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 107: Avalon 2013 – Globemaster Central

RAAF C17 Flyby at Avalon 2013

One of the many RAAF C17s at Avalon 2013

We still have some Avalon 2013 coverage not yet released so we decided to produce a single episode dedicated to the C17 as there were multiple RAAF C17s and a USAF C17 present on the final day. In keeping with our previous Avalon 2013 episodes, this one is under an hour and gathers the following content together:

  • 0:03:08 – RAAF C17 pilot FLTLT Dirk Taylor talks about flying the aircraft & his career
  • 0:10:59 – RAAF C17 techo Sgt David Everett talks about maintaining the aircraft & his transition from the DHC-4 Caribou
  • 0:22:09 – RAAF Loadmaster WOFF Paul Lemarshall walks us through the C17s cargo hold
  • 0:33:29 – USAF Capt Brian Carron talks about interoperability between USAF & RAAF C17 aircraft & crew
  • 0:39:22 – We wrap up the episode

Given the focus on the C17 in this episode, it was a given that we’d include a promotion for the Australian Defence Force Recruiting, right? You can call them on 13 19 01 :)

PCDU Episode 106: Avalon 2013 – Day Six

The RAAF C17 Globemaster preparing to start its display routineWe had contemplated a quiet final day at Avalon 2013 where the team could gather a few last interviews but it wasn’t to be. There were still so many people to see, content to capture and experiences to share with our audience. In fact, there’s so much content that we couldn’t fit it all into our daily episodes so we’re going to have to release more Avalon coverage in our later episodes.

Meanwhile, for this episode we’re presenting:

  • Ryan Campbell from the Teen World Flight project
  • Melissa & Rex Pemberton talk about flying aerobatic demonstrations & wingsuiting
  • Mark Jefferies talks about his aerobatic career
  • Dieter Ebeling introduces us to Awesome Aviation and their Extra 330LX
  • Anton Meir from Aerosport Aviation in New Zealand
  • Nelson Aviation College
  • Kangan Institute provides aviation courses
  • Captain Natassia Cherne from the USAF’s Pacific Air Force media team
  • Timbo’s Tarmac
  • In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf

PCDU Episode 104: Avalon 2013 – Day Four

USAF F22 Raptor on the combat jet tarmacThe sun came out in force on Day 4 of Avalon 2013 and with mostly clear blue skies we finally felt like we’d arrived at a real airshow. With aircraft putting on some amazing performances, the F22 once again took to the skies and let us experience the “High Show” and what a fantastic show that was!

For today’s episode, we have the following content:

  • Master Sergeant Bo Brewer talks about maintaining the F22 & its systems
  • Major Henry Schantz is the current F22 demo pilot & he compares its handling with an F15C, walks us through the manoeuvres in the demo and talks about the experience of flying it
  • Damien Rose chats with Stephen Buckle about the Carbon Cub
  • Steve & Grant get to hang out & chat with the Breitling Wing Walker team
  • Grant chats with Stewart Wilson from Aero Australia magazine
  • We corner listener Ben Wickham & ask how Avalon 2013 is going for him
  • This time it’s ATC_Ben heading out to bring us Timbo’s Tarmac and In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf

PCDU Episode 99: RAAF C-130H – Into History

C130H Farewell Cover Art

C-130H A97-005 with the ‘Farewell’ tail art

In November of 2012 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) decommissioned their C-130H fleet, transitioning to the C-130J and reaching the end of an era for flight engineers & navigators in the Air Lift Group (ALG). We were fortunate enough to be invited to partake in some of the decommissioning events including a final media flight over Sydney Harbour, watching a formation flyby practice from RAAF Base Richmond’s control tower and the delivery of C-130H A97-011 to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook.

In the course of these events we obtained a number of great interviews with past & present air crew which are gathered here in our tribute episode to the C-130H in RAAF service:

  • 0:07:48 – Air Commodore Gary Martin’s (Commander Air Lift Group) press conference held on the ramp at RAAF Base Richmond before the Sydney Harbour media flight
     
  • 0:11:39 – RAAF C-130H pre-flight safety briefing
     
  • 0:17:25 – Onboard recording of C-130H engine startup & cruise sounds
     
  • 0:17:50 – Flight Lieutenant Tony Charles, pilot of A97-005 on the media flight over Sydney, discusses the flight
     
  • Steve gets to fly the C130H simulator

    0:19:54 – Flight Lieutenant Richard Aughie, C-130H flight simulator instructor, talks about C-130H performance specs, simulator training, his involvement in the C27J Spartan training program and Steve’s landings in the simulator
     
  • 0:31:41 – Phil Brown, a former RAAF Warrant Officer C130H Flight Engineer & now an instructor with CAE, talks about his RAAF career and the role of the Flight Engineer on the C130H
     
  • 0:54:37 – Squadron Leader Rob Sokol, pilot of the final flight of A97-011, talks about the flight to Point Cook, his time at 1FTS at Point Cook, his RAAF Reserve service and his “day job” as an A380 pilot
     
  • Special tail art for the C130H farewell

    1:00:29 – Air Vice Marshall (ret) Greg Evans (DSC, AM) talks about his RAAF career as a C130H pilot from 1983 to 1992 including:
    • His exchange posting to the USAF and Little Rock AFB with the 40th Tactical Airlift SQN between 1998-90 (which naturally leads to comparing notes with Steve about flying the skies of Arkansas :)
    • Some “interesting” missions & training flights he flew with the USAF & RAAF
    • Comparing the C130H to the older C130E
    • The differences encountered with the C130J
    • The advantages of the C27J Spartan
    • Being Commander Joint Task Force 633 MEAO (Iraq) during 2004 & 2005

Thanks to Eamon Hamilton (ALG Public Affairs Officer) & Ben Wickham (ADF Regional Public Affairs Officer for NSW) for arranging our access to the events & people so we could gather the content used in this episode.

PCDU Episode 96: “Serge” – An Australian Top Gun

Serge’s “Fighter Pilot” book cover

It takes a special breed to push an F18 out to the edge of the envelope, fly missions ranging from surface attack to dog fights and then blow off steam with your squadron mates. It’s certainly not Top Gun but it does make amazing fodder for a book that highlights the good, the bad and the crazy.

Just such a book has been written by ‘Mac “Serge” Tucker‘ and it’s called “Fighter Pilot: mis-adventures beyond the sound barrier with an Australian Top Gun

Steve & Grant chat to “Serge” about being a fighter pilot, flying & partying hard, blowing off steam and dealing with bureaucrats. We also cover:

  • The size of the fighter community in Australia and the camaraderie that has developed among them
  • The mentoring that occurs within the community covering both technical & behavioural aspects of being a fighter pilot
  • The interaction of fighter pilots with pilots from other parts of the RAAF
  • Serge’s career progressing from high school through basic training in the CT4, progression to the Aermacchi MB 326H (the Macchi) and on to the F18 via a stint on the Nomad.
  • Wing Commander Ross Fox’s influence as Serge’s mentor and the impact of his death in an F18 mid-air collision
  • Serge’s thoughts on the Australian Army & Royal Australian Navy
  • Working with the fighter pilots from the USA & comparing USA pilots with RAAF pilots
  • Old timer stories and their influence on current procedures
  • RAAF exchange pilots flying F15s & F22s with the USAF
  • The F35 JSF and its issues with kinematics
  • Drones and their use in the military environment
  • How the military have missed out on changing their operations & equipment to deal better with the Middle East environment & the modern political power dynamics
  • Serge’s love of hang gliding
  • Transitioning from being a fighter pilot to being an airline pilot
  • His final flight: a one-on-one dogfight with Matt Hall

PCDU Episode 59: Avalon Not-So Quick Cast #6

We’ve made it to the end of day 6 of the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (aka Avalon 2011). It’s the final day of the airshow and once again Team PCDU have been flat out interviewing, editing and generally having fun. We’ve spent some time chatting with the crew of a KC-135 inside their aircraft, interviewed a number of acts, caught up with the Temora Aviation Museum crew and generally had a great time.

We’re also acknowledging that these daily episodes should have been called “Daily Avalon Updates” or anything other than “Quick Casts.” To really confirm that, we’ve put quite a lot of content in this episode, including:

  • Grant’s chat with Paul Simmons recorded while sitting on the wing of the CA27 Sabre
  • Nikolay Timofeev talks about flying aerobatics in his Sukhoi 26
  • Anthony Simmons presents a short View from the B52′s Lounge
  • Kent Pietsch talks to us about flying the “Jelly Belly” Cadet & his various routines while Chris Williams from the same team talks about driving the mobile landing-platform vehicle
  • Being updated by Colonel Seth Bretscher on the amount of work involved in getting so many USAF & USN aircraft & airmen down to Avalon (and why there was no B2 & the F22s didn’t fly)
  • An update from Ian Honnery on how the airshow is going so far
  • A quick chat with Ed Stubbs, a listener from Perth who came over to Avalon for the show
  • The final tarmac updates from Timbo with the warbirds & Papa Smurf at the Keyhole

These Avalon Quick Cast episodes are being sponsored by Aviation Advertiser and supported by Red Baron and Temby Automotive.

PCDU Episode 58: Avalon Quick Cast #5

It’s day 5 of the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (aka Avalon 2011) and it’s the first whole day open to the general public. The PCDU team have had one of the most amazing days of their lives with time in the venerable B52, getting up close & personal with the Wedgetail, checking out the GA8 Airvan and relaxing on the wing of the CA27 Sabre. The content we selected for this Quick Cast includes:

  • Our chat with Squadron Leader Matt Harper, an RAAF pilot on exchange with the USAF who’s flying the F22 Raptor
  • Steve’s in-cockpit discussion with David Wheatland, the chief pilot for the GippsAero GA-8 Airvan
  • Talking with Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith about RAAF Public Affairs, her career to date & where it may lead in the future
  • Today’s tarmac updates from Timbo with the warbirds & Taffy reluctantly agrees to cover for Papa Smurf at the Keyhole

These Avalon Quick Cast episodes are being sponsored by Aviation Advertiser and supported by Red Baron and Temby Automotive.

Avalon “Not So” Quick Casts Are Here

Team PCDU are at the Avalon International Airshow (#Avalon11) and we’re putting out a daily Quick Cast episode with interviews & information gathered that day during the show.

March 1st: Day 1:

  • Brendan Nelson – past Defence Minister
  • Mark Robinson & Martin Hoffensetz from SAAB – Remote Tower system
  • Peter Dow from TVSA Pilot Training – Flight Camp & VET FEE-HELP system
  • Timbo’s Tarmac & Through the Keyhole with Papa Smurf segments

Click here to listen to the full Day 1 audio quick cast

March 2nd: Day 2:

  • RAAF Heron operators
  • Lockheed Martin’s ISR flying testbed aircraft
  • Timbo’s Tarmac

Click here to listen to the full Day 2 audio quick cast

March 3rd: Day 3:

  • Matt Hall
  • USAF F22 Raptor pilot & maintainer
  • Timbo’s Tarmac & In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf segments

Click here to listen to the full Day 3 audio quick cast

March 4th: Day 4:

  • B1B crew
  • RAAF Hot Air Balloon pilot
  • Owen Zupp
  • Squadron Leader Louise Burr
  • Timbo’s Tarmac & In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf tarmac reports

Click here to listen to the full Day 4 audio quick cast

March 5th: Day 5:

  • SQDN LDR Matt Harper, RAAF F22 Pilot
  • David Wheatland & the GA8 Airvan
  • Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith
  • Timbo’s Tarmac & Taffy covers the keyhole for Papa Smurf

Click here to listen to the full Day 5 audio quick cast

March 6th: Day 6:

  • Paul Simmons, CA27 Sabre pilot
  • Nikolay Timofeev, world champion aerobatics pilot
  • A view from the B52′s Lounge
  • Kent Pietsch & Chris Williams from the Jelly Belly team
  • Colonel Seth Bretscher, USAF
  • Ian Honnery
  • Ed Stubbs
  • The final Timbo’s Tarmac & In the Keyhole with Papa Smurf tarmac reports

Click here to listen to the full Day 6 audio quick cast

These Avalon Quick Cast episodes are being sponsored by Aviation Advertiser and supported by Red Baron and Temby Automotive.

Video summary entries produced by Steven Pam.

PCDU Episode 51: Pig Out!

In November 2010 the PCDU team were invited to attend the Media Day at RAAF Amberley where members of 6 Squadron were gathered to give us one final look at the F111 before it was retired from service. We have gathered the interviews we recorded during the Media Day and combined them with a couple of discussions to present our tribute to the F111 and all those who helped to keep them in the air.

This is our longest episode to date so you may want to make use of the PAUSE button to get through it all. Like the PIG, it’s big, but we think the content is just too good to leave any of it out. The F111 has been a major part of our lives over the last 30 years in Australia and New Zealand and anyone who has experienced the RAAF’s trademark “Dump & Burn” display will have some idea why we’re so sad to see them go.

From seeing an F111 doing 4-point hesitation rolls, aileron rolls and a loop at Avalon to watching them racing past while sitting on the beach on a summer’s day, the F111 became an icon of Australia’s military as they provided us with a long range projection of power. They leave a large gap in our force structure now that they have been retired and a hole in the hearts of many who kept them flying.

So long, pig and remember: That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do!

The contents of this episode include:

  • The Media Day’s opening press conference (starts at 06:08)
     
  • A discussion with David Vanderhoof about the history of the F111 including its inception and service with the USAF & RAAF (starts at 32:06)
     
  • We talk to Wing Commander Terry Deeth about his time as a bombadier/navigator (or Weapons Systems Officer) with the F111 while on rotation to the USAF (starts at 51:33)
     
  • We visited the F111 simulator on the base and got to meet:
    • Steve Clark, an ex-RAAF F111 pilot who has more hours in an F111 than almost anyone else in the world (starts at 1:05:40)
    • Brett Denton, a computer technician who helps to keep the simulator operating (starts at 1:11:29)
       
  • While everyone likes to focus on the guys in the cockpit, an F111 needs a lot of maintenance between flights so we managed to catch up with a few of the techos:
    • Flight Lieutenant Adam Firth & Sergeant Chris Walker (starts at 1:15:32)
    • Corporal James Morton (starts at 1:30:19)
    • Corporal David Bash, an American now living in Australia (starts at 1:35:50)
       
  • We talk with Flight Lieutenant Vlad Bismark about flying the F111 (starts at 1:47:25)
     
  • We have a chat with Brendan Cowan from ADF Serials about the history of the RAAF’s F111s and with Chris Daley from the Save the F111 page on Facebook about how the page developed and where it’s going now (starts at 1:55:28)
     
  • We interview Wing Commander Al Curr who ejected from an F111 on take off from RNZAF Ohakea in New Zealand (starts at 2:14:12)
     
  • Our final chat is with Wing Commander Michael (Micka) Gray, officer commanding 6 Squadron and the world’s last F111 unit commander (starts at 2:20:42)

We also have a couple of “Shout Outs” in this episode:

  • Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith for her tireless efforts in making the Media Day run smoothly, not to mention herding us about the base and ensuring we didn’t wind up where we shouldn’t be (wonder if there’s a “Keeping media on track” medal in the ADF??? :)
  • Listener Chris Whyte who we met at RAAF Amberley has produced an F111 tribute video called “RAAF F-111 tribute feat. TV Rock – ‘In the Air’” – you can find it on YouTube and it’s well worth watching a few times