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 […]
The new series has officially launched with the release of this episode and, what better way to come back to the world than at the Australian International Airshow (aka Avalon 2023) where we caught up with plenty of old friends and made lots of new contacts. It seems only fitting that our first released content should be chats with Matt Hall, Bas Scheffers and Bob Carlton so lets get into the show.
04:56 Matt Hall talks about getting through COVID, the potential for something like the Red Bull Air Race to return, the Gold Coast Air Show, flying the Avanti II and his plans for the future.
16:45 Bas Scheffers talks about developments in OzRunways, their new clients and features, upgrading VH-EFB to a Cirrus SR-22, and flying an RV-4.
27:46 Bob Carlton steps us through his day and night show routines, his aircraft testing work plus with his rocket scientist work in retirement.
Cover image credit : Wayne Nugent – Australian Motorsport Images
As if that wasn’t enough, previously back in February we’d also released Episode 129 which had both Steve & Grant going back to school on separate occasions. For this episode, Steve spent some time at his old Secondary Collage (Brentwood) with the RAAF F/A-18A simulator and then Grant spent some time with TVSA out at Bacchus Marsh aerodrome discussing options for learning to fly (and flying the very sexy Bristell LSA tail dragger :) ).
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.
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!
The Australian International Airshow (aka Avalon Airshow) is held every two years and runs for 6 days with the first 3 being trade-only. The 4th day of the show is always on a Friday and the public start coming in around midday then stay for the night show, a feature of Avalon for well over 15 years. The final two days are the weekend and, as you might expect, are packed with public enjoying the action and static displays.
Once again Team PCDU are at Avalon every day gathering plenty of content for your listening pleasure. This episode holds the first block of interviews we’ve prepared while the show is still going. At the rate we’re going we’ll have another two episodes of Avalon content but for now, here’s how this one unfolds:
0:03:38 – Sergeant Xavier “X” Sheriff is a loadmaster on the C130J and he’s recently returned from Red Flag at Nellis.
0:11:47 – Flying Officer “Guns” was also at Red Flag but while he is command rated on the C130J, he spent the duration of Red Flag performing the tactical planning for each mission.
0:21:07 – Steve caught up with Simon Hackett in his PC12 (VH-TCP) and they talk about gliding, the Cirrus SR22, the PC12 and Simon’s next aircraft, the Pilatus PC24 jet.
0:46:37 – Maikha Ly caught up with Graeme Horne from Cirrus and they review the Cirrus Jet, the market for Cirrus aircraft in Australia and the “Australis” version of the SR22
0:57:40 – Steve talks to Basil Lenzo about Evektor Aircraft’s Sportstar & Harmony aircraft, the scene at their home base in Perth and their new operation at Moorabbin
1:02:57 – Grant & Steve ran into Matt Hall and had a good chat about his recent podium finish in the Red Bull Air Race, his new winglets & aircraft handling, developments at Belmont airport (YPEC) that Matt & a consortium recently purchased and QBE’s Airmanship program.
1:17:08 – Following on from his chat with Simon in the PC12, Steve caught up with Andre Zimmerman to discuss the Pilatus PC24.
1:24:40 – We wrap up the episode and talk about the Airbus A400M transport. We also mention that in addition to Steven Pam taking lots of amazing images, Maikha’s running around with his selfie-stick & distinctive hat. If you get your photo taken with Maikha, you’ll be in the running to get some prizes :)
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!
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
Just to be different, this episode Steve joins ATC Ben on a BenAir flight from Essendon (YMEN) to Temora (YTEM) to attend the NatFly 2014 event. With the Cirrus SR20’s autopilot keeping them on track, Captain Ben & FO Steve introduce the show before opening up their packed lunches. Sadly, Sierra Juliette Alpha (VH-SJA) did not include a flight attendant so they had to arrange their own drinks.
Meanwhile, as you may have heard on a recent Australia Desk Segment, Grant was flying hot air balloons in Leeton, about 60 nautical miles south west of Temora. While Steve & Ben were at NatFly & recording a few interviews, Grant managed to corner a pilot for a chat in Leeton.
This episode unfolds with the following content:
0:03:54 – Paul Goard from Brumby Aircraft Australia (based in Cowra, New South Wales) talks about their high-wing aircraft, the change to the Rotax engine and their production schedule.
0:08:49 – Robin Lowe from Lowe Flight (based at Kilcunda, Victoria) talks about the Fresh Breeze XCitor Paratrike which subsequently won the “Best Powered Parachute” award at NatFly 2014.
It also turns out that Robin is looking for an instructor to join his team so if you’re interested, his contact details are on the website :)
0:14:54 – Bob & Marya Phillips at AvTours Australia have been in the aviation tours business since 1989. They talk about the tours they’ve previously run to Oshkosh and their plans for this year’s tour.
0:24:57 – Matt Hall from Matt Hall Racing talks about pylon hits, assessing the other competitors, the removal of the knife-edge pass pylons from the Red Bull Air Race‘s track design and his schedule for the next month or two.
0:31:31 – Grant catches up with Niall Higgins after another fun morning flying hot air balloons over Leeton. Niall talks about his background in aviation and why he flies fixed wing AND hot air balloons. In addition to flying a Yak52 with the Russian Roolettes, Niall also flies Tiger Moths and he talks about a very special gig on ANZAC Day this year: as part of the lead up to the Great Tiger Moth Air Race, Niall flew one of 4 Tigermoths up Sydney Harbour with WWII veterans on board.
After a break due to injuries, surgery & a wedding, we’re back on deck and our first episode for 2014 is packed with Down Under aviation goodness :) From Matt Hall and the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race to our media flight in a pair of C130Js over Melbourne to promote the RAAF’s Centenary of Military Aviation air show, this episode really got us exited for the year ahead.
Our first episode for 2014 unfolds as:
Steve & Grant chat about surgery, a wedding and some recent media publicity after a couple of unusual hot air balloon landings in Melbourne
0:12:35 – We chat with Matt Hall about the long awaited return of the Red Bull Air Race and get lots of great info about the changes to the race itself, his new team, how they’ve been preparing and the telemetry system he’s using.
0:46:20 – Steven Pam & ATC Ben got to represent PCDU at a recent RAAF C130J media flight over Melbourne to promote the Centenary of Military Aviation air show at Pt Cook on March 1st & 2nd. In the process they recorded the following content:
Air Commodore Phil Byrne (RAAF’s Head of Special Events) talking about the historical significance of Pt Cook and the RAAF’s preparations for their Centenary of Military Aviation air show
David Gardner (Director, RAAF Museum) talks about the Bristol Boxkite replica
Flight lieutenant Matt Fleet, an RAF C130J pilot on exchange with the RAAF
Sergeant Greg Milne, an RAAF C130J loadmaster
We have some announcements:
PCDU will be at the Tyabb Airshow 2014 (A Salute to Veterans) on Sunday, March 9th and are looking forward to catching up with any of you who can be there
We want your stories, especially “grass roots” content and, as Steve Riley wrote in about, more “stories about flying”
We have some shout outs:
Thanks to Steve’s surgical staff for doing his knee reconstruction, including Mr Eden Raleigh, Dr Peter Larkins & Dr Joshua Hoppe from the Epworth Hospital
Thanks to Pieter Johnson & David Vanderhoof for the long-distance support from around the world to help Steve get through some difficult times
Steve wants to thank Grant & the rest of the PCDU team for helping out with the Australia Desk episodes while he was recovering
It’s time once again for the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (aka Avalon 2011) and Team PCDU are there to arrange interviews with people & organisations that catch our eye. On the third day of the show we have been particularly busy interviewing aircrew, maintainers and other folks on site, frequently while sitting in their aircraft. The content we selected for this Quick Cast includes:
Catching up with Matt Hall to discuss the new show he’s performing at Avalon in his MXS-R (it’s choreographed to music) and how he’s filling his days without the Red Bull Air Race being around
An interview with a USAF F22 Raptor pilot and maintainer while standing on the tarmac as close as we were allowed to get to their aircraft
Today’s updates from Timbo & Papa Smurf on movements at the Warbird and Keyhole tarmacs