It’s time to dig into the recently released Defence Strategic Review to assess its impacts on the Australian Defence Force from an aviation perspective. For this episode we’re joined by award winning defence and aerospace journalist Andrew McLaughlin, who helps assess the changes we can expect to see over the next few years. A big […]
With the recent release of the Defence Strategic Review by the Australian Federal Government, a major focus has been put on long range missiles for use by Army, Navy and Air Force to deter a potential adversary from approaching our island continent and/or blockading our ocean supply routes. With this in mind, we release an […]
Imagine a hoard of RV-6s & RV-7s flying in close formation and performing solo & pair aerobatics. Sounds intense? Well, wait for the Pacific Airshow at the Gold Coast to find out how it looks & sounds. Meanwhile, Mark Newton is one of the pilots in the Freedom Formation and he talks us through his […]
The Australian International Airshow in 2023 (aka Avalon 2023) saw not only huge crowds and amazing displays in the air, but also the end of an era as Peter Meehan performed his last show as “The Voice of Avalon,” handing over the reigns to Tony Moclair. It also saw Grant join Angela Stevenson as part […]
Imagine a hoard of RV-6s & RV-7s flying in close formation and performing solo & pair aerobatics. Sounds intense? Well, wait for the Pacific Airshow at the Gold Coast to find out how it looks & sounds. Meanwhile, Mark Newton is one of the pilots in the Freedom Formation and he talks us through his aviation history, his aircraft and the genesis of the show. All this plus a flying car and our Maine Man Micah sends through some audio to include. Check out how it unwinds below :)
02:10 Mark Newton talks about his flying background, his RV-6 and the Freedom Formation.
16:50 We continue our chat with Mark and discuss the Pacific Airshow being held in August on the Gold Cost.
25:55 Lets talk flying cars with Jacky Yang about the Pegasus which blends the needs of road rules with CASA’s rules for the air.
37:36 Micah Engber has sent through a piece welcoming PCDU back to the airwaves with references to the great land down under.
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 :) ).
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 – 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 – 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!
During August, Grant spent a week in Darwin covering Exercise Pitch Black 2014, a major multinational “war game” exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force. Held every two years, Pitch Black is Australia’s version of the Red Flag training exercises held in the USA and in 2014 the RAAF was joined by forces from the US, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Grant joined Andrew McLaughlin, Nigel Pittaway, Mike Yeo and Eng Tiong Ow to experience fantastic access to the local & visiting forces thanks to the efforts of FLTLT Eamon Hamilton. From meeting with representatives from each group attending Pitch Black to being beside the runways & taxiways at Darwin & Tindal, we were able to capture some fantastic photos, videos & interviews.
In addition to Grant’s collection of Pitch Black 2014 content, Steve & ATC Ben recorded a chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book and his ideas for future projects.
At the time we recorded the wrappers for this episode, Steve was about to head to the USA for a family holiday and to cover the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas while Grant was geting ready to go to Auckland for the Wings Over New Zealand forum gathering. Unfortunately there were delays in getting everything finished so the episode didn’t come out until after the boys had left on their flights. Go figure :)
The episode’s details are:
0:08:20 – Grant’s coverage of Exercise Pitch Black 2014
0:09:22 – General media “door stop” interview with GPCAPT “Micka” Gray
0:17:05 – FLTLT Ben Daly talks about the roles of Air Combat Officer (ACO) and Fighter Combat Controller (FCC)
0:22:03 – FLGOFF Kathryn Koslowicz talks about the day to day tasks of an Air Combat Officer (ACO) and being deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO)
0:26:31 – FLTLT Ben Daly takes us through No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit’s operations cabins and how they’re used to deploy & manage operations in remote locations
0:31:25 – SQNLDR Tim Main reviews the RAAF’s new E7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft
0:40:15 – Lt Col Scott Arbogast is the commander of the US ANG F16s & he tells us about their role in the exercise
0:46:02 – CMSgt Joseph Smiley discusses the logistics behind getting the US ANG F16s to Australia, keeping them running here and then getting them back home afterwards
0:52:34 – WGCDR Ben Sleeman, CO of 77 SQN, tells us about being the defender
1:00:42 – SQNLDR Rob Crawford talks about the 37SQN C130J he brought up to Tindal
1:04:56 – WOFF Kyle Lovett is a refuelling operator (aka “boomer”) on 33SQN’s KC30A MRTTs and he walks us through a typical mission they’ve been flying
1:14:39 – FLTLT Adam Rouessart & FLGOFF Matthew Bleach were the crew for the F18F Super Hornet handling display during the week
1:18:52 – CASA CN235 crew from the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia
1:29:24 – RTAF WGCDR Titan
1:33:44 – Mick Gablonski is the CHC base manager for the S61 SAR helicopter at Tindal
1:42:19 – Nobby has been part of the team restoring Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair & he lets us in on some of the effort required to bring it to flight status
1:48:05 – Steve & ATC Ben chat with Ryan Campbell about his new book “Born to Fly” and his ideas for the future
2:15:11 – Steve & Grant return to wrap up the episode with the following shout outs:
Paul Burfitt from Project 64 helped us to make the Airbus A350 XWB gig a success
We have A350 XWB themed wallpapers available for your phones & tablets that help make your device look cool and also help promote PCDU
With the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show only a couple of days away, we thought we’d mix up some content that promotes the event as well as some chats Grant recorded with a number of past & present members of the RAAF at the Temora Aviation Museum’s “Warbirds Down Under” event back in November. To round the whole thing off, we’ve also got Steve’s chat with Tammy Augostin about the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event that will be running from March 3rd to 9th around the world.
The episode’s content run is:
Steve & Grant give an overview of what to expect in the episode
0:09:42 – Grant catches up with Air Marshal Mark Binskin at the Temora Aviation Museum to discuss his career, the role of Vice Chief of the Defence Force and flying his Cessna O-1 Birddog
0:15:57 – Air Vice Marshal (retired) Mark Skidmore talks to us about flying the Bristol Boxkite replica
0:43:01 – Dick Simms talks about being an Officer Cadet in the RAAF & flying Mustangs, Vampires & Meteors then his career selling aircraft and his restoration of a 1930’s Ryan STM that can now be found at the Temora Aviation Museum
0:58:10 –Mick Haxel (DFC) chats with Grant about his career in the military and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the time that it became the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before winding up with his current position with Flight Safety Pty Ltd. He also talks about how he was awarded DFC for his flying in Vietnam (Audio courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)
All good things take time & so do our episodes, with this one taking perhaps the longest to produce of any of them. It’s also packed full of great content covering magazine editors, wing walkers, AOPA, another give-away competition, antique aircraft, solo trips around the world & even hot air balloons. Make use of the pause button where you need to but be sure to listen right through to the very end of the episode for another set of classic “Kathy Mexted Bloopers” :)
This episode is indeed a basket full of flight & it unfolds as:
0:03:30 – We chat with Kathy Mexted about her father, Pat Whitty, who passed away recently. She mentions his influence on her flying and their flights in VH-MAU, a 1978 Piper Warrior
0:50:32 – Maikha Ly went to the Antique Aircraft Association of Australia’s annual fly-in at Echuca and recorded some great content for us. You can find the photos he took on his Echuca Flickr collection
1:34:48 – Steve chats with Ryan Campbell two days prior to starting his TeenWorldFlight adventure
1:45:52 – Grant recently took Kathy for a balloon flight over Bacchus Marsh while listener Evan Schoo tagged along with the ground crew & got some great photos of the flight. During the flight, Grant & Kathy recorded a quick in-flight chat that we listen to here, after which, Steve asks Kathy just how the flight really went!
2:15:34 – We have another give-away this episode with Owen Zupp‘s second (& trickier!) question about famous Australian aviators. The first five (5) people to email us the correct answer at email@example.com will win a copy of Owen’s “50 Tales of Flight” eBook.
2:17:47 – Listener Mail:
SoapyHB noted that the Concorde prototype was in Melbourne in 1972 while British Airways ran some proving flights in 1975 with a production aircraft. He also really enjoyed our Avalon 2013 coverage and admits to being a real fan of Anthony’s The View from the Lounge segments. Finally, he wonders how we manage to do all this and yet still stay married … yup, so do we! :)
Mick (aka Bom1) sent through some great comments on lap belts in aircraft having the potential to cause severe abdominal & spinal injuries in a crash (note: rather topical given the reports of similar injuries in survivors of the Asiana crash at San Francisco)
Brian Grinter sent through a link to photos of Peter Jackson’s Lancaster that will be used for his remake of The Dam Busters. As Brian says: “It’s not your average Airfix kit!” :) :)
2:26:39 – We’ve been hearing from many people about issues at RA-Aus and are considering producing a show dedicated to the topic. Do you have any recommendations for people & issues you’d like to have covered in such an episode?
2:29:09 – We’re now producing a weekly 1 hour radio show for Kinglake Ranges Radio, a local community radio station. You can tune in at 9am on Saturday’s (Melbourne time) via 94.5FM or via their livestream feed
As noted, the Kathy Mexted driven bloopers can be found at 2:34:25 – definitely worth checking out :)
As 2012 draws to a close come & spend a bit of time with Steve, Grant, Bas & ATC Ben as they wrap up the year with some new content, some discussions and a bit of fun. It’s another long episode but we think it’s a pretty good way to send out the year :)
The episode unfolds as:
0:03:30 – We discuss issues CASA are having with RA-Aus that has seen a number of LSA grounded due to administrative issues, one of which was Bas’ own aircraft
1:32:12 – Tech in the cockpit comes up along with the inevitable IOS vs Android vs Windows 8 with Bas in the Blue Corner and Grant in the Red Corner. DING!!!!
1:33:16 – Ben Jones sends us a Christmas greeting
1:33:39 – Damien Rose also sends us a Christmas greeting
1:25:12 – We spend some time reviewing the highlights of 2012, including:
Grant got his balloon license
ATC_Ben went to the USA and Oshkosh 2012
Steve got a C130 ride over Sydney
Bas changed his work and lifestyle to focus on OzRunways, allowing him to work for himself and move to a property where he’s setting up a runway on the front yard (now, where have we heard *that* phrase before? :) )
1:43:49 – We look forward to 2013 and talk a little about our Avalon 2013 plans and how we’re always up for new sponsors for our Avalon coverage
1:50:13 – We give shout-outs to those who have helped us over 2012, including:
After a number of years and the inevitable stumbling blocks that life throws at us, Grant has finally become a balloon pilot having completed his check flight up at Mildura just the other day. From how the final stages of solos & check flight unfolded to a comparison of “first solo” moments, Steve & Grant talk briefly about the realisation that a new license & $5 can now buy you a beer…
Meanwhile, Bas & AntCB join Steve to talk iPad aviation apps, Pieter Johnson interviews Australians at Farnborough 2012, Steve & Bas talk to Peter Gibson from CASA about the new Class 2 Medicals, we talk to Aviation Australia about their training courses & Aviation Careers Expo and Grant chats with Alan Joyce (no, really! :)
Many people in Australia know of Tim Smith, a Melbourne comedian who’s worked on television and in radio for years. What many people don’t know is that Tim is a pilot who is working towards his goal of running charter operations taking people around Australia, visiting places many folks have never heard of let alone visited.
We were fortunate enough to get some time chatting with Tim in one of the briefing rooms at Moorabbin Flying Services where we had a great time talking about a variety of topics, including:
The number of people in radio who have their pilots license
The difficulties of juggling radio work with learning to fly & the challenge of time management
What influenced him to become a pilot
How flying saved his life
Amusing flying stories about instructors, examiners and experiences
Aircraft he’s flown and ratings he has, including a great look at glass cockpits vs steam gauge
His interest in flying people around Australia on charter work, going to places like Fraser Island, Daly Waters, Alice Springs, Darwin, Birdsville, etc
How he’s often doing lots of exploring from the air & going to out of the way places & experiencing the outback scenery & friendliness
Aviation TV shows in Australia
The impact of government legislation and ideas to get more people flying
Flying in New Zealand
It’s a great chat and we’re very happy that Tim was able to give us so much of his time on the AFL Grand Final day (when almost the whole of Victoria and most of the rest of Australia stop to watch football).
Almost one year after the QF32 incident, Qantas is again in the news around the world and for a short time again appeared to be on the brink of a major disaster. At 5pm on Saturday the 29th of October, Alan Joyce (CEO of Qantas) announced that he & the board of directors had decided to ground all of Qantas’ domestic & international flights (about 108 aircraft). This unprecedented step disrupted the travel plans of almost 70,000 passengers in order to avoid a “death by a thousand paper cuts” due to ongoing damage from industrial disputes with three unions.
The three unions represented the pilots, engineers and baggage handlers working for Qantas’ “mainline” operations. The Jetstar, QantasLink and JetConnect operations were not involved in the grounding.
We have assembled a collection of discussions with a number of people involved in the disputes or monitoring it from the outside. It is our intention that we provide you with an overview of what has happened, why it happened and where things might go from here. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, our time is not rigidly controlled so our guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.
While we also express our own views during this episode, we have tried to present enough information for you to get a better understanding of the situation & form your own decisions.
We’d also like to thank Colin Lipiatt, the Manager of Coporate Communications at Virgin Australia, for taking the time to chat with us about their ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While we couldn’t include him in the show, he provided plenty of useful information for us.
While putting this episode together we did attempt to contact Qantas’ media department to arrange a representative who could talk to us about the items raised during the discussions listed above. Unfortunately we did not hear back from them and can only assume that, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time for us.
We trust that you’ll enjoy this special episode of content specifically covering the Qantas Grounding situation. It’s been a marathon effort to arrange & record the interviews then put it all together for you. It has certainly been educational & eye opening for us as we discussed the issues with our guests, and that’s got to be a good thing :)