PCDU Episode 111: Radio Killed the Podcast Star (Almost :) )

As the F111 was late & delayed by all sorts of issues, so too has our Episode 111 been late in arriving. Our big excuse has been discovering that the PCDU Radio Show has taken a LOT more effort than we expected. All this plus our day jobs, families AND our PCDU Commentary & Announcing gigs have, in turn, made it almost impossible to get an episode out. Suffice to say, we’re parking the radio show production for a while as we try to find a new way of working that lets us produce radio shows AND episodes. It’s very much a learning experience!

Meanwhile, we have managed to get this episode out and it’s packed with lots of great content, including:

  • 0:01:55 – Grant recently took a holiday in Bali & flew with Virgin Australia. He provides a review of their short-haul international business class service & the GA scene on Bali.
     
  • 0:12:50 – We chat with Mark Pracy from Pracy Racing about his preparations for Reno 2013 and the “feel” of the event now that it’s coming up on two years since the big crash back in 2011.
     
  • 0:34:46 – We present a summary of the chats Steve recorded with Dave Jacka as he made his solo-flight around Australia to become the first quadriplegic person to do so as part of his On A Wing & A Chair charity. These chats were recorded during Dave’s journey and after his return to Tooradin airport (YTDN), giving a great overview of the many issues & experiences he encountered.
     
  • 1:03:46 – During Exercise Talisman Saber, Damien Rose interviewed Jake Press a pilot with the KC135. He then went on to enjoy a great ride in a USAF C17 doing a low-level airdrop. You can watch his summary video posted to the PCDU YouTube channel:
     
  • 1:08:20 – Back in 2012, Grant had a great chat with David Cottee, the curator of the Qantas Heritage Collection
     
  • 1:29:28 – Also back in 2012, Grant had a fantastic chat with Paul Gianniotis, an ex-Cathay Pacific Flight Engineer who learned to fly in a Piper at Kai Tak in Hong Kong (no, really :) ) and even started flying hot air balloons in Hong Kong. As you could imagine, he’s got some amazing stories to tell!
     
  • 1:47:23 – We give some shoutouts:
    • The Stuck Mic AvCast has not only passed their 50th episode, they’re about to release their 55th! Awesome!
    • Dave Homewood is about to release his 50th Wings Over New Zealand podcast episode and it’s going to be a fantastic one!
    • We’ve released our 200th Australia Desk segment for the Airplane Geeks podcast
    • Bevan Anderson from AvSoft has seen his AvPlan application turn 2 years old
    • Steve’s daughter Rachel turned 18 and his wife now has her Yellow Belt in Karate
       
  • Australia’s Federal Election is coming up & once again we’re going to do some Election Quick Cast episodes to give you an insite to the aviation policies (if any) of the major parties

PCDU Episode 88: Dreamtime

787 Dreamliner (photo by Steven Pam)

787 ZA003 provides our Cover Art for this episode

Boeing have been taking their 787 Dreamliners on the DreamTour, a series of 7 multi-stop flights, or segments, that take one of the 787 test aircraft around the world. Each segment visits multiple countries, allowing airlines & invited guests to get up close to the advanced new airliner. Perhaps saving the best for last, the DreamTour came to the Dreamtime during it’s 7th segment. As part of this segment, the aircraft visited Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland (yes, that’s New Zealand, we know) and then on to Cairns before heading north of the equator once again.

Team PCDU were invited to tour the 787 while it was in Melbourne as guests of Qantas & Jetstar. Despite the cold, grey weather & occasional rain, our spirits were high & we were excited to once again encounter the Dreamliner. We’d met ZA001 at Oshkosh 2011 but been too busy to go through the interior so with ZA003 parked on the BAe Systems ramp, this was our chance to finally check out the cockpit.

After chatting with Reid Templin, one of Boeing’s flight test engineers, we recorded an interview with Captain Todd Abraham, one of the Boeing 787 technical pilots flying the aircraft on segment #7. Todd answered our questions about the training program, the electric brakes, the engines, the fly-by-wire system, adherence to the Boeing philosophy and the tactile feedback provided by the control yoke & throttles. Like the other Boeing airliners, the computer systems on the 787 supplement & assist the pilot but do not override, despite being fully computerised.

Our interview with Todd starts at 02:11.

Steve & Grant on the Flight Deck of 787 ZA003

Following this interview we climbed on board and checked out the cockpit (cool!!!!!) before heading back through the demonstration interior which featured example seating arrangements, galleys, toilets, large dimmable windows, high ceilings (with the new storage bins) & crew rest areas. All very impressive but the chance to hang out & chat with some more Boeing flight test engineers at the rear of the aircraft & talk about systems, structures & designs was fascinating.

Eventually we left & went back down to the tarmac to get some more photos of engines, landing gear, vents, inlets & more. From there we returned to the bus & went back to our vehicles, coming back to the reality of a cold, grey Melbourne day.

Team PCDU would like to thank Qantas & Jetstar for inviting us to join the 787 DreamTour here in Melbourne. We’d also like to thank Boeing for bringing the 787 down under and for allowing us to interview Captain Todd Abraham as well as spend so much time chatting with their flight test engineers.

Naturally, we’ve loaded our photos from the day as a 787 set on our Flickr stream for you to check out. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and that you can appreciate the need to balance a short-length ‘quick-cast’ episode against getting our interview published while the DreamTour is still underway.

Notes:
* Cover art image courtesy of Steven Pam from SmartShots
* Thanks to Owen Zupp and also the crew at Junior Flyer for technical help with this episode
* Intro by Andrea Crook of Scripts & Voices

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 79: Flying Low

Steve’s finally picked up his instructor’s rating although it’s in trains, not aircraft, but don’t worry, we’re not switching the show over to Train Crazy Down Under :)

Once again we’re joined by Kathy Mexted and this time we’re discussing what’s involved in being an Ag Pilot and how the industry has developed here in Australia. We then switch to Kathy’s interview with Georgia Maxwell in Gunnedah. Georgia is the first female ag pilot in Australia qualified to fly the Air Tractor 802 with Pay’s Air Service. Georgia discusses what it’s like working in the Aerial Application world (aka being an Ag Pilot).

After the interview we talk about the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia and how the season is booming following the breaking of the drought. Anthony Crichton-Browne joins us to continue talking about Ag pilots & the nature of their work.

Anthony has recently been at Red Baron Australia’s open day chatting with Joel Haski and the guys from Combat Dragon who are now basing their A37 at Red Baron’s hangar. We get to sit in on a Combat Dragon briefing, then listen to the sound of the A37 starting its engines before discussing the A37′s typical departure from Bankstown (YSBK).

We then play Anthony’s chat with Joel Haski about the latest developments at Red Baron and their new hangar facility. Anthony talks briefly with Jeff from Combat Dragon about their missions and working with Red Baron. You can hear more about Combat Dragon from an interview Anthony had with them in episode 2 of his podcast, Flying Ant.

Next up, Pieter Johnson from XTP Media in the UK takes time out from his “Across the Pond” segment in the Airplane Geeks to bring us his first “From Up Here to Down There” report. In today’s report, he provides an interview with Matt Falcus about his Far East and Australasia airport spotting guide. If you’re spotting in the Asia/Pacific area, you should check out Matt’s book.

Having listened to Pieter’s chat with Matt, Anthony chats with us about a pilot’s view of the ‘plane spotters’ he sees at most of the major Australian airports.

After the break, we return to Grant’s chat with Geoff Morrison from GT Gyroplanes at Echuca. We talk about Geoff’s background in aviation in New Zealand hunting deer & working on warbirds before he came over to Australia to work on gyroplanes with his brother Alistair. After that we get into a discussion about gyroplanes in general, the Australian Sports Rotorcraft Association (ASRA) and their Kruza gyroplane in particular.

We then have a discussion about gyrocopters before bringing Pieter Johnson back onto the show to chat with us about his background in aviation, his goals for linking Australian/NZ flying with the UK and his interview with his father.

Moving onto Listener Mail, we have:

  • Andrew Brown from the UK talking about our Qantas Grounding episode
  • Voice mail from Ian Kershaw in Canada
  • Chris Howard-Bath who likes the C130 & works with ATC Ben
  • Peter Anderson talks about our website

If you want us to send you a CD copy of our content, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

PO Box 70
Cranbourne VIC 3977
Australia

Don’t forget about our Aus Air Services + PCDU BBQ & Fly In on December 17th at Tooradin Airport (YTDN). Come on down and say HI, folks :)

The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3

PCDU Episode 77: Qantas Crisis: After the Grounding

Almost one year after the QF32 incident, Qantas is again in the news around the world and for a short time again appeared to be on the brink of a major disaster. At 5pm on Saturday the 29th of October, Alan Joyce (CEO of Qantas) announced that he & the board of directors had decided to ground all of Qantas’ domestic & international flights (about 108 aircraft). This unprecedented step disrupted the travel plans of almost 70,000 passengers in order to avoid a “death by a thousand paper cuts” due to ongoing damage from industrial disputes with three unions.

The three unions represented the pilots, engineers and baggage handlers working for Qantas’ “mainline” operations. The Jetstar, QantasLink and JetConnect operations were not involved in the grounding.

We have assembled a collection of discussions with a number of people involved in the disputes or monitoring it from the outside. It is our intention that we provide you with an overview of what has happened, why it happened and where things might go from here. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, our time is not rigidly controlled so our guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.

While we also express our own views during this episode, we have tried to present enough information for you to get a better understanding of the situation & form your own decisions.

The discussions in this episode include:

We’d also like to thank Colin Lipiatt, the Manager of Coporate Communications at Virgin Australia, for taking the time to chat with us about their ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While we couldn’t include him in the show, he provided plenty of useful information for us.

While putting this episode together we did attempt to contact Qantas’ media department to arrange a representative who could talk to us about the items raised during the discussions listed above. Unfortunately we did not hear back from them and can only assume that, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time for us.

We trust that you’ll enjoy this special episode of content specifically covering the Qantas Grounding situation. It’s been a marathon effort to arrange & record the interviews then put it all together for you. It has certainly been educational & eye opening for us as we discussed the issues with our guests, and that’s got to be a good thing :)

The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3

Coverage of the Qantas Grounding, including an appearance on Al Jazeera

In response to the momentous news that Alan Joyce (CEO) and the board of directors at Qantas had decided to ground the entire airline on Saturday afternoon, Steve & Grant launched into gear to assemble a broad collection of interviews & discussions about the event. The result is a hefty 2 hour, 15 minute episode that’s packed with interviews with politicians, union leaders, Dick Smith, analysts and us. You can read all about it and listen to it by visiting:

PCDU Episode 77: Qantas Crisis: After the Grounding.

In addition to producing this episode, Grant was invited to appear on Al Jazeera’s English channel to briefly discuss the current Qantas grounding.

Here’s the video of the discussion recorded with Grant in the Southern Skies Online Media studio.

Our thanks go to Al Jazeera for providing us with this copy of the discussion and allowing us to display it.

There’s also a “behind the scenes” video that Steve took of Grant in the studio being interviewed:

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 69: Carbonated

Ben Morgan from Aviation Advertiser returns to join us in a discussion of current events in the Australian aviation scene. Following a quick intro, the first topic we discuss is the Carbon Tax our government is proposing to implement. We do try to keep the discussion coming back to the impacts this tax is likely to have on aviation but it’s a very hot topic and is certainly bringing out concerns for a number of people.

Once we get through the Carbon Tax and calm down a little, we move onto the sad state of affairs with Tiger Airways, currently grounded for failure to meet the requirements of their Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and a number of safety related issues. This is the first time CASA have grounded an all-jet airline and its timing was certainly drastic (right on the eve of the school holidays). We discuss the implications, some potential results and whether the Australian public will ever trust the airline again (very likely if there are cheap fares to be had).

Finally we discuss Aviation Advertiser’s sponsoring the PCDU Team in their “Up & Over to Oshkosh 2011″ tour and the updates we’ll be providing on their website while we’re at Oshkosh.

After wrapping up our chat with Ben, we present another View From the Lounge segment, this time comparing public transport access to airports at Melbourne and various cities around the world. We then point listeners at Steve Price from Melbourne Talk Radio (MTR) having a great chat with astronaut Andy Thomas as well as similar coverage from the ABC StarStuff podcast.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the listeners who have donated to our “Up & Over to Oshkosh 2011″ tour. We’ve had lots of suggestions for coverage and lots of donations that all help round out the support of our sponsors. Thanks to you we’ll be able to provide a more comprehensive coverage of Oshkosh 2011 than we could have if it were just Steve & Grant on site. Once again, we are amazed at the level of support we’ve received from our audience. You folks definitely make it all the hard work & late nights worthwhile :)

PCDU Episode 66: That Wasn’t in the Script!

It’s been a while since we got down & dirty with the Australian commercial airline scene so with that in mind, we called up Ben Sandlilands from the PlaneTalking blog on Crikey.com.au for a chat. There’s some amazing developments going on in the “big iron” side of people moving here in Australia and we went through the following subjects:

  • The joys of ash clouds (Thanks Chile!)
  • Virgin Australia taking on Qantas & Jetstar with their new pricing structures & business class, including just what kind of passenger they were targeting at the front of the cabin
  • Qantas & JetStar’s industrial issues with their unions
  • Tiger regrouping & focusing on routes where it can do the most damage to the others (watch out Melbourne <-> Sydney and maybe even the Golden Triangle of Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane)
  • Strategic’s foray into the Pacific

In this episode we also include an interview with Kathy Mexted, a freelance writer who we met *way* back at the Centenary of Flight airshow in 2010. Flying is in Kathy’s blood by birth & by marriage and she’s been writing articles for a variety of aviation magazines as well as working on a book about being the spouse of an airline pilot. We’re very happy to announce that Kathy’s also going to be producing some content for us in the near future mostly covering Recreational & General Aviation areas.

Finally, we’re including some new music in our show as Steve’s found out about the royalty free production music by JewelBeat. Watch out for whole new background tracks & cross-over music in this & future episodes :)

PCDU Episode 53: A Ditch, Some Dutch & De-Icing

Steve & Grant are joined once again by Bas Scheffers from Adelaide to discuss a few items, including:

  • A follow up to the ADSB discussion we had with Bill Hamilton back in episode 48
  • A discussion of the iPhone/iPad application Bas & a partner have been developing called OzRunways covering what it does & how it came to be
  • The revelation that Grant actually doesn’t like the TV show “Ice Pilots” (oh, the shame! :)
  • Parafield airshow is changing dates to March 25th, 2012 due to weather concerns and to help ensure more Australian Defence Force assets will be available
  • Avalon is coming up soon
  • Bas is going to Oshkosh and as we may not be able to make it, he may have to be the PCDU correspondent for us (not sure how we’ll get him a more Australian accent though!)
  • Hassling Bas to provide a bio for the PCDU “About Us” page

We also have another great chat with our man “Across the Ditch,” Dan Morris from New Zealand, including:

As if all this wasn’t enough, we also have a chat with James Williams from the Podcaster’s Emporium about his recent Business Class trip with Emirates across the ditch to New Zealand & back.

Finally, we wrap up the show with some Listener Mail & Shout Outs, including:

  • Bill Morelli from the USA who flies a Zenith Zodiac (nice plane!)
  • Paul Bridges who supplied the photo of the Qantas DC3 that graces this episode’s notes
  • Colin Sweetman from the UK who has started getting back into his flying and wants to do aerobatics (YES!!!! says Grant :) and also offered to be our tour guide to a number of aviation museums if we can get there (we’ll hold you to that, Colin! :)
  • And finally, a big shout out to the people who decided to take part in the “$50 for Episode 50″ concept – thanks folks!