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 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 84: Geoff Whitty: Pidgin Tales

The Apron at Aropa

We’re joined by Kathy Mexted and her brother Geoff Whitty who is a real adventurer, having worked in Papua New Guinea managing aviation operations. As we learn in this episode, he has a LOT of very interesting tales to tell.

Starting with Ansett in their reservation system, Geoff moved to Qantas and then in 1989 got a job working with Air New Guinea in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He’s now working with PNG’s 2nd largest RPT carrier managing airports & operations.

While there are some well built roads in parts of PNG (mostly thanks to the mining companies), air travel is one of the only viable methods of transporting people & equipment regularly about the rugged landscape. From Chevron’s “C130 Air Bridge” through to current “Fly In, Fly Out” (FIFO) mining operations, flying in PNG offers some amazing experiences for pilots with some saying 1 year in PNG is worth 10 years mustering cattle in the outback.

Customs & Quarantine Staff at Kieta

In addition to supply chain management & keeping mining operations happy, Geoff has also managed the training of PNG nationals who operate the airline, learn to fly and also do aircraft maintenance in-country (except for heavy maintenance). Thanks to the demands of the mining companies and CASA, they are, perhaps, the most audited aviation operation in the world.

A major aspect of having a foreign company in PNG is that they are required to train PNG nationals to fly aircraft, run the airline, and perform maintenance in-country (except for heavy maint). They are flying ATRs & Dash8s and Geoff believes the ATR is more suited to their needs than the Dash8, although they’re running both at the moment. They’ve also had Caribous & Dash-7s and are running a diverse range of helicopters as well as lighter aircraft from Twin Otters down.

As if the rugged environment and rapidly changing weather systems weren’t enough to cause problems flying or running an airline, people in Papua New Guinea also have to contend with tribal warfare, the volcano at Rabaul and local ground staff throwing as much cargo on an aircraft as they can. Weight & balance? What’s that? :)

It’s a fascinating chat with Geoff and we really enjoyed learning more about life in our northern neighbour. We’d like to thank Geoff for his time chatting with us in the studio and with Kathy for introducing us to him.

On Finals at Aropa

After our chat with Geoff & Kathy, Steve talks with Tammy Augostin, the Promotion & Marketing Manager of the Parafield Airshow. They discuss the acts that have been lined up for the show and the issues involved in putting it all together.

Many of our listeners in Sydney have been commenting to us about seeing a number of Army Blackhawk helicopters flying around Sydney Harbour. It turns out they were part of a training exercise that was also open to media to ride along & experience a typical training flight. Sadly, Steve & Grant weren’t able to get up to Sydney for the flight (despite their best efforts) but Anthony Crichton-Browne was. In addition to getting lots of great photos, Anthony also recorded a quick chat with one of the pilots.

Finally, we wrap up the episode with another of Anthony Simmons’ “View from the Lounge” segments. This time, Anthony is looking at aviation in the media, ranging from movies through to jingles.

You can find Kathy’s work in many places, including: