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 […]
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 change is the focus on long range strike and missiles for RAAF, Navy and Army to help keep potential adversaries at a distance. We also touch on the lack of news regarding additional F-35s or MQ-4C Tritons, the B-21 Raider being ruled out (for now) and Army’s transition from ARH Tiger and MRH-90 Taipan to AH-64 Apache and UH-60M Blackhawk.
We also ask where we’ll get enough people from to crew all the platforms, look at the types of drones we’re likely to have and the focus on hypersonics and other advanced technologies under AUKUS Pillar 2. There’s a lot to dig into so this episode is a double-length special, running for almost an hour, but that’s what the pause/resume button is for, right? :)
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 interview recorded at Avalon 2023 with John Fry, general manager of Kongsberg Defence Australia, covering their National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile, their Naval Strike Missile, its Coastal Defence System variant, and the Joint Strike Missile for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Following Kongsberg, we present a discussion with Mark Robinson, head of Air Traffic Management at Frequentis Australasia. We cover their latest remote digital tower technology and its applications in civilian and military markets. It’s certainly a technology that could be of great use to Airservices here in Australia as well as to the RAAF’s 44WG who provide Air Traffic Control at military air fields and bases.
The two discussions can be found at the following points in the episode:
Steve, Grant and Maikha were on-site at Avalon recording plenty of content and this episode is our first collection of audio content covering some of the companies, people and aircraft we encountered while there. Steve & Grant have already started editing the next batch of content for Episode 131 and Maikha’s starting to wade through all the video he collected so we can show you a few of the sights from the event (and there were many!).
For now, enjoy Episode 130 (Avalon 2017 – Alpha) which unfolds as:
0:03:18 – Grant meets with Kimberley Turner, CEO and founder of Aerosafe, and chats about her love of aviation, founding Aerosafe twenty years ago and the company’s operations in the aviation safety and risk management environment.
0:19:18 – Steve catches up with Patrick Coleman from Garmin to review a number of their products including the G1000 & glass cockpits, ADSB transponders, the G5 digital primary attitude indicator, the status of ADSB deployment in the USA and Australia and interfacing with their systems via tablets and cards.
0:26:14 – Maikha talks to Associate Professor Andrew Kornberg about his flying experiences, the Fly for the Kids charity that he runs and the month long circumnavigation of Australia flight he is about to start to raise funds for the charity.
0:40:02 – Steve chats with Matt Hall about the F-35A compared to the F/A-18A Classic Hornet then tells us about his new aircraft for this season’s Red Bull Air Race.
0:49:00 – Steve reminds you to leave us a review on iTunes or help support the show via our Patreon page.
0:50:22 – Grant walks through the Rocket Route fuel app with Kurt Lyall and then talks with Alan Wilson about AirBP‘s sponsorship of the app.
1:00:23 – During the show Steve was exercising his radio reporter voice and provided a number of F-35A related bulletins for Australian Independent Radio News, one of which we’ve included here.
1:00:52 – Steve tries to get Kreisha Ballentyne-Dickes’ awesome job with Cirrus Australia but she was too quick for that so instead they talk about Cirrus aircraft, training packages and the SF50 Vision jet.
1:07:22 – Grant once again gets to hang out with Heidi Fedak, Gulfstream‘s Director of Corporate Communications, as they chat inside a G650ER. It’s an amazing corporate jet and the perfect location to talk about Gulfstream’s biggest & fastest jet, their range and the current corporate market.
1:16:42 – It wouldn’t be PCDU’s Avalon coverage if we didn’t have a Timbo’s Tarmac section and this time Steve joins Grant to chat with Timbo and he braves the background noise of a BAE Hawk 127 flying past then an F-16 starting up to tell us what’s been happening air-side at the show.
Steve & Grant have both been back to school in the past week with Steve revisiting his old high school (Brentwood Secondary College and yes, it’s still standing) where they have a great aviation curriculum. Meanwhile, Grant’s been out to Bacchus Marsh airport to the TVSA flying school’s open day. This one’s a short episode as we’re trying to get some topical information out before Avalon Air Show 2017 starts this week.
The episode starts with Steve & Grant catching up on their adventures and unfolds as:
0:00:35 – Steve’s moved into a new house and set up a dedicated studio in the process.
0:02:35 – Grant’s finally had an official RAAF media ride: he was invited to fly on the RAAF’s new C-27J Spartan. Yay!
0:10:42 – Steve & Grant review the information being presented in this episode.
0:24:33 – Steve interviews Chris Barry from the Brentwood Secondary College about their aviation sciences program, the simulators they have on site and the RAAF visiting with their F/A-18 simulator.
0:31:08 – Steve & Grant discuss the upcoming Avalon Air Show 2017 where Grant’s day job will have him attending meetings & seminars and also presenting a short summary of his recent Australian Defence Magazine article for a Plan Jericho workshop. Meanwhile, Steve will be doing video presentations with AOPA Australia at their tent in the GA area.
0:40:45 – Steve’s recently provided commentary at the Hunter Valley Air Show with Ando and Grant’s going to be providing commentary at the Barossa Air Show with Maikha.
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!
We’ve released out latest episode at last and it’s got a stack of great content, including some very detailed information about planning & performing the F-18 Handling Display at the Tyabb Air Show in 2014 and doing an F-18’s preflight inspection. All that plus information about the Triton and Fire Scout unmanned aerial systems, managing the C-17 in the RAAF, the Japanese Air Self Defence Force KC-767, MAF and Mahindra’s GA-10.
The Australian International Airshow (aka Avalon Airshow) may well be over for 2015 but our collection of content recorded at the show is still being worked on. Here’s another hour of interviews & discussions and we suspect there may be another two episodes before we’re through with all of it. This is what happens when you let Steve, Grant & Maikha run loose with audio recorders at an airshow :)
Steve kicks us off with an overview of the episode which unfolds as:
0:02:42 – Grant caught up with Richard Woodward but instead of chatting in his usual ride (an A380), they’re chatting about the new coaxial rotor helicopters he’s working on with Coax Helicopters. They’re amazing machines that are being targeted at those who like to ride sports bikes without fairings.
0:10:45 – Peta Denham Harvey is the vice president of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (Victorian Branch) and she tells Maikha about the Round Australia Relay which features women pilots flying around australia to raise money for the Cancer Council. The relay started during the Avalon Airshow and will conclude in April at the AWPA conference in Launceston (Tasmania).
0:16:21 – Grant talks with GPCAPT Guy Adams regarding Unmanned Aerial Systems within the Australian Defence Force ranging from backpack units Army squads can use through to Global Hawk & Triton. The discussions also covers how the Heron UAV is operating with the RAAF after Afghanistan, the Scan Eagle platform trials, operations with Reapers in the USA and what was involved in getting a Global Hawk to land at Avalon Airport.
0:49:03 – Maikha’s managed to get into the belly of an RJ85 Fire Fighting aircraft that’s been derived from a BAe146. He’s with Ray Horton from ConAir in Canada and they’re talking about Ray’s career, ConAir’s operations, the RJ85 and fire bombing in Australia.
1:01:06 – Grant got to take a break with Jodi Davis and review what she’s been up to over the last 18 months including her aerobatic flying and working as Matt Hall Racing’s domestic business development manager based at Belmont Airport in Pelican (New South Wales).
1:06:18 – With a live-to-the-mic intro from Allan Van’t Padje, Timbo joins Grant to give us yet another Timbo’s Tarmac with the inside word on the Avalon warbird tarmac, some fun with soft ground and storing aircraft in the now empty ex-Qantas hangars.
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
Steve’s very happy to have finally started converting currency into currency as he’s logging hours in a Flysynthesis Texan and progressing towards getting his RA-Aus license. Grant’s been too busy with work to get many hours but did finally get to log some “special shape” time in his balloon logbook. Naturally, both Steve & Grant are VERY happy to have finally released another episode.
This episode the boys are joined by Kathy Mexted and Maikha Ly so you know the blooper reel at the end will be “interesting” to say the least. Kathy & her hubby have been flying their Piper Cub while Maikha’s been flying for work but, thanks to Adelaide’s weather lately and a recent house purchase, he’s not been able to do any personal flying.
Before chatting with Tony Maher (volunteer), Grant also recorded the sound of Tony demonstrating the electrically driven mid-upper turret
0:50:41 – Kathy chats with Kinglsey Just about setting the Guinness World Record for the most continuous rolls performed in an aircraft (an amazing 987 in his Pitts Special!). They talk about the planning & preparation, the method, the reason and how it all worked out (complete with a dramatic ending). They also talk about his interest in aviation including his gliding & flying tow planes in Europe.
1:05:08 – Maikha was with us at the RAAF’s Pt Cook event and he spent most of his time with the antiques and warbirds where he recorded the following:
Chris Shine with his Beech Staggerwing
Kevin Bailey and his Stinson Reliant
Allan Harding and his MkIII Auster
Allan’s young assistant Lloyd Galloway talks about flying, the RA-Aus scholarship he was awarded and his involvement with the Auster
Steve Death talks about the Southern Knights formation team
Robert ‘Bob’ StJohn, a Vietnam veteran, volunteers with HARS to help keep the Caribou flying. He talks about what’s involved in keeping it going and his experiences in Vietnam with “Wallaby Airlines” (the RAAF’s Caribou operations)
Warren Gengos flies the HARS PBY Catalina
1:42:55 – John “Viper” Fisher from Top Gun Australia talks about Top Gun Australia’s operations, flying the L-39, being a WSO on the F-4 & flying the A-10 with the USAF plus his exchange rotation with the French
1:59:04 – We come back for some shout outs:
Thanks to Barry Moore for suggesting we chat with John Fisher
Shane Simpson has recently completed his first solo in a Cessna 152 at Moorabbin (YMMB). Onya mate!
Congratulations to Anthony Crichton-Browne and his wife Prudence for the recent arrival of their son Andrew
Our friend Owen Zupp who is making the transition from Boeing 737s to a command position with Jetstar A320s as well as releasing his new book “50 More Tales of Flight” and his new site “The Pilots Blog“
Grant’s ecstatic to hear that OzRunways are producing an Android version of their app (“Project Marvin” – awesome! :) ). With AvPlan also producing an Android version, Grant is very happy to not need to buy an iThing :)
Congratulations to Steven Pam who has done a marathon effort producing the Tyabb Airshow DVD and also to Karl von Moller from the Broken Wings project who’s been helping out as well
Music for this episode was “Short Change Hero” by “The Heavy” (2009 on Counter Records)
Australia has recently confirmed that it will purchase a total of 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for use in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) but how will these high-tech new aircraft be integrated with our current operations? Will someone just click their fingers and voila?
Naturally, there’s lots of items to consider ranging from staffing & training through to tarmac upgrades and there’s something about ALIS…
We’re joined by Andrew McLaughlin from COMINT to discuss the F-35 aircraft, the program and its potential operations within the RAAF. We also feature a number of interviews with Lockheed Martin staff and AVM Kym “Koz” Osley gives us an in-depth coverage of the huge project that will bring the F-35 to full operational status within the RAAF.