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.

Balloons, books and TopGun: Episode 128 is live!

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Grant’s pulled out a big collection of ballooning interviews including discussions with military & commercial fixed wing pilots who enjoy the challenge of flying hot air balloons. We’ve also got a fun chat with Owen Zupp about his new book: Without Precedent, our tribute to Hannes Arch and the Infrequent Flyer finally gets to see TopGun (in 3D at the IMAX, no less).

This is our biggest episode ever (even bigger than Episode 51’s “Farewell to the Pig” tribute to the RAAF’s F-111s.

Click here to access the episode.

PCDU Episode 128: Unprecedented

From Grant’s collection of ballooning interviews to a chat with Owen Zupp about his latest book and our tribute to Hannes Arch, this episode is our biggest yet (yes, even bigger than Episode 51, our tribute to the RAAF’s F-111s!). We’ve even captured Anthony “The Infrequent Flyer” Simmons’ first ever viewing of the movie TopGun (in IMAX 3D no less :) ).

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

Balloons and Tiger Moths. Gotta love old school flying :)

The episode unfolds as:

  • 00:00:00 – Our tribute to Hannes Arch, the Red Bull Air Race champion pilot who tragically died in a helicopter crash in September, 2016.
     
  • 00:04:54 – Show start & introduction.
     
  • 00:14:12 – We talk with Owen Zupp about his new book: Without Precedent. It’s the biography of his father that covers his time as a commando in World War 2, flying Meteors during the Korean War, flying Constellations with QANTAS and later flying in General Aviation. It’s a fantastic read and highly recommended.
    We started by discussing Steve’s recent Tiger Moth flight with Vintage Airways at Lilydale and how much fun he had finally flying an aircraft he swore he’d never go in.
     
  • 01:05:22 – Grant talked with Phil Kavanagh back in 2013 about the early days of sport ballooning in Australia in the 60’s & 70’s, manufacturing balloons in Australia, teaching themselves to fly, setting up Kavanagh Balloons, sourcing materials, new developments and the future of ballooning technology.
     
  • 01:27:09 – After talking to Phil, Grant caught up with Sean Kavanagh about his career in aviation ranging from being an aircraft engineer with QANTAS through to flying & making hot air balloons. Sean has flown in competitions and also been a commercial pilot flying at various locations around Australia, including the challenging city of Melbourne. In 2013 Sean was designing new balloons and burners for the company, including producing the inevitable paperwork and dealing with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). We also discuss in some detail the effort that has gone into designing the new Series IV Crossfire burner.
     
  • 01:52:50 –
    Owen Zupp's "Without Precedent"

    Owen Zupp’s “Without Precedent”

    John Wallington is the Flight Director of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, an annual event which has been running since the 80’s. He talked with Grant in 2015 about the experience of flying over Canberra and keeping the flying side of the event running smoothly and safely.
     
  • 01:55:37 – Don Whitford is the meteorologist of choice for ballooning events in Australia and he spoke with Grant about his career of more than 40 years in aviation weather forecasting. They also talk about the impacts of the changing weather patterns that are being experienced recently.
     
  • 02:05:06 – Frank Wechter was at Canberra flying the Angry Birds special shape balloon.
     
  • 02:06:53 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist used to be with the RNZAF flying Strikemasters, Macchi 339s and A-4 Skyhawks before transferring to the RAAF about fifteen years ago and in 2015 & 2016 was the primary pilot of the RAAF hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:10:33 – Richard Turnbull is back from the UK flying for commercial operators around Australia and returns to the show to briefly talk about what he’s been up to lately.
     
  • 02:12:56 – Grant chats with Ruth Wilson, Australia’s first female commercial hot air balloon pilot who has been flying balloons for over 40 years and also has a fixed wing license. She was also the first Australian hot air balloon champion and represented Australia at events around the world. They talk about flying over Canberra and being involved in the Women Fly It Forward event by taking young ladies for their first flights.
     
  • 02:17:01 – Grant flew with Kevin Cooper in his Thunder & Colt Chariot balloon which is essentially a two seat chair lift hanging under a small balloon that is a LOT of fun to fly. They also talk about his career flying balloons around the world and the experience of flying over Canberra.
     
  • 02:23:43 –
    Cameron's "UP" Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Cameron’s “UP” Balloon was designed to look like a collection of small helium balloons.

    Jeff Vella is an ex-RAAF pilot who currently flies airliners for Cathay Pacific and is based out of Hong Kong. He’s also one of the pilots flying the RAAF hot air balloon as well as flying the Cathay Pacific hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:32:58 – Nick Purvis is the Sales Director of Cameron Balloons and he talks with Grant about the “UP” balloon on its “Up Down Under” tour and the new 250kg RAAF special shape balloon. They also talk about building special shape balloons including printing graphics on envelope, the interior gusseting & supports that help to keep the shape and the “dead air” that doesn’t contribute to lift but helps pressurise the shape of the balloon. Nick also gives us a quick history of the Cameron Balloon company.
     
  • 02:46:05 – SQNLDR Damien Gilchrist returns to talk about flying the new RAAF special shape hot air balloon.
     
  • 02:49:24 – Grant, Ms Kitt and Steven Pam took Anthony “the Infrequent Flyer” Simmons to see TopGun in 3D at the giant IMAX cinema in Melbourne. They chat about their expectations before going into the cinema and then perform a debrief after the movie. We’ve got the need, the need for speed! Oh my!
     
  • 03:04:06 – Steve & Grant wrap up the episode and discuss Grant’s recent commentary at the Wings Over Macleay air show at Kempsey in New South Wales plus the upcoming Angel Flight charity event at Lake Macquarie on November 6th with Matt Hall, OzRunways and AOPA. Steve will be MC for the event and Steven Pam will be there shooting stills and video.
    The boys also discuss how Steve’s trying to get used to flying a Cessna with a glass cockpit along with how Steve recently dobbed Kathy Mexted in as a guest host for the Plane Talking UK show. Finally, Grant’s getting his notes ready to do the commentary for OzKosh at Narromine. It’s all go especially as Steve’s getting ready to move into a new house that’s almost finished being built and will include a cool new studio for future recording.
Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Kevin Cooper about to take a friend for a flight in his Chariot.

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Angry Birds with the Dodo balloon

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

Ruth Wilson took two young ladies up for their first flights as part of Women Fly it Forward.

The new RAAF "Flying Helmet" special shape hot air balloon

The new RAAF “Flying Helmet” special shape hot air balloon

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 81: An Infrequent Flyer goes to Europe

There’s been a few delays in getting our first episode for 2012 out but what can you expect with the Summer heat to enjoy and games of Cricket to watch (or avoid :). It is with Cricket in mind that our very own Infrequent Flyer, Anthony Simmons, took some time out of his European adventures to visit the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (home of the Duxford Aviation Society) at the time of their last flying display for 2011, a day that saw some 16,000 people come to watch the show!

The focus of this flying display was the Korean War and Anthony was able to find out that the “Forgotten War” was about so much more than episodes of M*A*S*H:

  • Anthony chats with Lt Don Reed (ret), a 90 year old veteran of the conflict who flew with the Fleet Air Arm as an observer on Fireflies and as a Seafire pilot
     
  • He then meets Esther Blaine, the PR Manager, for a discussion on:
    • The history of the Duxford site
    • The educational programmes the IWM provides
    • The new “Airspace” display
    • The IWM’s plans for the future
       
  • Anthony is also able to further one-up Steve & Grant by noting that he’s been through a Vickers Viscount, DeHavilland Comet and Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde as well as getting up close with a Lancaster and Tigermoth. What, us, jealous??? :)
     
  • Anthony wraps it up by interviewing Mark Linney from the Golden Apple Trust about their flying F86A, the only one of its kind still flying. They chat about:
    • The history of this particular aircraft
    • Mark’s career as a pilot in the RAF flying the Tornado GR1, instructing on the Hawk and then winding up on the Harrier. After the RAF he’s now flying 747s, A340-600s and, of course, the F86
    • They then chat about the F86’s development, handling and history

The episode wraps up with Steve & Anthony having a quick review of the content & Anthony’s experience at Duxford.

PCDU Episode 18: Tally Ho, it’s the Red Baron!

The Red Barons Pitts Special

The Red Baron's Pitts Special

If you’ve ever looked skyward in Sydney, there’s a high chance you’ve seen a bright red aircraft with old-style German crosses on the wings. Originally flying an old Tiger Moth, the Red Baron flew out of Bankstown and gave joy flights to members of the public, flying over Sydney’s beaches and occasionally doing aerobatics.

Roll forward to today and Red Baron scenic & aerobatic flights is now owned by Joel Haski (RedBaronSydney on Twitter) with a number of aircraft, including Pitts Specials, Robins/Alphas, an Extra and a new Airvan. Some are painted in Red Baron colours while others fly under the Red Bull logos.

Extra over Sydney

We were fortunate enough to get some of Joel’s time for a chat about his flying history, running the Red Baron operation, being involved with Red Bull and the recent New South Wales Aerobatic competition.

The new Airvan
Pitts Specials in Formation