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 […]
Rumours of our demise have, sadly, been accurate … well, until now that is!
We’re back and looking to give PCDU another whirl with a new series coming out shortly, but we thought a good way to get back in the groove would be to do that “Farewell” episode we’d planned to do *way* back in 2018. We are indebted to those who sent in the amazing farewell messages you’re going to hear in this episode, but don’t forget to stick around to the end and hear what’s coming up.
Meanwhile, here’s how this episode’s farewell messages unfold around our chatting:
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!
As the final hours of 2014 draw to a close, we’re getting our last episode for 2014 out the door. The boys have been kept pretty busy with their day jobs lately but, despite this, they’ve managed to do some flying:
Grantâ€™s been taking friends on their first balloon flights including Evan Schoo and Darren Craven
Fred Samson took Steve for a fly over San Francisco while he was there a back in October
Grant attended the media launch for the Avalon Airshow which was held in the old Qantas hangar where they used to park a 747 while doing heavy maintenance on it. There was wind on the hangar walls, doors opening, vehicles moving and people talking which all made it a rather â€œinterestingâ€ place to record the following chats:
0:16:29 – Jeff â€œTrappoâ€ Trappett finally gets a chance to appear on PCDU (that or he couldnâ€™t run away fast enough :) ) and talks to Grant about his P51, his C47 & his Sabre
0:22:34 – Paul Bennet talks about his new Wolf Pitts aircraft, the manoeuvres itâ€™s letting him do and where things are at with Paul Bennet Airshows (sounds like heâ€™s got a bit of an airforce happening :) )
0:26:36 – Darren Craven talks about owning & flying a Winjeel
0:33:30 – Gordon Robinson talks about flying Australiaâ€™s only Fokker Dr.1 triplane replica all the way down to Melbourne from Brisbane
0:39:38 – Andrew Carter owns & flies the Dr.1 replica that Gordon flew down. He talks to us about setting up the Australian Vintage Aviation Society to commemorate WW1 & bring to life aircraft of the era.
0:48:28 – Of course, there wouldnâ€™t be aircraft at Avalon without a session on Timboâ€™s Tarmac and Grant made sure to record one at this event
Back in October, Steve went to the USA to experience the Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas (his family still thinks it was a family trip :) ). While at the event he recorded the following interviews:
0:54:27 – Matt Hall talks about his results in the Fort Worth race & the challenges he’s found this season
0:59:33 – Eric Cieslar & Peter Wezenbeek are Matt Hall’s race technician & race tactician and they talk about their roles in keeping Matt flying in top form during the races
1:05:30 – Hannes Arch talks about standardised engines and how they’ve highlighted the pilot’s skills as opposed to engine power
1:09:06 – Kirby Chambliss talks about the challenges he’s faced this season and the changes he’ll be making for the next season
1:13:42 – Mike Goulian talks about his involvement with Cirrus aircraft and the hassles he’s worked through this season
1:19:48 – Steve catches up with Matt once again just prior to the start of the second day to discuss qualifying
1:21:55 – Steve presents a wrap up of the race after the winds came up and they had to cancel the day’s flying (audio courtesy of the Red Bull Air Race content pool)
As Steve was on a Qantas A380 heading to the USA, Grant was on an Air New Zealand A320 heading to New Zealand to attend the Wings Over New Zealand Forum gathering at Ardmore Airport near Auckland. More than just a gathering, this event included plenty of presentations on great topics, all hosted within the New Zealand Warbirds hangar. While Dave Homewood is releasing much of the content from the event on his Wings Over New Zealand show, Grant recorded a few items of his own:
1:33:54 – Brett Nicholls talks about owning two ex-RNZAF BAC 167 Strikemasters and what it’s taken to get them running for publically available joy flights with Jetfighter Military Adventure Flights
1:42:20 – Grant got the opportunity to take a ride in a DH.83 Fox Moth along with fellow passenger Grant Newman. In addition to recording some of the sounds from the flight, he also chatted with Graham Wood about his career and flying the DH.83
While Grant didn’t get a chance to record with Melanie Salisbury from Aviation Tours NZ, she did pass on some information about their â€œPlanes, Trains & Automobilesâ€ tour of the UK in July 2015 which includes Duxfordâ€™s â€œFlying Legendsâ€ airshow. It looks like a great tour with plenty of aviation goodness packed into it :)
1:48:38 – Steve & Grant wrap up the year including a couple of items from the mailbag (including Luke Murphy, Andrew Brown & Shaun Dwyer) and a few shout outs for the end of the year:
Steve & Grant have been enjoying the new Spotters Mag, an eMag for aviation spotters with a version just for Australia & New Zealand. Highly recommended!