Grant was invited by Lockheed Martin to co-host an F-35 evening for aviation enthusiasts which included a discussion with F-35 Program Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman and the F-35 cockpit demonstrator. It was a great night and Grant had a blast flying the F-35 cockpit demonstrator.
Every two years the Royal Australian Air Force hosts a series of simulated air warfare missions with attendees from multiple countries taking part. Code named “Pitch Black,” the exercise has over 40 military aircraft operating from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory with missions held over the Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.
For Exercise Pitch Black 2014, Southern Skies Online Media sent Grant up to Darwin to cover the event. Joining a group of four other aviation media specialists, Grant was taken on the tarmac at RAAF Base Darwin and also flown to RAAF Base Tindal by RAAF King Air transport. At both locations the small group was provided with unparalleled access to Australian, American, Singaporean, French and Thai aircraft, pilots & maintainers.
In addition to maintaining a constant stream of updates & photographs on the Plane Crazy Down Under Facebook page, Grant also recorded plenty of audio content for use in a future episode while also making & refreshing contacts within the armed forces. While it was certainly a busy (& hot :) ) time in Darwin, it was very productive.
The Australian Defence Force have recently introduced the NH90 Taipan helicopter and, thanks to our good connections with the ADF, we were invited to be on the first media flight.
Thanks to our years of aviation coverage and working closely with the Royal Australian Air Force, we were invited to attend the decommissioning celebrations associated with the C130H being removed from RAAF service.
This included being on board the final C130H media flight as it flew over Sydney Harbour, being on site at RAAF Base Richmond as the aircraft practiced their farewell flight for the official ceremony and being on site at Pt Cook when a C130H arrived at the RAAF Museum.