Lockheed Martin will be at Avalon 2017 in force

F-35A in RAAF Colours

Last week I took part in a media teleconference with Lockheed Martin’s media representatives and a number of local journalists. The purpose of the call was to discuss Lockheed Martin’s presence next week at the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (aka Avalon 2017).

RAAF F-35As to be on site:

The big news is, of course, that Australia’s first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft will be taking a break from their training duties at Luke AFB in the USA and are scheduled to arrive at Avalon on Friday the 3rd of March. Unlike previous events where we had the full scale mock-up on display, the RAAF are going to have two of the real things there. There’s no indication whether they’ll be doing any flying during the show but they will be on static display at least. We’re waiting to hear from the RAAF Media team as they’re the ones coordinating the aircraft, not Lockheed Martin.

F-35 Expo Tent:

Checking out the F-35 full scale mock up at the Pt Cook air show in 2014.

Lockheed Martin’s big drive will be their F-35 Expo tent which will be featuring 14 Australian companies that are supplying to the global F-35 program. Among many other items, the tent will feature a mock-up Pratt & Whitney F135 engine on a Maranz engine trailer which will be quite a feat to get into the display given how large and heavy it is.

Tuesday’s media briefings will commence in the morning with LtGen Davis from the USMC who will brief on the F-35B’s operations in the Asian region with particular attention to their deployment to Japan. The F-35B model features the forward lift fan and rotating rear exhaust nozzle which work together to provide Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) capability.

Later on Tuesday there will be a combined briefing from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) division within Australia’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and the JSF’s Joint Program Office (JPO) featuring LtGen Bogdan (head of the JPO) and Lockheed Martin’s Tod Mellon. This will focus on industry involvement and how the F-35 is impacting Australian industry.

F-35 Cockpit Demonstrator

On Wednesday morning there’s a tentative plan to have a social media event where I’ll be with Lockheed Martin and once again we’ll get to check out the F-35 Cockpit Demonstrator, receive a briefing and inspect the F-35 mockup. We’ll know more about this closer to next week so watch this space for news :)

On Thursday the F-35 tent will feature a round-table where journalists can come in, walk around and do one-on-one interviews with industry executives from the 14 Australian companies on display at the tent. This was described by one person on the conference call as a “Speed Dating” type of event :)

Finally, on Friday morning there will be a briefing from Jeff Babione (Lockheed Martin’s General Manager of the F-35 program) with a production update on the program going forward.

Other Lockheed Martin Divisions at the Show:

Of course there’s much more to Lockheed Martin than the F-35 and at Avalon 2017 they will have a number of displays and staff members on-site relating to their involvement with the following items:

  • RAAF’s Plan Jericho, including AIR6500’s joint battle management system which could include integration of the F-35s sensors with the AEGIS system on Navy’s new Air Warfare Destroyers
  • Submarine systems (at an air show? Hey, why not! :) )
  • Radar & surveillance systems (especially the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, aka JORN)
  • Missiles & Fire Control including the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), Javelin, Hellfire, Paveway 2, Inferno and F-35 systems including advanced electro-optical components
  • Training
  • Logistics

They expect to have a pair of MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters there from Navy and will be celebrating the fact that all of the aircraft have been delivered within five years of the contract being signed, including having some aircraft already undertaking operations at sea.

Stock image of a PC-21 aircraft supplied by Lockheed Martin and Pilatus.

There’s also a good chance that Australia’s first two Pilatus PC-21 aircraft will be on display at the show which would be a big plus for Lockheed Martin’s training division who are providing the PC-21 and their integrated pilot training system under AIR5428. This program will see pilot training migrated to the PC-21 at East Sale and Pearce under a consortium from Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific.

“Generation Beyond” STEM module:

On Saturday the F-35 expo tent will be converted into a virtual-reality experience for younger students to experience F-35, Orion spacecraft and future space directions. This module was first rolled out at Farnborough Air Show in the UK and is intended to inspire students to become our future aerospace engineers, pilots & astronauts.

It’s going to be a busy show for Lockheed Martin and I’m looking forward to catching up with as many of their groups while I’m there.

Posted in Air shows, Military | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Preparing for Avalon 2017

Avalon 2017 Promo

Every two years the Australian International Air Show is hosted at Avalon Airport to the west of Melbourne. Generally referred to simply as “Avalon” or “Avalon Air Show,” the event comprises a trade show (the Australian International Aerospace & Defence Exposition) and an air show that’s open to the public on Friday afternoon through to Sunday.

As usual, I will be attending Avalon for the trade show industry days with a media pass to gather content for Plane Crazy Down Under but, for the first time ever, I’ll also be attending as an aerospace corporate (aka “trade”) visitor. Thanks to my job with Ocean Software, I have a number of clients & prospects to meet with and some events to attend during the trade days. It’s going to be interesting for me to attend the event with a more critical & technical interest in some of the exhibits than I’ve had previously.

During the last few Avalon events the trade and aircraft displays have been starting to feel rather “same-same” with only a couple of new items to be interested in, otherwise it has all been follow-ups and incremental information. This year’s event, however, has a number of new platforms from the RAAF that will be of great interest, including:

  • Australia’s first two Lockheed Martin F-35As.
  • Boeing’s EA-18G Growler.
  • The C-27J Spartan will finally be here in RAAF colours.
  • Hopefully the RAAF will have one of their new Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft on static, or at least a crew to talk to (the USN crew last time were very limited in what they could discuss).

USAF F22 Landing

There’ll also be a couple of F-22As which are always spectacular to watch (and hear), some conference events I’m interested in attending, the warbird tarmac, a number of GA aircraft to check out and much more.

Of course, the classic Avalon rule of thumb applies for many aircraft (especially the military ones) that are promoted as attending the event: “Until the aircraft crosses the fence, lands, taxis in and goes unserviceable, it hasn’t really arrived at Avalon!”

I much prefer attending Avalon events on the trade days as the feel is quite different to public days. There are no barriers on the trade stands in the exhibit halls and the aircraft aren’t as heavily barricaded while the company & military representatives are more willing to discuss detailed technical aspects of their products. Of course, it’s also a whole lot less crowded!

Pitts Special Looking Great

By Friday morning the barriers are up in the exhibit hall to stop people just wandering onto the stand and trying to take anything not bolted down (this has actually happened in the past), some of the aircraft are leaving and the barricades around static displays get expanded. Given this, I’m planning to attend Tuesday to Friday for business and only attend on Saturday if I need an extra day to complete my content gathering for PCDU.

Despite everything, I do enjoy being at Avalon and have since I started working tarmac way back in 2001. Between the new platforms, the client work and catching up with friends, I’m actually looking forward to Avalon 2017 more than I have the previous two events. Watch this space!

 

It really gets crowded on the weekend

Posted in Air shows, Commentary, Military | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Geeking Out on Aviation – ROFLCopter

ROFLCopter as a T-Shirt

ROFLCopter as a T-Shirt

Many years ago I picked up the “ROFLCopter” t-shirt from ThinkGeek in the USA. It’s based on an online meme but for me it’s combining aviation & geeking so hey, double plus good :)

Always good for a few fun reactions from either geeks or pilots :)

Posted in Clothing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I’m hosting an exclusive F35 Cockpit Demonstrator session :)

Check out the F35 Cockpit Demonstrator at this exclusive PCDU event!

Check out the F35 Cockpit Demonstrator at this exclusive PCDU event!

Thanks to the folks at Lockheed Martin, I’m getting the chance to host an F35 Cockpit Demonstrator session on Thursday evening (17th March) while I’m here in Canberra for the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. If you’re in town and interested in coming along, send an email to contact@planecrazydownunder.com to join the fun (first 30 people only).


Exclusive PCDU F-35 event limited to 30 places – first in first served

Plane Crazy Down Under is proud to present:

F-35: From the Cockpit with F-35 Program Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman

 

When: 5:20PM, Thursday, 17 March 2016

Where: Dialogue, 4 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

 

You’re invited to learn more about the unique capabilities of the F-35, the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter aircraft.  At this exclusive event, you’ll have an opportunity to ask Al questions, before Al puts Grant through his paces in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 interactive cockpit demonstrator, a visually and audibly interactive simulator that highlights the fighter aircraft’s advanced technology and combat capabilities.

This is an exclusive opportunity open only to PCDU followers.  Spaces are limited so please send an email to contact@planecrazydownunder.com to secure your spot. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Light refreshments will be served.

 

Alan Norman - Chief F35 Test Pilot

Alan Norman – Chief F35 Test Pilot


A bit about Al

Prior to assuming his F-35 Chief Test Pilot responsibilities in 2011, Al was a Lockheed Martin Experimental Test Pilot for the F-22 Program for 12 years as well as Lockheed’s Chief Pilot for the TX program.  Al has flown more than 6,000 flight hours in over 70 different kinds of aircraft. He was an operational F-4 and F-16 fighter pilot in the USAF in Korea and Germany. He served as an F-16 RTU instructor pilot at MacDill AFB for 5 years and then attended the USAF Test Pilot School in 1994. Subsequently, Al was an F-16 experimental test pilot for the USAF.

 

A big thanks to Lockheed Martin for making this happen.

Posted in General Information, Military, Simulator Sessions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the importance of checking paperwork & Grade 3 Instructor limitations

First printed in Aeronotes (the Official Journal of the Australian Ballooning Federation) Volume 38 No 1 (March, 2016) as a guide for student pilots, instructors and examiners.

There is a phrase that goes something like “Assumption is the mother of all … problems!”

Sadly it happens to all of us and it can lead to some regrettable situations. This is no less true when undergoing instruction or sending a student on their first solo.

I have recently had some new pilot applications cross my desk where I encountered the following:

  • First solo conducted without a ROC.
  • Insufficient tether hours.
  • Incomplete paperwork.
  • Advanced flight exercises signed off by a Grade 3 Instructor
  • Instructor/examiner out of date.

The first item in the list is somewhat surprising as it means it wasn’t picked up by the student, their instructor OR the examiner who should have checked their paperwork (including sighting the student’s ROC) prior to performing their check flight. Given the Ops Manual says that an ROC is required before first solo, technically that student’s flight was against the rules & should not have been included in their totals (no, I wasn’t that nasty!).

While the other items listed above could have occurred due to a lapse by single person in the chain, for an ROC to be missed means two people who should have known better didn’t do the required checks. The worst part of the situation is that this situation has occurred to two students from different instructors & examiners within the past six months!

I’ve said it before but it appears to warrant a repeat mention: paperwork is an annoying but important part of our flying, especially when learning to fly.

We need to be able to prove to CASA that our students are being trained correctly and in accordance with our syllabus & procedures. I need to verify that all the hoops have been jumped through when handing out a new PP(B)C. Instructors & examiners need to be attentive to detail and check that the preconditions listed in the Ops Manual have been met at all times. Students need to ensure that their instructors & examiners are current.

I am working with Ronald to prepare a new Instructor Alert notice to be sent to all instructors & examiners and placed on the ABF website (members only section, of course). Hopefully it will be out by now but to help spread the message, here is a summary of the checks I must perform when assessing the issuance of new PP(B)C. Hopefully it is of assistance to instructors, examiners and students when checking that their application is complete.


Ops Manager checks for a new PP(B)C application

The following steps are required to be completed as part of the Ops Manager’s verification that a new PP(B)C applicant has met the required standards and their PP(B)C can be issued. If all the required paperwork has been sent in prior to and/or with the application it dramatically reduces the time required before the PP(B)C can be issued.

  1. A completed application form with the relevant sections completed has been received.
    • Students should be sure to fill in the back side of the form with their medical declaration (I’m working on improving the medical section so it’s not as confusing).

     

  2. A copy of the student’s training record has been provided.
    • This is the student’s training booklet and either a photocopy or scan of the filled in pages should be provided.
    • The student should keep their original.

     

  3. Has the student’s training record had the “Recommendation for a flight test” page filled in by their instructor and completed by their examiner?
    • The instructor should have flown with the student.
    • The examiner should provide a summary of the flight check & indicate whether the student passed or failed.

     

  4. Has the “Flight Training Exercises Completed to a Competent Standard” document been supplied & filled in correctly?
    • The student must sign to confirm they believe they have been trained and are competent.
    • The instructor who has supervised their training must sign to confirm they believe the student is competent.
    • Each training exercise must be signed off by the instructor who confirmed that the student was competent in that exercise.
    • Only a Grade 2 or Grade 1 examiner can conduct & sign off the exercises in section 6 (advanced conditions) as per section 3.5.1.1 of the Ops Manual.

     

  5. Copies of all seven exam sheets (eight if the student has also done the Aerodrome Endorsement) are with the Ops Manager.
    • Verify that the exams have indeed been passed.
    • Check that the examiner & dates on each exam paper matches the one who signed for it in the student’s training record (page 64).
    • These should have been sent to the ABF office by the Examiner who conducted the exams.
    • They can be sent via post, via scan & email or even by taking a photo of the sheet and emailing that in.
    • If sending via email, it’s best to also cc the opsmanager@abf.net.au account as that helps cut down on admin effort & gets the copies to me quickly.

     

  6. Did the applicant complete the Aerostats & Airmanship and Flight Rules & Procedures exams prior to their first solo?
     
  7. A completed Flight Test report form has been received.
    • This form is supplied by the examiner to confirm that the student has been tested in accordance with the ABF’s syllabus & standards.
    • Again, it can be sent by post or email (scanned or photographed)

     

  8. Are the applicant, their instructors and their examiner(s) current member of the ABF both at present and during their training
    • Check their records to ensure they were current during training as well as at present.
    • Also check instructors & examiners to verify they were current instructors & weren’t over two years past their last Instructor Flight Check.

     

  9. Did the applicant hold a Student Pilot (Balloon) Certificate for all their instructional flights?
    • Check the date of issue against their logged instructional flights

     

  10. Is the applicant at least sixteen years of age?
    • While instructional flights can be logged from fifteen years old onwards, the student must be sixteen before they can do their check flight.

     

  11. Did the applicant hold an ROC or CASA FROL and was it issued prior to their first solo?
    • Check the date their ROC was issued against their first solo.

     

  12. Has the applicant met the required number of hours of training?
    • The applicant must have completed sixteen hours of instructional flight time which includes:
      • At least nine hours of dual flight.
      • At least fifteen minutes of tether (note: only one hour of tether time counts towards the sixteen hour total required).
      • At least two hours of solo flight over at least three flights on two separate days
  13. Only flights that occurred while the student was a current member with an SP(B)C and their instructors were current can be counted.
  14.  

  15. Has the applicant completed at least three flights (including inflation & deflation) within the twelve months preceding their application?
     
  16. Did the applicant’s checkflight include at least thirty minutes of dual and at least twenty minutes of solo time?
    • These should be logged as a final entry in the training record’s summary section (pages 60 to 63)

First printed in Aeronotes (the Official Journal of the Australian Ballooning Federation) Volume 38 No 1 (March, 2016) as a guide for student pilots, instructors and examiners.

Posted in Published | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talking Ballooning with Adam @ Go Flying Australia

Adam Knight Produces the 'Go Flying Australia' Podcast

Adam Knight Produces the ‘Go Flying Australia’ Podcast

I first met Adam from the Go Flying Australia podcast in Canberra when I was visiting for the Canberra Balloon Spectacular in March 2015. We caught up for beers at a local pub and talked about flying and also producing podcast episodes. Adam had released five episodes at that stage and was about to become a dad for the first time.

I enjoy listening to the content Adam has released and think his attention to detail & production quality is great. He is targeting his show at the Sport Aviation (RA-Aus, hang gliding, gliding, balloons, etc) and General Aviation markets as these are the areas he’s most interested in himself which helps explain what drives him to keep finding content & releasing episodes.

During our chat at Canberra we talked about what it’s like to fly hot air balloons (no surprise there, right? :) ) and Adam mentioned that he’d like to record an interview with me on that topic. As it turned out, it wasn’t until later in May that we finally got the chance to align our schedules and record a session over Skype.

We talked about what’s involved in flying a balloon, competition flying, learning to fly balloons, common rookie errors and the Australian Ballooning Federation. We also talked about the Plane Crazy Down Under show (funny that :) ) and how Steve & I started it way back in 2009 while producing content for the Airplane Geeks podcast.

You can listen to the episode on the Go Flying Australia site as well as finding it in his feed if you subscribe via iTunes or directly via his podcast’s RSS feed.

Click here to go to my episode on Adam’s Go Flying Australia podcast.

I highly recommend that you check out Adam’s Go Flying Australia podcast. It’s a well produced show with great content and should definitely be in your list if you enjoy aviation and/or aviation shows.

Posted in balloons, General Information, Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Fly or Not to Fly? What a Stupid Question

The answer is always "FLY!!!" but the real questions are "When, where and How?" :)

The answer is always “FLY!!!” but the real questions are “When, where and How?” :)

For those of us who love altitude, the question of going flying or not is crazy ‘cos the answer is always: GO FLYING!!!

Sadly many things conspire to keep us from the sky including workload, lack of money (a major issue for most of us :) ) and family obligations. At least with this t-shirt I can affirm my views on the question so naturally I had to buy it when I saw it being sold online :)

NOTE: The shirt was part of a limited run but if enough people log interest in buying it, they may offer it again.

Posted in Clothing, Humour | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Montgolfier Day, 2014 – Another year done :)

Happy Montgolfier Day once again :)

It’s hard to believe that another year has shot past since last I made a post about the celebration of the anniversary of the first manned ascent in a hot air balloon. It’s also hard to believe that I’ve not posted anything to my blog since August!

Montgolfier Balloon of 1783 (Public domain image via Wikipedia)

Montgolfier Balloon of 1783
(Public domain image via Wikipedia)

I blame it on being too busy at work, trying to get out & go flying and keeping up with other aviation events. I’ll get around to writing about a few of them over the next few weeks (I hope :) )

Meanwhile, let’s celebrate the fact that thanks to the Montgolfier brothers those of us who fly aerostats are able to out rank fixed wing pilots. After all, we’ve been looking down on people since 1783. They’ve only being doing it since 1903 :) :)

Now, where did I put that bottle of champagne? :)

Posted in balloons, General Information | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never Stop Learning

First printed in Aeronotes (the Official Journal of the Australian Ballooning Federation) Volume 36 No 4 (December, 2014) as a guide for student pilots, instructors and examiners.

Do you approach every flight as an opportunity to learn something new? Maybe it’s because I’ve only put 24 entries in my logbook since getting my “license to learn” but it sure seems like every flight is giving me a chance to learn something new (or at least reinforce something from my training). Some of these lessons were learned as I flew “hare & hound” behind older & wiser pilots while for others I was doing my own thing.

Some of my lessons have been rather comical when you look back at them but others have been a little more hair raising. In some situations I reacted as I’d been taught to resolve the issue but there have definitely been a couple where I dipped into my “bucket of luck” in order to add to my “bucket of experience.”

During one flight I was trying to get just the right landing spot and wound up taking three goes to get into an open space, making use of low-level box winds to do “circuits” before getting it right. On one of the attempts, I learned the hard way about falling out of an inversion at low level when I discovered the false lift over the top of the balloon had let me get colder than I expected, leading to an embarrassing “touch n go” as I failed to round out in time then bounced back into the air. Ooops. Perhaps the most embarrassing part of this “learning moment” was that one of the people watching on the ground used to be my Chief Flight Instructor when I was learning to fly Cessnas many years ago. Oh well, I can now claim to be one of the few (if not the only) balloonist to have done circuits at his airfield :)

Then there was the time I was following some commercial pilots and realised I was flying myself into a bit of a corner as their target field was a clearing where the fields beyond were covered in thick fog. Things got “interesting” when the fog started to break away and stream down onto the landing field just as I was getting close. Fortunately I’d had a good look at the field as I approached and was able to navigate by the blurry grey tree tops in the fog but it was still a rather puckering moment as I lost sight of the ground.

Another flight let me experience the “joys” of task overload as I didn’t just get behind the balloon, I also got completely disoriented in my navigation. After attempting to drop a marker on the target then land, I wound up flustered and making a hash of my approach into a field where others were landing. I then elected to go on and despite flying towards the morning sun with a land mark on my right, I was sure I was south of that land mark. Fortunately it ended well but it was an eye opening look at how task overload can lead to confusion & mistakes.

The training I’d received on the perils of power lines was reinforced one time as I was flying low over fields, trying to ride surface winds to get the direction I needed. I was keeping an eye out for obstacles and power lines but still had a bit of a surprise thanks to some trees hiding the poles. As I approached a gap in the trees, I realised there was a road running across my path on the other side of the tree line. Given the likelihood of power & telephone lines following roads, I started a climb as a precaution. Sure enough, there were power lines crossing the gap that had been looking otherwise safe. I think I’m going to re-read that power line safety booklet every couple of months just to be sure I don’t forget those warnings :)

Yes, every flight so far has had a “learning moment” contained within it. Some of the moments have become apparent when assessing the flight after landing while others have been clear and in my face as they occurred. Maybe once I’ve clocked hundreds more hours I’ll reach a point where every flight is no longer an educational experience but, you know, I hope that never happens. I get the feeling that if I stop learning on every flight, I’ll either be just about to learn a very painful lesson or I’ll have stopped challenging myself to improve on every flight and where’s the fun in that?

First printed in Aeronotes (the Official Journal of the Australian Ballooning Federation) Volume 36 No 4 (December, 2014) as a guide for student pilots, instructors and examiners.

Posted in Published | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Airbus A350 XWB in Australia

We were recently contracted by Airbus to shoot video of the A350 XWB on its first arrivals into Sydney & Perth. The aircraft was MSN5 (the 5th test aircraft in the fleet) and it was in the middle of its world tour of route-proving flights, demonstrating that it could make the required long haul legs that its initial customers would be performing (including the all important turn-around times after landing).

A350 XWB MSN5 departing Sydney

A350 XWB MSN5 departing Sydney

While MSN5 had passenger seating, overhead bins, In Flight Entertainment, galleys & bathrooms installed, it also had plenty of test equipment on board including a large engineering station around the middle of the cabin & air data samplers through the various cabin areas. Copies quantities of raw information was captured covering the operation of the engines, the crew’s inputs, the flight computer decisions and the air quality in each section of the cabin. At the end of each leg of the flights the data was exported to a hard drive & sent back to France for analysis.

Comprehensive engineering station in the mid-cabin

Comprehensive engineering station in the mid-cabin

I got to check out the cockpit - very cool!

I got to check out the cockpit – very cool!

As the Sydney arrival was scheduled for 6am, we flew up the night before and stayed at the Ibis Budget Hotel near the domestic terminals. We knew we were in for an “interesting” experience as these hotels used to be the Formula 1 series and we certainly weren’t left thinking we’d missed out on the “Cell Block H” prison experience. Calling it a 1 star would be doing a disservice to the star rating system, to say the least…

The next morning saw us out on the tarmac eagerly awaiting the aircraft’s arrival. Well, almost all of us: I left my ASIC behind in Melbourne (DOH!) so I couldn’t join the guys out by the runway. Instead, I grabbed the train & went back to the domestic terminal then walked around to Gate 11 where media & guests were to be allowed in. As I was on the media list, I was able to get in to the special events area and set up well before the aircraft landed.

Score! :)

We spent the day filming the aircraft’s time on the ramp including all the media & guests being shown through the aircraft. We also managed to record a couple of audio interviews and I managed to get a few minutes in the cockpit with its amazingly huge screens (& great visibility). When it was time for those flying on to Auckland to go through customs & immigration, I went with some of the media to get a Visitor pass so I could join the general group going by bus to be near the runway. Steve & Paul stayed with the aircraft for the water arch departure from the ARFFies and then wound up out near the runway but closer to the likely lift off point.

Once the aircraft had departed, I joined Steve & Paul and we were dropped off at the domestic terminal to catch our flights home.

A350 XWB MSN5 arrives in Sydney

A350 XWB MSN5 arrives in Sydney

You know, I think it might just be landing in Perth

You know, I think it might just be landing in Perth

After going to Auckland, the A350 was heading to South America and then back to France. It would next return to Australia on Sunday as it arrived in Perth from Doha. It was scheduled to stay in Perth for a few hours before turning around & heading back to Doha and then on into Russia & Eastern Europe.

For the Perth arrival, we also needed to take photos as well as video so Paul & I went over as camera operators while Steven Pam joined us as photographer. Our “WA Correspondent” Ben Jones also joined the team to help us with gear & ensure we kept a steady stream of content flowing on our Facebook & Twitter feeds. Steve stayed in Melbourne as he had prior plans for the weekend & couldn’t make it.

This time the aircraft was scheduled to arrive at 3pm so we were able to get away with a day trip. My first visit to WA and I arrived in Perth airport at about 10:30am & departed about 8pm. Oh well :)

For this arrival we sent Paul & Steven out to the runway to capture the landing while Ben & I stayed at the parking bay to get it coming in & parking. Once again we shot plenty of content around the outside of the aircraft and caught up Mike Bausor (Director of A350 XWB Marketing) as he came down the stairs. Mike has been accompanying the aircraft on every leg of the flights around the world which is an amazing thing as it’s only stopping for a few hours at each location. Fortunately the demo business class seats on board can go to horizontal for sleeping :)

Happy crew after their flight from Doha to Perth

Happy crew after their flight from Doha to Perth

In Perth the aircraft was to be cleared of all staff although a group of guests were going through later in the afternoon. The Airbus media team on board would capture content from that visit so, as the aircraft wasn’t departing until 11pm, our work was done after a couple of hours.

At this point we headed back to the public areas of the terminals and went our separate ways. Steven Pam was heading home on an earlier flight and Ben was going back to his place while Paul & I went to the lounge to review content & work before our flight home. At least this allowed me to complete a full tour of Perth airport:

1) Arrive via Qantas at Terminal 4 (the Virgin flight was later than Qantas, leaving very little contingency time in case of delays)
2) Meet our Perth Airport contact at Terminal 2
3) Go airside
4) Go back to Terminal 1 to chat with Airbus staff after they’ve gone through Customs & Immigration
5) Leave via Virgin at Terminal 3

Aside from the freight area, I think I pretty much covered it all :)

Despite all the running around, being paid by Airbus to go and capture content of cool aircraft has been a wonderful thing. It’s like getting paid to do something you love and would have done anyhow if you had the spare cash to cover the costs. Sure, there’s more planning & liaising plus higher levels of responsibility, not to mention all the post-event follow up tasks (uploading “best of” content, preparing & sending all content on hard drives, client liaisons, etc) but that’s all part of the gig.

I guess all that hard work we did at Avalon 2013 is still paying off as our videos on the ACJ319 & KC-30A helped to get us the gig :)

Posted in Commentary, Video, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment