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

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

  • Hi guys. Another great show – well done.

    I wrote a long post on the needs for flying school owners to take responsibility for building sustainable career paths for instructors but it’s probably an argument best left for another time.

    Basically, instructors move into other areas of the industry *not* because it’s a so-called ‘natural progression’… they do so because salary and conditions for instructors are pathetic leaving little choice but to vacate the grass roots of the industry (that requires them the most) for pastures that will pay them as professionals.

  • I should have added that RB pay their instructors more than most schools and their admirable commitment to their staff is something that went undiscussed. I used to fly a Pitts (ZZZ) years ago and listening to Joel talk was enough to convince me that I need to get back out there and have a fly! “Pushing buttons” gets boring. My gravatar is upside down for a reason :)

  • When customers shop only on price and vendors do not educate them on the many variables involved in setting their prices, you get a race-to-the-bottom situation where competing vendors keep reducing their rates to “win the customer.” To reduce their price, something has to be reduced and that something is typically quality in one of many forms.

    In buying flights, quality of in-flight experience is generally reduced to provide the low low fares, leading to the RyanAir environment of “pay for everything, get treated like crap.”

    In flight instruction, you wind up with older equipment and instructors getting paid a pittance.

    The old rules in business apply:
    1) Never get into a competition on price alone
    2) Educate the customer on what else is important beyond the price

    There’ll always be RyanAir customers, but other airlines can market their higher fares with clever reminders of the sacrifices made to fly with them (poor service, pay n pay n pay, etc). Of course, for this to work, the other airlines need to have better service, fewer charges, etc :)

    In flight training, it’s a matter of identifying instructors who are in for the love of training, not just to build hours and then rewarding them accordingly. Naturally the student will pay more per flight hour, but the benefits should far outweigh the pure costs (instructors who understand how to teach, better learning per hour, safer pilots, better equipment with less faults, etc).

    The key is to educate the customer on why a simple “cost per hour” comparison is inappropriate in the flight training environment :)

  • Dom Airger

    Another great episode guys! There’s some Euros donation on the way to your continent.

    I personally liked the ‘essbuck’ pronounciation of the Sbach brand ;) Took me some time to realize that it’s a word in my native language and a well known aerobatics airplane ;)


  • Hey Dom – glad you’re enjoying the show. I hope our pronunciation of the “essbuck” wasn’t too badly butchered for you :)

    We’re looking forward to receiving our first ever Euro-donation. Any legal tender works for us :)



  • Thanks – Joel sent them through when I asked for a couple for the show notes :)

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