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Top Landing Gear
Top Landing Gear
A fun and entertaining new podcast aimed at anyone with an interest in flying and aviation.
3 days ago
Air Vice Marshal (retired) Graham Williams - Cold War RAF Fighter & Fast Jet Test Pilot
This edition of the Top Landing Gear podcast has an appropriately seasonal feel as we approach winter, its theme being the Cold War, which lasted from 1947 until 1991. The Cold War saw the rapid development of aviation beginning with concepts such as new wing designs and powerplants and ending with digitalised avionics and stealth technology. All this to gain the upper hand in the event of a hot war. Our guest was an RAF fast jet pilot during the height of the Cold War, and was also a test pilot, as a result of which he has flown almost every western cold war jet imaginable. He is Air Vice Marshal (retired) Graham Williamson, the most senior person by rank that we’ve ever had on the pod. His is a fascinating story, which he reflects on with great humour here and in his wonderfully entertaining and enlightening book ‘Rhapsody In Blue, An RAF Fighter Pilot’s Life During The Cold War’. Graham tells us the aircraft for which he has most affection is the Harrier, which he was one of the first RAF pilots to fly. In fact along with Sqn Ldr Tom Lecky, he flew the brand new Harrier in the 1969 Daily Mail Air Race, linking us to our previous most recent episodes. Again his story of that adventure needs to be heard to be believed. Another legend of aviation to whom we are enormously grateful for gracing our podcast. His Autobiography is simply brilliant and available HERE #aviation #avgeek #coldwar #hawkerharrier #hawkerhunter #aviationpodcast #grahamwilliams #dailymailairrace
1 hr 6 min
Nov 23, 2020
An RAF Fighter Pilots life during the Cold War - Air Vice Marshal (retired) Graham Williams
This edition of the Top Landing Gear podcast has an appropriately seasonal feel as we approach winter, its theme being the Cold War, which lasted from 1947 until 1991. The Cold War saw the rapid development of aviation beginning with concepts such as new wing designs and powerplants and ending with digitalised avionics and stealth technology. All this to gain the upper hand in the event of a hot war. Our guest was an RAF fast jet pilot during the height of the Cold War, and was also a test pilot, as a result of which he has flown almost every western cold war jet imaginable. He is Air Vice Marshal (retired) Graham Williamson, the most senior person by rank that we’ve ever had on the pod. His is a fascinating story, which he reflects on with great humour here and in his wonderfully entertaining and enlightening book ‘Rhapsody In Blue, An RAF Fighter Pilot’s Life During The Cold War’. Graham tells us the aircraft for which he has most affection is the Harrier, which he was one of the first RAF pilots to fly. In fact along with Sqn Ldr Tom Lecky-Thompson, he flew the brand new Harrier in the 1969 Daily Mail Air Race, linking us to our previous most recent episodes. Again his story of that adventure needs to be heard to be believed. Another legend of aviation to whom we are enormously grateful for gracing our podcast. You can buy his book HERE! And we heartily, heartily recommend you do so... Perfect Xmas gift for any aviation fan. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EYSQFIE/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Nov 16, 2020
Rolf Richardson - The Vickers VC10 & The 1969 Daily Mail Air Race FULL FLAPS II
A bonus episode to accompany our podcast about the 1969 Daily Mail Great Transatlantic Air Race. Rolf Richardson flew one of the winning civilian entries in the air race in a BOAC Super VC10. Here he tells us what was involved, and how, although he was operating a scheduled commercial flight from New York to London, they really pushed the limits, and even got special treatment from air traffic control. Some of the most amazing stories are what happened on the ground, but it’s all scarcely believable in this day and age. Rolf also talks about his time on some of the earlier airliners such as the Argonaut, and completely shatters our illusions about the Bristol Britannia which he says ‘must have been designed by a team of mad professors’. He also flew Britain’s first ever jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, at a time when it had a disturbingly high attrition rate. Since leaving aviation Rolf has been a noted photographer and is a successful thriller writer, always with a bit of aviation in the storyline, much of it based on his experiences in the early years, but entirely fictional, and with a good dollop of sex and murder. Look out for his books on Amazon, available both on Kindle and in paperback. Books by Rolf Richardson: 'THE LAST WEISS', set during the final stages of WW2 in two of his favourite countries, Germany and Norway. In COFFIN CORNER we move to a fictional airline in 1960s Singapore, with excursions to Australia. With BEAR BUGGER CRUISE it's off to the Caribbean and the mystery disappearance of a cruise ship passenger. In NIGHT WATCHMAN we stay in Britain, where disaster strikes the political establishment. ROAD TO MANDALAY starts in the French Alps, but finishes on the Road to Mandalay. Reason: the strange new world of cyber power.In STASILAND we're again in Germany, now united but with echoes of the past when death stalks the River Elbe.LETTER FROM GALAPAGOS is a mystery set in the South Seas with the disappearance of a yacht.TEA WITH RASPUTIN starts in Alaska, but ends in the mafia world of St.Petersburg
Nov 9, 2020
Peter Goddard - The Phantom and the 1969 Daily Mail Transatlatic Air Race FULL FLAPS
This week on Top Landing Gear we're turning the clock back to 1969 with our FULL FLAPS unedited interview with the WINNER of the 1969 Daily Mail Air Race - Lieutenant Commander Peter Goddard. He tells us about his career in the Royal Navy and how he managed to get from the top of the Empire State Building to the top of the Post Office Tower in London (now the BT Tower) in 5hrs and 11 mins. Once you have listened to the Podcast search 'The First and the Fastest' on Youtube for a wonderful 20 minute documentary of the race from 1969. You will not be disappointed! And if you've enjoyed what you've heard please subscribe, leaves us a review and tell your friends about Top Landing Gear.
Nov 2, 2020
The Phantom and the 1969 Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race
This week on Top Landing Gear we’re turning the clock back to 1969, a hugely significant year for aviation and aerospace, with the first flights of Concorde and the 747 Jumbo Jet, and of course the first man on the moon. But it was also the year of the Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race, probably one of the last great aviation adventures. The race was between the top of the Post Office Tower in London (now the BT Tower), and the top of the Empire State building in New York, in either direction. The fastest crossing of all was achieved by an Observer in a Royal Navy Phantom, and he is our very special guest. Lieutenant Commander Peter Goddard’s story of the race and the preparations that went into it are something to behold. Peter will be coming up later after our usual features: Ask James, Jez’s Quick Facts - all about the Air Race, and of course the highlight of every episode – The Top Landing Gear Quiz.
Oct 26, 2020
Harrier 809 and Rowland White FULL FLAPS Part Two
Welcome to Part Two of our Full Flaps interview with bestselling author and historian Rowland White. Previously best known for his edge of the seat blockbuster (and Jez's favourite book of all time!) Vulcan 607. He has now turned his attention to another airborne operation with the gripping account of the role that the Sea Harrier and its pilots played during the Falklands conflict. Today he talks to us in depth about this incredible new book Harrier 809. So in depth, that we've split the interview into two parts so you've time to go and buy the book and read it before next week!! You can get all of Rowland's books, including Harrier 809 and Vulcan 607 right here!
Oct 19, 2020
Harrier 809 and Rowland White - FULL FLAPS INTERVIEW
Welcome to Part one of our Full Flaps interview with bestselling author and historian Rowland White. Previously best known for his edge of the seat blockbuster (and Jez's favourite book of all time!) Vulcan 607. He has now turned his attention to another airborne operation with the gripping account of the role that the Sea Harrier and its pilots played during the Falklands conflict. Today he talks to us in depth about this incredible new book Harrier 809. So in depth, that we've split the interview into two parts so you've time to go and buy the book and read it before next week!! You can get all of Rowland's books, including Harrier 809 and Vulcan 607 right here!
Oct 12, 2020
The Sea Harrier and Rowland White
The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is one of the most iconic and most loved of all British aircraft. Entering service with the Royal Navy in 1980, the informally know ‘SHAR’ vertically took off into our hearts after its success in the Falklands conflict, where three squadrons of just 28 SHARS shot down 20 Argentine aircraft whilst defending the fleet and supporting the ground invasion. In this episode we talk to Aviation author and expert Rowland White. His fantastic new book ‘Harrier 809’ is out now, tells the untold story of 809 Squadron and the Falklands War. Combining groundbreaking research with the pace of a thriller, Rowland White reveals the full story of the fleet's knife-edge fight for survival for the first time, and shows how the little jump jet went from airshow novelty to sealing its reputation as an icon of British aviation, alongside the Spitfire and the Hurricane. It is available in hardback, ebook and audiobook. www.rowlandwhite.com
Oct 5, 2020
The Boeing 747 - FULL FLAPS - Interview with 747 pilot, Captain David Williams
Following our Boeing 747 ‘Queen of The Skies’ episodes is our FULL FLAPS extended interview with David Williams. A captain with Virgin Atlantic, who in 2014 was involved in a major incident when the 747-400 he was flying developed an unprecedented systems failure resulting in only part of the landing gear locking down for landing. David tells us in jaw-dropping detail how, for over three hours, he tried literally to shake the gear down by flying extreme manoeuvres never before experienced on a 747 laden with passengers. Indeed they weren’t even in the training manual. It didn’t work. He explains how he eventually nursed the aircraft back to Gatwick, but with so many systems malfunctioning, including braking, there was real concern as to what outcome awaited him, his crew and 447 passengers, one of whom was his own daughter. It’s a riveting account, never before told in such detail. The whole interview on Full Flaps will have you flabbergasted. Listen, and be amazed.
1 hr 34 min
Sep 28, 2020
The Boeing 747 - Queen of The Skies - Jumbo Jet
The Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo Jet’ changed the face of air travel forever. But after 50 years of impeccable service the ‘Queen of The Skies’ is being hastily retired in favour of more economical twin jets. The 747 won the hearts of those who flew it and of its passengers, and there is universal sadness at its passing. Top Landing Gear pays tribute to this magnificent aircraft, recalling our first experiences of the Jumbo Jet, and discussing why there is so much affection for it. Our guest is David Williams, a captain with Virgin Atlantic, who in 2014 was involved in a major incident when the 747-400 he was flying developed an unprecedented systems failure resulting in only part of the landing gear locking down for landing.
Sep 22, 2020
Battle of Britain FULL FLAPS Interview with Battle of Britain historian and expert Dilip Sarkar
As we continue to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, we have the perfect guest for our Top Landing Gear ‘Battle of Britain Special’Full Flaps podcast. It’s aviation historian and BoB specialist Dilip Sarkar MBE. Having been fascinated by the Second World War for a lifetime, Dilip Sarkar has been prolific in writing works focused on the Battle of Britain - particularly the human element of the stories. He has become one of the world's authorities on this moment of history. Having written over 40 books on the subject and being honoured with an MBE for services to Aviation History it was said by Battle of Britain fighter ‘ace’ Wg Cdr George Unwin DSO DFM, ‘If you want to know anything about the Battle of Britain and the Few, don’t ask us, ask Dilip!’ You can order his books at www.pen-and-sword.co.uk. Also check out his YouTube channel: Dilip Sarkar MBE: Sharing History.
1 hr 18 min
Sep 14, 2020
The Battle of Britain
Top Landing Gear is back with series 2, kicking off with a momentous moment in history – The Battle of Britain. 2020 marks its 80th anniversary - the Battle of Britain not Top Landing Gear - and if there are any gaps in your BoB knowledge, then Jez’s ‘quick’ facts will fill in every detail. We’re delighted the aviation historian and Battle of Britain specialist Dilip Sarkar MBE has agreed to be our special guest; he’s written more about the Battle of Britain than any other person through first-hand accounts forged by his own friendships with ‘The Few’. We will also hear from some of those heroic pilots in person, including a Luftwaffe ME109 pilot, from interviews Rob did twenty years ago during the 60th anniversary. In other news Roy is fascinated by the noise aircraft toilets make, and James sniffs an opportunity to open up and dump a load of toilet-based facts on us. Yes Top Landing Gear is back, washed and sanitized with a freshness we hope you’ll find… er, re…
1 hr 1 min
Aug 17, 2020
Top Landing Gear - Summer Special
What can we say? We missed you... And just couldn't wait for the start of Series Two before we talked again. So we got together to discuss recent aviation events including Virgin Galactic's plans for a new Mach 3 supersonic aircraft, the horrific 737-800 crash in Kerala and what we have planned for the Autumn... AND... No quiz! Huge thanks to everyone who has listened and supported us this year. We have been astonished at the numbers of downloads this summer. See you in September for our Battle of Britain special.
Jul 27, 2020
Episode Five [Full Flaps] Interview with Hunter Pilot Flt Lt Alan Pollock
This week's special guest created his own legendary moment in April 1968, when he flew his Hawker Hunter fighter jet through Tower Bridge in London. Flt Lt Alan Pollock of No1 Sqn RAF, was incensed that as defence cuts bit ever harder, the RAF was denied a flypast to mark its 50th anniversary. So Pollock decided to let the Government of the day know just how he, and many others felt, by buzzing Westminster before heading off down the Thames at zero feet and about 400 miles an hour. It’s an extraordinary story, and his various capers during his time with the RAF are the stuff of legend. Needless to say Alan is a most engaging character.
Jul 20, 2020
Episode Five - Aviation's Most Audacious Feats and the Hawker Hunter
Every so often our imaginations are fired by someone doing something extraordinary, something so audacious that it’s cemented into folklore. Our latest podcast, ‘Aviation’s Most Audacious Feats’ touches on some of the most outrageous escapades ever to unfold, from the fearless wingwalker of the 1920s who changed an aircraft’s wheel in mid-air, to the brilliant and heroic life-saving exploits of a Royal Navy helicopter crew in the Falklands Conflict. Some of the stories had us spellbound, while others had us rolling around with laughter. Our special guest managed to do both those things, by telling us how he created his own legendary moment in April 1968, when he flew his Hawker Hunter fighter jet through Tower Bridge in London. Flt Lt Alan Pollock of No1 Sqn RAF, was incensed that as defence cuts bit ever harder, the RAF was denied a flypast to mark its 50th anniversary. So Pollock decided to let the Government of the day know just how he, and many others felt, by buzzing We…
1 hr 11 min
Jul 13, 2020
Episode Four [Full Flaps - PART DEUX!] - Part Deux of our interview with Ex Red Arrow, Sqn Ldr Dave 'DT' Thomas.
Last week we left you on a cliffhanger! This week Sqn Ldr Dave Thomas reveals all! After joining the Royal Air Force in 1988 as an Airman - Dave progressed to Pilot and joined the Reds from the Harrier Force – where he had excelled as a Qualified Weapons Instructor. Dave joined the Red Arrows in 2001 as Red 2 (The easy side!) and then progressed to Synchro Pair (Red 7) and then finally Synchro Lead – Red 6 – in the 2004 Season. In our interview he chats to the whole Top Landing Gear team all about a tour with the Red Arrows - including selection, the work up, displays, World tours, what happens when things go off plan and finally leaving the team after his final display. This is the second part of our interview from last week. Please like, share, subsume and rate if you have enjoyed it. We would love to hear from you.
Jul 6, 2020
Episode Four [Full Flaps - PART ONE] – Red Arrows - Interview with Sqn Ldr Dave “DT” Thomas - Ex Red Arrow Synchro Lead
On this extended Full Flaps edition we are absolutely thrilled to be chatting to Ex Red Arrow, Sqn Ldr Dave Thomas. Dave joined the Red Arrows in 2001 as Red 2 (The easy side!) and then progressed to Synchro Pair (Red 7) and then finally Synchro Lead – Red 6 – in the 2004 Season! After joining the Royal Air Force in 1988 as an Airman - Dave progressed to Pilot and joined the Reds from the Harrier Force – where he had excelled as a Qualified Weapons Instructor – undertaking Reds selection in 2001. In our interview he chats to the whole Top Landing Gear team all about a tour with the Red Arrows - including selection, the work up, displays, World tours, what happens when things go off plan and finally leaving the team after his final display. The interview is so compelling we have split it into two parts.
Jun 29, 2020
Episode Four - The Red Arrows
Welcome to episode four of Top Landing Gear where we are featuring the top national aerobatic team in the world (well we think so anyway...) The Red Arrows. We'll be joined by former synchro pair leader Squadron Leader Dave Thomas who talks about his time with the Reds and explains what it takes to become a member of this elite squad and how they fly some of those jaw dropping stunts. Look out for his full (flaps) interview next week.
Jun 22, 2020
Episode Three [Full Flaps] - Interview with Major George 'Smokey" Bacon MBE - Display pilot and Airshow organiser & commentator,
We are delighted to have with us this week a man who certainly knows his way around an airshow. Not only is he a display pilot with the Army Air Corp Historic Flight and Chairman of the Historic Aircraft Flight he is also CEO of the British Airshow Display Association AND The Voice of numerous airshows up and down the county. With over 4000 hours on more than 20 different aircraft the Top Landing Team chat with airshow legend George 'Smokey' Bacon.
Jun 15, 2020
Episode Three - The Great British Airshow
Millions of us are bemoaning the inevitable cancellation of airshows large and small up and down the country. So how are we going to get our airshow fix this summer? Well thankfully there are some very innovative people out there who, since we haven’t got any airshows to go to, will do the next best thing, and bring them to us. One such person is this week’s special guest George ‘Smokey’ Bacon, CEO of the British Air Display Association, and an airshow commentator and display pilot, amongst many other things. He explains how we can get involved in ‘virtual’ airshows this summer, and talks about how the UK airshow scene looks going forward. Meanwhile the rest of us reminisce about our favourite airshow memories, and Top Landing Gear’s very own aviation expert, pilot James Cartner answers the only question, again, sent in for his much ignored ‘Ask James’ segment. And don’t forget a week after this episode drops on 16th June, you’ll be able to hear George’s full i…
Jun 8, 2020
Episode Two [Full flaps] - Interview with adventure pilot Amanda J. Harrison
In the May of 1930 Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from London to Darwin. In doing so she inspired generations of women to realise their own dreams. One of those women was Amanda J Harrison, who last year set out to retrace Amy’s epic journey in her De Havilland Tiger Moth. But Amanda’s story is about far more than taking on one of aviation’s greatest challenges. She has severe dyslexia, and a couple of years ago following the death of her father, Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer; both life changing events occurring in a cruelly short space of time. She decided that life was there to be lived, and that’s when she planned her epic flight. Amanda’s story will delight, enthral and uplift you. Hear her interview in full on Top Landing Gear, and be truly inspired.
Jun 1, 2020
Episode Two - Amy Johnson
This week’s edition of Top Landing Gear goes back in time 90 years to explore the story of one of the great aviation pioneers. Join Rob, Roy, James and Jez for a look at the incredible Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo, and we mean solo, to Australia. We find out about her aircraft the tiny Gipsy Moth, how she got into aviation and the remarkable tale of her journey from Croydon, South London to Darwin, Northern Australia. Discover the Amy Wave and why Roy has one, what Amy did during the war and the story of her mysterious demise. Don’t forget our regular Ask James feature where we test if Jim really does know what he’s talking about. And of course the TLG quiz, in which the team are tested on this week’s subject and in which one team member smashes the others after a totally unfair disqualification in the last episode! Then of course there is our interview, this week with the inspirational Amanda J Harrison and her daring attempt to recreate Amy Johnson’s rec…
May 25, 2020
Episode One [Full Flaps] - Interview with Jim Schofield, Chief Spitfire pilot for the Boultbee Flight Academy
Welcome to the Full Flaps edition of Top Landing Gear. This week we feature the entire TLG interview with Boultbee Flight Academy Chief Pilot Jim Schofield. Jim flies Spitfires for a living - and if that isn't the coolest job in the world, he was also a test pilot for the F-35. All four members of the team travelled down to Goodwood Aerodrome (Formerly RAF Westhampnett) just a week before lockdown to enjoy an hour in his delightful and knowledgeable company. A huge thank you to Jim and all at the Boultbee Flight Academy for their time and allowing us to dress up like idiots and take photos of ourselves in front of their hanger of beautiful Spitfires. You too can fly a Spitfire. See their website for details.
May 18, 2020
Episode One - Spitfire
On the latest edition of Top Landing Gear we salute the most iconic aircraft of them all… the Spitfire. 80 years ago the Spitfire was instrumental in helping this country through one of the most testing times in its history, and to this day it remains a symbol of hope, courage and fortitude. Join Rob, Roy, James and Jez as they eulogise about this beautiful machine, and Jez waxes lyrical about his flight in a Spit where he took the controls. Our special guest is Jim Schofield, chief Spitfire pilot at the Boutlbee Academy, who has over 100 types to his name including the RAF’s latest combat aircraft, the F-35 Lightning. Jim gives us the inside track on flying the Spitfire, and he might just have a surprise or two for you. You’ll be able to listen to his interview in full in our ‘Full Flaps’ episode the week after the magazine programme has dropped. It’s not to be missed. So please join us for another fun but informative foray into the world of aviation. You can subscri…
May 11, 2020
The 'Pilot' Episode [Full Flaps] - John Hutchinson Concorde Pilot
Our very first Top Landing Gear Full Flaps episode, featuring the full length interview with Concorde Captain John Hutchinson. John talks with Rob about his experiences flying Concorde. They discuss the aircrafts development, his training and how much fun she was to fly in the air. He also reminisces about the joy of keeping an 'open cockpit' and retells some superb stories about the more notable of his passengers. John also discuses his brush with death in 1968 on BOAC flight 172.
1 hr 17 min
May 11, 2020
The 'Pilot' Episode - Concorde
Welcome to the Pilot episode of Top Landing Gear Four friends invite you to join them as they get together to discuss their joint passion – aviation. (It’s the only thing they have in common; one is a pop star, another a TV presenter. There’s also a proper pilot, and … unique amongst probably any podcast anywhere - a fencer.) TLG is not just for the converted aviation enthusiast. The tone and fun of TopLandingGear gives it a broad appeal way beyond the avgeek, in much the same way as a popular motoring programme might attract more than just petrol-heads. And if aviation IS your thing, then our TopLandingGear Full Flaps episode is for you, where the weekly interviews with our special guests will be aired in full. So grab your favourite tipple, and enjoy the company of Rob, Roy, James and Jez in this highly sociable half-hour podcast. TopLandingGear – ready to roll.
Apr 26, 2020
Trailer - Episode One landing soon....
Top Landing Gear is an aviation podcast for everyone. Brought to you by a pilot, a presenter, a pop star and a fencer! Episode One 'Spitfire' landing soon...