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 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 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 80: Farewell 2011 (aka “Tom Cruise wraps my Dolmades” :)

All good things must come to an end and so too must the year 2011. It has been an amazing year of growth for PCDU as we’ve covered Avalon 2011, NatFly 2011 and Oshkosh 2011 along with a number of major events (eg: Qantas grounding) and added some new voices to the team. So as the year draws to a close and 2012 is waiting in the wings,  Steve,  Grant and Anthony  “The Infrequent Flyer”  bring you our Farewell 2011 episode:

  • Steve &  David Vanderhoof discuss the Royal Australian Navy  (RAN)  Sea King helicopters at the time of their decommissioning, developments with the C130 Hercules and a special Christmas greeting from David
  • We chat with Mo Ferrando from High Alpha Media about the Hexacopter and Octocopter units he was displaying for us at Tooradin
  • David Pilkington talks with us about his career in aeronautical engineering and aerobatics
  • David &  Grant go up in David’s Decathlon to fly an aerobatic routine above Tooradin (YTDN) and broadcast the manoeuvres and sensations during the flight
  • Adam Wooley from JoeyGlide chats with us about the National Junior Gliding Championships recently held in Queensland

As usual we have some great listener mail, including:

  • Ryan Hothersall sent us a link to the 2011 STOL competitions – amazing stuff!
  • Congrats to the AirStig who is celebrating the arrival of a new Stigette
  • Thanks to Keane Bourke for his Merry Christmas wishes
  • Thanks also to Garry Collins for his train jargon & congrats for Steve
  • Big shout out to Owen Zupp for his Owen Zupp Author page on Facebook and his new OwenZupp.com.au blog

Given it’s our end of year episode, we have a list of people & groups to thank:

  • Our sponsors over the course of the year:
  • All the listeners who donated to help us cover the costs of being at Oshkosh &  producing the show all year
  • The contributors who have helped us create content for the show:
    • Bas Scheffers
    • Anthony Crichton Browne
    • Kathy Mexted
    • ATC Ben (aka Ben Ippolito)
    • David Vanderhoof
    • Dan Morris
    • Pieter Johnson
    • Anthony Simmons, the Infrequent Flyer
    • Adam Visscher
    • Steven Pam
    • Allan Van’t Padje
    • Mike Wilson who helped us at Oshkosh

We’d also like to say thanks to:

  • AusAir Services
  • Ian Kershaw for his help with the survey
  • James Williams &  Dave Gray from LPN
  • Milford &  Charlie from Flight Time Radio
  • Max Flight & Courtney Miller for making this happen
  • Rob Mark for his hospitality at Camp Jetwhine
  • Mike Miley &  Rod Rakic from MyTransponder for the help at Oshkosh
  • Stu Stevenson for his hospitality post Oshkosh
  • Special thanks to Kitt &  Cathey for their continuing status as podcast widows!

So thanks again to our growing audience who have been with us as we’ve expanded PCDU over the course of 2011. Happy holidays and here’s to a whole new year of bringing you the most amazing aviation experiences & information from Australia &  New Zealand that we can.

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.