PCDU Episode 92: Helene Young – A Novel Approach to Flying

Episode 92 Cover Art

Kathy Mexted joins Steve & Grant to interview Helene Young, a Dash-8 pilot who’s written three great books based around pilots flying for Australia’s border patrol in the far north of Queensland. In addition to being a captain with the regionals, Helene has managed to juggle her home & social life with work and writing, producing three great books in a relatively short period of time.

Her first book (Wings of Fear) was released in 2011 and throws two female pilots & their crew against a bunch of terrorists attempting to infiltrate the country through the vast, empty stretches of coastline and baked earth in Australia’s north. The second book (Shattered Sky) was released earlier this year and takes one of the pilots into a whole new adventure deep in the Australian outback while Helene’s third book (Burning Lies) has just been released, bringing closure to the trilogy.

We chat with Helene about her career in aviation, what it’s like flying the Dash 8, where she gets her inspiration & ideas for her stories and much more. You can find additional information about Helene & her books via her website and follow her on Twitter via @HeleneYoung.

Helene with her latest book’s promotional poster

The whole episode unfolds as:

  • 0:02:44 – Our chat with Helene.
     
  • 0:42:58 – Steve’s interview with Peter Sobey, the Director and Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) at Sharp Airlines.
     
  • 0:54:11 – Grant’s chat with Chris Dewhirst, the first person to fly a hot air balloon over Mt Everest and also the person who started commercial hot air balloon flights over the city of Melbourne way back in 1986.
     
  • 1:01:54 – Anthony Simmons returns with another “View from the Lounge” segment that takes us Up, Up & Away in a continuation of the ballooning theme.
     
  • 1:06:51 – Our shout-outs this episode include:
    • Kathy says “Hi” to Mike Williamson (her newest online follower).
       
    • Gary Clarkson let us know about the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre‘s project to restore an Avro Anson plus their fly-in event coming up on October 20th.
       
    • The great New Zealand De Havilland Mosquito restoration project is coming along very nicely with first flight planned for September 29th at Ardmore in Auckland.
       
    • The “Will It Fly” project is almost ready to fly their Pearse replica (check them out on Facebook).
       
    • If you’re not already aware of it, you should be listening to the Wings Over New Zealand podcast, a great effort by Dave Homewood with awesome content that’s well worth listening to.

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:

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 64: Dick Smith – Setting it Straight

We are fortunate to have Dick Smith return to PCDU, joining us to discuss his views on Australia’s aviation environment. We talk about his time as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and then his return as chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. He mentions some of the initiatives he started that worked as well as some that didn’t quite work as planned. Dick also gives us a rather candid look at his views on user fees, ministers and what’s going wrong with aviation today.

Once again this discussion with Dick is sure to generate divided commentary from those in aviation, both old & new. If you’ve not already listened to our previous chat with Dick about his early flying adventures, you really should check it out now.

Following our chat with Dick we have a dramatic change of scene as the Infrequent Flyer (aka Anthony Simmons) returns to give us his View From the Lounge angle on the Avalon Airshow. Then, to answer Anthony’s question of “How it all flows together” we have ATC_Ben return to present his latest Controller’s Corner where he explains just what went on at Mercat Manor.

Following that we have a few interviews recorded at Avalon:

  • FLT LT Pete Komar, an F-18F Super Hornet pilot with the RAAF
  • BAe Hawk Mk127 techo LAC Brian Dick
  • Pilot Officer Emmanuel “Muz” Murray talks about flying the BAe Hawk Mk127
  • SGT Kerry Dimar who works in logistics with the BAe Hawk Mk127

To keep with the Fast Jets angle, we’ve thrown in some cockpit audio from Steve’s flight with Mark Pracy in JetRide’s L39 Albatros.

For this episode, we’ve dived into the mailbag to bring out:

We also give a shout out to:

PCDU Episode 60: Now the Party’s Over

The Australian International Airshow (aka Avalon 2011) is over but the show must go on. We have mountains of content from Avalon 2011 in addition to the interviews we released in each of our daily episodes.

Yes, that’s right: If you haven’t downloaded & listened to each of the daily episodes then you should stop right now and go do it. There is some amazing content in those episodes that will NOT be in the post-show Avalon episodes, including F22 Raptor pilots, B1B crew, Dr Brendan Nelson, remote tower systems, Simmo & the CA27 Sabre plus much much more.

This episode we focus on the Trade Show aspect of Avalon 2011, gathering together the interviews we recorded with various corporations during the first few days of the show:

After some intense trade show coverage, we also step back a bit with the latest ‘View from the Lounge’ update from Anthony Simmons before winding up the episode with some Listener Mail:

  • David Thornton says “Hi” from the UK and thinks our Avalon Quick Cast episodes were just like being there.
  • Mac Coble from Florida
  • Bruce Dickerson from Georgia

We also have a few important shout outs:

  • Gary Towart who helped escort us at the KC135 and warbirds tarmac, preventing us from getting hassled :)
  • MozzMan from SRS Photography who escorted us during our interviews with Nikolay, Bob, Kent & Chris plus took a few photos of us in action
  • Ian Kershaw who’s put together our new audience survey
  • We now have a PCDU Flickr stream where our Avalon 2011 photos are being loaded along with others from past events

Thanks once again for downloading & listening to our show. Be sure to catch up with our Avalon Daily episodes as there is lots of great content in those too.

PCDU Episode 47: Bull Me!

The 2010 RedBull AirRace season was exciting, eventful and disappointing all at once. From Adilson Kindleman’s crash in Perth to Hannes Arch’s pylon hit and Matt Hall’s “walk on water” incident, G-Stalls were everywhere. Then came the news that the last two races were cancelled and, finally, that the whole 2011 season was cancelled. As if the end of the season wasn’t bad enough, we were all stunned by the news that Alejandro Maclean had died in an aerobatic training accident.

We have already presented our “End of Season” chats with Hannes Arch and Matt Hall in previous episodes so in this one, we present our chats with Nigel Lamb and Pete McLeod.

We also officially announce the winners of our Flight City Simulator Centre B777 sim session prize (Graham Neal) and two runners up (Greg Spencer & David Mitchell), both of whom win PCDU T-Shirts.

We talk briefly about Qantas’ recent 90th Birthday event at Melbourne airport and play the quick chat we recorded with Juan Serrano, John Travolta’s chief pilot.

After another View from the Lounge segment, this time paying tribute to those serving in the military, we dive into our mailbag:

  • Steve Horton form Perth is worried that the RedBull AirRace will never return to Perth and lets us know about his great photo site
  • Peter Baxter wrote in asking about jet engine technology and again to share a great story about an Air New Zealand DC10 that helped a ferry flight in trouble over the Pacific
  • “brettkp” has some great feedback about episode 46 in our forums on Downwind

We give a shout-out to Pieter Johnson (@NascotHornet) in the UK who has just become a very proud father: welcome Beatrice :)

PCDU Episode 44: Hannes, Bas and the Rhino

In an effort to reassure you that we’re not trying to cut any corners as we build towards our 50th episode, this episode comes in at over 2 hours in length (our longest ever, in fact). It’s jam packed with great content, including:

  • A chat with Bas Scheffers about:

    • The impact of the Class D changes at Parafield
    • The flying he’s been doing lately in his Evektor Sportstar
    • The Parafield Airshow
    • How the Aeroscene Flying Group is going
    • A review of some of the latest RA-Aus developments (Recreational Aviation Australia)
       
  • A chat with Hannes Arch (Red Bull Air Race pilot) where we discuss his 2010 season and his plans for 2011/2012
     
  • An interview with an F18F pilot that David Vanderhoof recorded at the Oceana Air Show
     
  • A discussion between Steve & David about the history of the F18, its current status with the Super Hornet (aka Rhino) and the implications of the F35 JSF
     
  • Controllers Corner #2
     
  • The View from the Lounge: “Monkey in Business”
     
  • We read some mail & forum items:
  • We give a set of Shout Outs to:
    • The Flying Ant podcast by Anthony Crichton-Browne (a 767 pilot) who also has a blog
    • The Flaps Podcast from the UK is an awesome new show – we highly recommend it
    • Andrew Offen from Brisbane took Grant & Nykolai for a flight in his Cirrus SR22 with the new Avidyne Release 9 package – an amazing aircraft & systems and a lot of fun catching up with Andrew for a flight
    • Brendan Viti is getting his IFR rating – wow!

Please note that our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com and our theme music track is “YouNameIt5″ by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5).

PCDU Episode 42: Wings Down Under

This episode we’re joined by Will Horton from the Wings Down Under blog to chat about recent aviation news items. We also have Anthony Simmons returning for another View from the Lounge segment and a chat with Damien Rose about his flight training up in Toowoomba. The episode wraps up with some listener mail and a shout out so it’s a little long but that should make up for the three Election QuickCast episodes we released recently :)

The list of topics we discussed with Will Horton include:

  • A review of the recent Asia/Pacific Aviation Outlook Summit in Sydney
  • The Asia/Pacific outlook for airlines includes a prediction for strong growth
  • “Buy local” for Russia (Sukhoi) & China (Comac) plus India building up its local aeronautics capabilities along with Mahindra & Mahindra buying into Australian aviation companies such as Gippsland Aeronautics
  • Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A350-900 order
  • V Australia’s 777 useage in Fiji & Bali plus the use of wide bodies (eg: 767/A330) on domestic routes due to slot restrictions
  • Qantas wanting to fly 787s into China & on to Europe
  • Jetstar being boosted over Qantas (if it’s new it’s JQ) and using Singapore as a hub into Europe
  • Qantas’s new smart card system for check-in that relies on elite frequent flyers who are with Qantas, not Jetstar
  • AirAsia setting up a Frequent Flyer program
  • Crawford Rix @ Tiger Airways is against frequent flyer programs as they’re anticompetitive and is hinting that Tiger could go down the RyanAir path (standing seats, pay loos, etc) – at least for the publicity :)
  • Customers in Australia and Asia/Pacific wanting a higher level of standards
  • Tiger setting up a franchise in Thailand (51% Thai owned but still Tiger Thailand)
  • China more likely to have standing seats as the Chinese can lay down the law for their own operations – no need to align with FAA/EASA standards although they’re investing in highspeed trains)
  • AirAsia wants to enter the Australian domestic & trans-tasman market
  • The high quality of the AirAsia experience (a discount carrier that doesn’t nickle & dime their passengers) will hit Jetstar hard
  • Pacific Blue is pulling out of the New Zealand domestic market
  • Repurposing of V Australia’s 777s off the Fiji route
  • United is not worried about Delta-V
  • Qantas’ financial results

Steve & Grant also talk afterwards about Virgin Blue’s financial results which came out after we spoke with Will, along with their news about adding A330s, dropping the E170s (while keeping the E190s) and linking up with Etihad.

PCDU Episode 34: Arching over the Swamp

This episode we feature an interview with Hannes Arch, the Austrian Red Bull champion in 2008 who came second in 2009 and is currently second on points for 2010. We have a great chat with Hannes about his involvement in extreme sports, his love of flying and his approach to the Red Bull racing world.

We were also fortunate to get some time with Gary Clark, the creator of the Swamp cartoon strip. Gary’s experiences in learning to fly and his on going adventures in the air have provided a solid source of inspiration for many of the characters & moments depicted in the Swamp series. It is not uncommon to find his cartoons on the walls in flying clubs & schools, hangars and aviation organisations.

This episode also includes the following:

  • A discussion with Angie Morino from Aus Air Services about the changes they’ve made at the Tooradin Flying School (YTDN).
     
  • Grant’s quick chat with Richard Turnbull, a hot air balloon pilot from the UK
     
  • Anthony Simmons’ latest View from the Lounge segment
     
  • Our listener mail, including:
    • Stephen Silk points us at Ask the Pilot
       
    • Steven Pam provides still more checklist examples
       
    • Trent Donnovan from WA shows that Jandakot (YPJT) is only just behind Bankstown (YSBK) for total movements in February

  • We give a few shout outs:
    • The Airplane Geeks podcast reaches 100 episodes – well done guys!
       
    • We’ve launched our PCDU Commentaries blog
       
    • Kathy Mexted mentioned us in her article about the Melton Centenary Air Show that appeared in AOPA’s Australian Pilot magazine
       
    • Milford & Charlie from the Flight Time Radio Show over in Florida
       
    • Don’t forget to give PCDU a good comment (or two :) ) over at the iTunes store

PCDU Episode 32: Switch to Plan Delta

This episode features a discussion with Peter Gibson, the manager of corporate communications at CASA. He’s joined us to explain the airspace changes that will come into effect on June 3rd, changes which will impact Class D, see the transition of GAAP to Class D and introduce the mandatory carriage of radios at all certified, registered or military non-towered aerodromes (plus any others as designated in the ERSA).

We also talk to Owen Zupp just before he departed on his There and Back trip around Australia as well as Tim Pryse and Ken Evers a few days prior to the start of their Millions Against Malaria trip around the world. We feature another “View from the Lounge” and introduce ATC_Ben‘s new “Controllers Corner” segment.

As we wind up the show, we discuss the Australian Capital Territory funding yet another feasibility study for a much needed secondary airport near Canberra. You can read more about it in an news entry from Australian Aviation and also follow up progress through the Canberra Region Aviators Association web site.

If you want to see a 737-200 land at Jandakot (Perth’s secondary airport), check out the video of the landing that Ed Stubbs pointed us at. Not bad.

Just in time to make our cut off for this episode, we had a quick chat with Owen as he was half way around his trip. A great update on his progress and how things have been going.