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 117: Holler for a Marshall, an AIR Marshal

With the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show only a couple of days away, we thought we’d mix up some content that promotes the event as well as some chats Grant recorded with a number of past & present members of the RAAF at the Temora Aviation Museum’s “Warbirds Down Under” event back in November. To round the whole thing off, we’ve also got Steve’s chat with Tammy Augostin about the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event that will be running from March 3rd to 9th around the world.

From top to bottom: AVM (ret) Skidmore, AIRMSHL Binskin & AVM Davies (and, of course, a P40 :) )

From top to bottom: AVM (ret) Skidmore, AIRMSHL Binskin & AVM Davies (and, of course, a P40 :) )

The episode’s content run is:

  • Steve & Grant give an overview of what to expect in the episode
     
  • 0:09:42 – Grant catches up with Air Marshal Mark Binskin at the Temora Aviation Museum to discuss his career, the role of Vice Chief of the Defence Force and flying his Cessna O-1 Birddog
     
  • 0:15:57 – Air Vice Marshal (retired) Mark Skidmore talks to us about flying the Bristol Boxkite replica
     
  • 0:20:33 – Air Vice Marshal Leo Davies (Deputy Chief of Air Force) tells us about the Centenary of Military Aviation air show, his career and the type of work he does in his role
     
  • 0:28:17 – Keith Webb explains the Temora Aviation Museum‘s “Unsung Heroes” project and the work involved in collecting the reminiscences of veterans
     
  • 0:34:42 – Grant catches up with Captain Jack Curtis, DC3 pilot extraordinaire and perhaps the only pilot flying DC3s who’s actually older than the aircraft he’s flying :)
     
  • 0:43:01 –
    F/A-18 flying over the Bristol Boxkite replica at Pt Cook (Photo by James Kightly)

    F/A-18 flying over the Bristol Boxkite replica at Pt Cook
    (Photo by James Kightly)

    Dick Simms talks about being an Officer Cadet in the RAAF & flying Mustangs, Vampires & Meteors then his career selling aircraft and his restoration of a 1930’s Ryan STM that can now be found at the Temora Aviation Museum
     
  • 0:58:10 – Mick Haxel (DFC) chats with Grant about his career in the military and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the time that it became the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before winding up with his current position with Flight Safety Pty Ltd. He also talks about how he was awarded DFC for his flying in Vietnam (Audio courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)
     
  • 1:16:50 – Steve talks with Tammy Augostin about the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event and her involvement with CCT Racing, one of the Australian jet racing teams at the Reno Air Races
     
  • 1:47:44 – Steve & Grant wrap up the episode
GPCAPT (ret) Ron Gretton AM & WGCDR (ret) Geoff Matthews talk with AVM (ret) Mark Skidmore in front of the Bristol Boxkite replica they built

GPCAPT (ret) Ron Gretton AM & WGCDR (ret) Geoff Matthews talk with AVM (ret) Mark Skidmore in front of the Bristol Boxkite replica they built
(Photo by James Kightly)

PCDU Episode 116: High Performances

After a break due to injuries, surgery & a wedding, we’re back on deck and our first episode for 2014 is packed with Down Under aviation goodness :)

From Matt Hall & the return of the Red Bull Air Race to flying in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne

From Matt Hall & the return of the Red Bull Air Race to flying in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne

From Matt Hall and the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race to our media flight in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne to promote the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show, this episode really got us exited for the year ahead.

Our first episode for 2014 unfolds as:

  • Steve & Grant chat about surgery, a wedding and some recent media publicity after a couple of unusual hot air balloon landings in Melbourne
     
  • 0:12:35 – We chat with Matt Hall about the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race and get lots of great info about the changes to the race itself, his new team, how they’ve been preparing and the telemetry system he’s using.
     
    Is ATC Ben excited or nervous to be on the C130J media flight? :)

    Is ATC Ben excited or nervous to be on the C130J media flight? :)

     
    Steven Pam is clearly excited to be on the C130J media flight :)

    Steven Pam is clearly excited to be on the C130J media flight :)

  • 0:46:20 – Steven Pam & ATC Ben got to represent PCDU at a recent RAAF C130J media flight over Melbourne to promote the Centenary of Military Aviation air show at Pt Cook on March 1st & 2nd. In the process they recorded the following content:
    • Air Commodore Phil Byrne (RAAF’s Head of Special Events) talking about the historical significance of Pt Cook and the RAAF’s preparations for their Centenary of Military Aviation air show
       
    • David Gardner (Director, RAAF Museum) talks about the Bristol Boxkite replica
       
    • Flight lieutenant Matt Fleet, an RAF C130J pilot on exchange with the RAAF
       
    • Sergeant Greg Milne, an RAAF C130J loadmaster
       
      The view of Melbourne from a RAAF C130J's ramp

      The view of Melbourne from a RAAF C130J’s ramp

       
      Even the RAAF are getting into the GoPro action for this flight :)

      Even the RAAF are getting into the GoPro action for this flight :)

  • We have some announcements:
    • PCDU will be at the Tyabb Airshow 2014 (A Salute to Veterans) on Sunday, March 9th and are looking forward to catching up with any of you who can be there
       
    • We want your stories, especially “grass roots” content and, as Steve Riley wrote in about, more “stories about flying”
       
  • The view from the C130J's cockpit is spectacular, even without another aircraft in close formation

    The view from the C130J’s cockpit is spectacular, even without another aircraft in close formation

    We have some shout outs:
    • Thanks to Steve’s surgical staff for doing his knee reconstruction, including Mr Eden Raleigh, Dr Peter Larkins & Dr Joshua Hoppe from the Epworth Hospital
       
    • Thanks to Pieter Johnson & David Vanderhoof for the long-distance support from around the world to help Steve get through some difficult times
       
    • Steve wants to thank Grant & the rest of the PCDU team for helping out with the Australia Desk episodes while he was recovering
       
    • Thanks to the Hangar 49 & Aviation Xtended podcasts for being brave enough to let Grant join them when recording their latest episodes (Hangar 49’s “G’Day Mate”Aviation Xtended’s “Plane Crazy”)
       
    • Good luck to Dave Gray (formerly from the Lifestyle PodNetwork) who is currently battling melanoma
       
    • Thanks to the RAAF for inviting us to attend the C130J media flight
       
    • Twitter user 555UHZ is posting the movie Top Gun as a series of frames (with subtitles), one every half hour or so. Now that’s dedication! :)
       

Here’s the video Steven Pam put together following the C130J media flight:

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.