Episode 83: Replicate This!

PCDU Episode 83: Replicate This!

Image supplied by Project 2014

Aviation has a rich & storied history with over 100 years separating our current complex, high speed & long range aircraft from those produced of wood, metal & fabric during our fledgling beginnings as we first pushed into the sphere of powered, heavier than air flight.

While grainy photos & stuttering films can try to convey a vista of the past, there is nothing like being able to walk around, touch & examine the aircraft as they were. You can truly appreciate how far we have come (and how brave our pioneers were) when you can see an aircraft from 100 years ago in the foreground while behind it sits a modern combat fighter.

Eugene Ely launches from USS Birmingham (US Navy photo)

In some cases preservation of these original machines has been possible, but in many instances there is only one example of the type which is kept on static display in a museum. The ability to get up close is often limited and there are very few that can actually be flown, allowing you to see how it handled & hear it as it flies past.

Enter the replica builders. Dedicated men & women who have a dream of recreating the past so we can enjoy it today. Spending months & years researching a specific aircraft type (or even a single example), hunting through archives to find plans, drawings, specifications & photos. Sometimes going to great lengths to use materials, colours & techniques that were in use when the original was flying. Agonising over changes required to allow a replica to actually fly with some level of safety. Painstakingly creating components, building sections and assembling them into the completed aircraft.

Boxkite at Pt Cook (RAAF Museum Archive, via Project 2014)

Often unappreciated by many, even within the aviation industry, it is thanks to their hard work that aviation’s pioneering beginnings can be preserved & displayed. We have been fortunate enough to meet a few replica builders and this show brings together a few of them to talk about their aircraft.

 

Bristol Military Boxkite:

We start by talking with Geoff Matthews who has been the primary builder of the Bristol Military Boxkite at the RAAF Museum in Point Cook. The Boxkite was the first aircraft to fly at Point Cook on March 1st, 1913 and “Project 2014” is producing a flying replica in time for the centenary celebrations in 2014.

With Ron Gretton AM working as project manager & arranging the many sponsors required to help fund the project, Geoff has built the aircraft and they are now arranging the paperwork necessary to allow the flight testing programme to commence.

You can learn more about this project at the Project 2014 website.

BE2a:

Following our chat with Geoff, we moved around the hangar a bit to meet Andrew Willox who is scratch building a BE2a replica from the original plans. The BE2a joined the Boxkite and a Deperdussin as the first aircraft available for military aviation at Point Cook in 1913. The museum already has a Deperdussin replica and Andrew’s efforts on the BE2a will ensure that all three types will be represented at the centenary in 2014.

The level of care & detail that Andrew is putting into this non-flying replica is fantastic, potentially producing an aircraft that exceeds the quality of those produced back in the early 1900s.

Andrew talks to us about the history of the BE2 in general, how he has gone about building the replica and the decisions he’s had to make to ensure it remains accurate to the original.

Farnborough:

We also had a chat with Richard Gardner, Chairman of the Trustees at the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST). With a history of aviation knowledge going back to the original Balloon School and Army Engineers experimenting with various forms of aviation, FAST seeks to preserve Farnborough’s contribution to the development of aviation. Focusing on the scientific developments that have brought aviation to where it is today, the Trust helped supply a number of the plans & diagrams for the BE2a replica project.

Curtis Pusher:

Eugene Ely Curtis Pusher Replica (photo supplied by Bob C & Andrew K)

Back when we were at Oshkosh 2011, David Vanderhoof & Grant caught up with Bob Coolbaugh, the builder & pilot of a replica of the Curtis Pusher flown by Eugene Ely. Together with Andrew King who also flies the replica, they talk about Ely becoming the first person to land an aircraft on a ship & then take off again, an act that eventually lead to naval aviation as we currently know it.

We also discuss the handling characteristics of the replica and how Eugene & Andrew are flying it to air shows around the USA rather than shipping it, covering subjects such as tracking the aircraft, talking with ATC and flying into the Washington ADIZ.

Barnstorming Movie and the Wright Brothers:

After talking about the Curtis Pusher, Bob departs & Paul Glenshaw joins Andrew to talk with us about the Barnstorming Movie that Paul and a friend have produced. The movie captures Andrew & some pilot friends flying old aircraft to a gathering in the USA’s rural midwest that has been going on for a number of years around the time of Oshkosh.

The aircraft land in a field belonging to Matt Dirksen, a farmer who has been hosting the event for over 10 years. People from the surrounding area come bringing food and a great home-cooked meal is provided while aircraft fly “competitions” such as ribbon cutting, flour bombing & more.

After discussing Barnstorming, Andrew leaves and we spend some time talking to Paul about a movie he has reassembled from historical footage that shows the Wright Brothers at Fort Myer for the US Army’s speed & distance trials. This film is significant as it is the only one showing both Wilbur & Orville together as well as capturing Orville’s first flights since his recovery after the 1908 crash in which Thomas Selfridge became the first person to die in a powered-aircraft crash.

PCDU Episode 73: Oshkosh: The Greatest Show on Earth

Today Steve & Grant are chatting with Bas Scheffers, reviewing their experiences at EAA‘s AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. We talk about the long haul across the Pacific via V Australia 777 and Qantas A380, arriving in Chicago on their hottest day in 10 years and then hanging out with Rob Mark, his family and his ever watchful guard dog Simba (aka Steve’s new friend & house cat :)

From here Bas & Grant got to join the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group and fly from Rockford up to Oshkosh on the Saturday, landing on RWY 36 where even two days before the official opening, the aircraft parking spaces were filling up and the airport was a hive of activity. On the Sunday Rob, David Vanderhoof, Dan Web, Steve and his friend Mike all arrived having driven up from Chicago. Joining our friends at Firebase MyTransponder / Camp Bacon we set up the tent and settled into life in Camp Scholler, which is definitely something to be experienced at least once (& perhaps only once :)

Until we left on the Sunday at the end of the show, we were flat out experiencing the amazing sights, sounds & people that make up Oshkosh. We discuss the highlights and talk about trying to take it all in before winding up by reviewing our departure, our returns to Australia (including Steve’s flight with Milford from the FlightTime Radio show) and then our post-Oshkosh thoughts.

Titan II Control CentreFollowing this we have a recording Steve & Grant made with Rob Mark (also from CommAvia as well as JetWhine and the Airplane Geeks) before Steve presents an interview he recorded with Bill & Earlene Hankins about Bill’s time in Strategic Air Command. Titan II Launch Control PanelTowards the end of Bill’s time with SAC he was a commander of a Titan Missile complex. While some of the chat can be like watching the movies Strategic Air Command or Gathering of Eagles, his descriptions of the Titan’s launch environment are very much like those shown at the start of the movie WarGames.

Typical Titan II Launch ComplexIt also turns out that Bill and Earlene hosted Steve when he was an exchange student and then again when he returned to the USA to complete his US pilot’s licenses and instrument ratings. Titan II Combat Crew in ActionThe interview includes some discussion about N4223Q, a C172L Bill used to own and Steve got to fly a lot.

Steve's Favourite C172After all this we have a chat with Bas about the OzRunways app then mention Ryan Hothersall’s photos of the 787 and Rob Noonan’s heads up about the Australian aerobatic pilots who are getting ready for the World Aerobatic Championships in Italy later this year.Steve's favourite C172 tied down at its home base

PCDU Episode 72: Oshcast #3 – Hugging your Roo

As all good things must come to an end, so too must our time at Oshkosh 2011. It’s been an incredible event for us and an eye-opener to just how large this Mecca of all things aviation truly is. With our final day at the show, we’ve produced a chunky episode packed full of *some* of the content we picked up here. There’s still more to come in subsequent episodes including a focus on the teams on site from New Zealand, the Bonanzas to Oshkosh group and GippsAero.

For now, here’s a list of what you’ll find in episode 72: Oshcast #3 (Hugging your Roo):

After all this, we wrap up the show with a discussion between Steve, Grant, Bas, David & Mike, closing off our on-show coverage of Oshkosh 2011.

PCDU Episode 71: AirVenture 2011 – Oshcast #2

We’re still here at Oshkosh and working hard despite heat, humidity, rain, storms and sore feet. There’s something about being at the greatest aviation event in the world & surrounded by over 10,000 aircraft that makes all those hassles fade away :)

While the only way to really appreciate & experience Oshkosh is to be here, we’re still trying to do our best to give you some feel for what it’s like to be here:

PCDU Episode 70: AirVenture 2011 – Oshcast #1

Steve & Grant are at Oshkosh along with Bas Scheffers, David Vanderhoof and a large number of other aviation podcasters, swimming in the sea of aviation that is AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Grant & Bas have been here since Saturday while Steve & David arrived on Sunday. We’ve recorded with the Airplane Geeks, producing an episode with Peter Moll (director of Wittman Regional Airport@wittmanairport on Twitter) recorded in his office.

Today was the first full day we were all here and also the first official day of the show. We’ve started gathering content and have assembled some items together to create our first show episode:

  • Steve reconnects with Kent Pietsch who we last spoke to back at Avalon earlier this year (in Episode 6 of our show daily coverage)
  • David interviews Brandon with his Super Cub
  • Bas records some chats with folks in the light-sport (Recreational) area:
  • Steve talks with Pablo Alvarez about international pilot admissions at Embry Riddle University

We then wrap up the episode with a group discussion featuring Dave Allen, Bill Williams, Kent Shook, Pilot Damon, Stu Stevenson & David Vanderhoof.

Our Oshkosh 2011 Coverage (Oshcasts 1, 2 & 3 and Beyond)

AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 was an incredible experience for the team from PCDU, one that we’re all still getting over. There was so much to do & see and so many wonderful people to meet, naturally we weren’t able to do all we would have liked to. One of the tasks we had that fell by the wayside in the rush was putting out daily updates. Maybe if Grant could have found some RedBull on site, they might have made it out each day :)

Now that we’re back in Australia, we’re being kept pretty busy catching up with our families, getting back on top of everything at our “day jobs” and working through all the content we’ve gathered. It’s going to take a few months to get it all completed, but we’re working on it as best we can :)

You can find the daily reports in our PCDU Commentaries blog as we’ll be creating an Oshkosh 2011 Summary page as we did for Avalon 2011. For now, we have a few of the daily reports completed and loading episodes featuring the additional Oshkosh content we’ve not already released.

Daily Blog Reports:
Day 1 – Getting there isn’t always the best part!
Day 2 – Rockford Bonanza
Day 3 – Arrival en Mass

Audio Episodes:
Oshcast #1
Oshcast #2
Oshcast #3 (Hugging Your Roo)
Episode 73:Oshkosh:The Greatest Show on Earth

What do you want from Oshkosh 2011?

It is our intention to cover Oshkosh from a “down under” perspective to the best of our ability. We’ll be looking for the Aussie/Kiwi angle from attendees to volunteers to businesses to government agencies. We plan to produce three episodes during the week of the show and provide constant coverage on our home page, at Aviation Advertiser and through various social media portals. This will include a mixture of audio, video and photographs, presented with the aim of giving you a genuine feel for the spectacle that is AirVenture 2011. As was the case with our Avalon 2011 coverage, we anticipate several follow up episodes featuring additional content after the event. Steve will also be travelling to Arkansas, the place where he completed the bulk of his flight training, to collect interviews with some of the people that influenced his passion for aviation.

We would like to offer our audience the chance to give us some indications of what you’d like to see, hear and (virtually) experience about Oshkosh while we’re over there. By posting your own comments on our updates, you can give us some direction and we’ll try to come through for you if we can.

Joining us at Oshkosh will be Bas Scheffers and David Vanderhoof as well as Mike Wilson who is going to help us with transport, camera and other technical work. We’ve received some amazing sponsorship from Pracy Racing and Jetride Australia who have covered our airfares to Chicago and back (thanks guys!!!! :) while Aviation Advertiser is chipping in to help cover a lot of the accommodation and food costs while we’re there. This has helped immensely but we’re still going to be out of pocket a rather large amount and we’d like to chip in some $$$ to say THANKS to our friends who’ll be helping us while they’re there.

If you’d like to help ensure we can get the coverage you want to hear, feel free to chip in some $$$ via the DONATE button on our home page. We’ve already received a few “Go hard!” packages from friends and every little bit helps. The more we get the more chances we have of being able to run around & pump out the content you want to hear, read & see.

As always, we are not entirely comfortable asking our audience for donations, however, this is a huge undertaking which may exceed the generous funding levels of our wonderful sponsors. In this unique instance, we ask you to consider the substantial effort we put into this programme, entirely on our own time, and give away each month at no cost. We believe our product compares favourably to monthly print publications, yet for less than the cost of a magazine you can help us achieve our goals on your behalf. Your financial assistance for this series of shows would be greatly and humbly appreciated.

We’re really looking forward to this and no matter what, we’re going to bring you along for the ride :)

Meanwhile, here’s the latest animated video from our friends at Thromby Airlines about their foray into online media and podcasters. We hope you enjoy it and recommend you visit their site for more great Thromby Air fun.

We’re going to Oshkosh 2011!

As announced in our latest episode (Episode 67: Team Pracy: Racing, JetRides & Aircraft Imports), Steve & Grant will be going to Oshkosh 2011. YAY!!!! :)

Thanks to a generous offer from Team Pracy (see JetRide Australia, Aircraft Imports and Pracy Racing), we’re going to be at Oshkosh 2011 for the whole week. We’re also picking up some additional sponsorship and assistance from other groups, including the fine folks at Aviation Advertiser, to help cover the costs of setting up camp on site (yes, we’ll be camping on the field in the midst of the action :)

In addition to Steve & Grant, Bas Scheffers will also be at Oshkosh 2011 as he’s had his tickets & plans locked in for a very long time. We’re also going to be joined by David Vanderhoof, our code-sharing historian who also appears on the Airplane Geeks podcast. In fact, for a while we thought Bas & David were going to be the sole PCDU representatives at the show.

Suffice to say we’re very excited to be going and so long as our heads don’t explode with the torrent of aviation joy surrounding us, you can expect to get heaps of Oshkosh content with a Down Under perspective as Plane Crazy Down Under embarks on the “Up & Over to Oshkosh” tour :)