Top Landing Gear

The UK's number 1 aviation podcast on iTunes -
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Latest Releases - Series 4

Series 4 - Episode 4 - Traveling by air this summer? Interview and travel advice with aviation expert
Jeremy Spake

Welcome to Top Landing Gear and our final episode of the series, one to put a spring in your step if you’re heading off on your summer holidays. As we are all too well aware, the aviation sector has struggled to bounce back from the pandemic, resulting in thousands of delays and cancellations. From pandemic to pandemonium; it’s a pantomime farce only not as entertaining!

What will be entertaining is our special guest, celebrity aviation expert Jeremy Spake who will share his wit and wisdom, and tell us how best to approach our travel plans this summer.

Jeremy’s knowledge was so impressive and his passion so infectious that Rob invited (forced!) him to join the quiz. How did he do? Listen to the end to find out if he beat TLG's very own aviation expert James Cartner.

Series 4 - Episode 3 - Full Flaps - Ian Whittle,
Son of Jet Engine Pioneer Sir Frank Whittle

Rob and James ventured from Sussex all the way to the Wilds of Surrey to meet up with Ian Whittle. An accomplished pilot in his own right, Ian is the son of Jet Engine inventor Sir Frank. Ian regails us with fascination stories of his childhood, growing up with a father working on a secret project during the 2nd World War. He recounts the struggles and challenges his father faces in bringing the worlds first practical jet engine from early sketches and designs, to the lynchpin of nearly all commercial and military aviation today.

Series 4 Episode 3 - Sir Frank Whittle
and the Jet Engine

This episode of Top Landing Gear might in itself not be worthy of going down in history, but it’s all about one of the greatest inventions of the modern age, something that changed the world forever – the jet engine. And our guest is no less a person than Ian Whittle, the son of the man credited with that invention - Sir Frank Whittle. You’ll hear a clip of our interview with Ian here, but not before you’ve heard a uniquely informative Quick Facts from Jez on what is a pretty colossal subject. And the quiz returns to Rob’s safe hands after James made a brave, almost successful stab at it on our previous pod. And by the way, that will never happen again!

Lancaster - Our first impression of the 2022 Film

Join Roy, Jim & Jez in the pub after watching a screening of the new Lancaster movie. It was produced by the same people who gave us 'Spitfire' in 2018 - The film that made Jez cry in the cinema - Would Lancaster have the same effect?

Jim also talks about how the airlines dealt with the increased Half-Term holiday demand. (Answer - not very well) and Jez gives us a quick review of Top Gun: Maverick.

Rob was supposed to be with us but Roy accidentally bought the tickets for the wrong day - Sorry Rob!

PLATINUM JUBILEE BONUS EPISODE - Typhoon Formation Pilot, Sqn Ldr Zane Sennett

The nation came together over 4 days in June to mark the extraordinary milestone of HM The Queen's 70 year reign. One of the highlights of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations was the flypast over London of 70 aircraft from the Royal Navy, the Army and of course the Royal Air Force who flew 15 Typhoons in formation as the number '70'. Among them was Sqn Ldr Zane Sennett, who described to TLG in fascinating detail what it was like to fly
in this mass formation, and how the whole operation was devised, planned, rehearsed and eventually executed with the eyes of the world, and of The Queen, upon them. 

Series 4 - Episode 2 - Full Flaps - Chris Parry

Our guest for this exceptional edition is the Royal Navy observer on HMS Antrim’s Wessex 3, famously known as Humphrey. The man is Chris Parry, who regales us with some of the most extraordinary stories to have come out of the South Atlantic back in 1982. From firing the first shots of the war, to inserting and rescuing an SAS party in unimaginable conditions from the Fortuna Glacier in South Georgia, Chris’s stories are jaw-dropping.

'Down South : A Falklands War Diary by Chris Parry is available to buy and download HERE

Series 4, Episode 2 - Falklands 40th – The Westland Wessex & Chris Parry

In this edition of Top Landing Gear we continue to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict, focussing on one of the workhorses of the British Task Force’s airborne operation, the venerable Westland Wessex. Now of course our aviation ‘expert’ James Cartner was an RAF Wessex pilot, so we thought we’d let him compile the quiz, and be the quiz master. This is unlikely ever to happen again. Our guest was a Royal Navy observer on HMS Antrim’s Wessex 3, famously known as Humphrey. The man is Chris Parry, who regales us with some of the most extraordinary stories to have come out of the South Atlantic back in 1982. From firing the first shots of the war, to inserting and rescuing an SAS party in unimaginable conditions from the Fortuna Glacier in South Georgia, Chris’s stories are jaw-dropping. You’ll hear a clip of his interview in this podcast, the full interview will of course be in our Full Flaps edition.

Photo credit - P "Gubby" Gubb RAF/RCAF/Abu Dhabi Sim 

Series 4, Episode 1 - Full Flaps - (Parts 1 & 2) Interview with Squadron Leader Martin Withers, DFC - Vulcan XM607 pilot during the Falklands Black Buck raid

In this 40th anniversary year of the Falklands Conflict we devote two Full Flaps editions to Martin Withers who flew Avro Vulcan XM607 on the historic Black Buck Raids on Stanley Airfield. Martin and his crew were actually the reserve crew for the mission, but when the primary aircraft went u/s, Withers and XM607 immediately stepped up to carry out one of the most extraordinary, not to mention longest bombing raids of all time. In part one Martin talks to us in detail about the build-up to the mission, training for in-flight refuelling which was to be an integral part of the mission, the mission itself and the aftermath. It is a story of legend told by a legendary figure who made aviation history. In the second part of this interview Martin relives the joy of displaying what was the last surviving Vulcan, XH558. It was an unexpected and hugely welcome chapter to his flying career. The RAF kept two Vulcans for public displays, XL426 and XH558, known as the Vulcan Display Flight, which lasted until 1992. 558 then had a new lease of life with the Vulcan To The Sky Trust, giving countless enthusiasts many more years of breathtaking displays

Series 4, Episode 1 - The Vulcan & the 40th Anniversary of Falklands War Operation Black Buck

This week’s podcast drops in a very timely manner as we release the first of our episodes marking the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. Specifically this week’s episode features the magnificent Avro Vulcan and the Black Buck Raids flown by our guest Martin Withers. The first raid, with Martin flying Vulcan XM607, set out from Ascension Island on the 30th April 1982, dropping its 21 1,000lb bombs on Stanley Airfield in the early hours of the 1st May. It is one of the most extraordinary stories in modern aerial warfare, not least because of the massive distances involved. In fact at the time Black Buck 1 was the longest bombing raid ever undertaken.

We hear a clip of Martin in this episode, but his full interview will become available in a ‘2-stage’ Full Flaps edition: in Pt 1 Martin talks at length about the raid; in Pt 2 he shares the joy of displaying Vulcan XH558. As usual we’ll have the usual TLG stuff: Ask James, Jez’s Quick Facts all about his favourite aircraft of all time, (the Vulcan), and the TLG Quiz. What more could you want? (Don’t answer that!) 

The Best of Top Landing Gear and Series Four Preview

We’re delighted to finally get series 4 of our aviation podcast Top Landing Gear up and flying – at last! We’re kicking off this first episode with a look back at some of our favourite topics and guest interviews from our first three series. There are two reasons for this: firstly they’re worth hearing again; secondly we weren’t organised enough to come up with a new subject in time. So for this week please enjoy, no really please try, our ‘Best of’ episode, including clips from our interviews with Alan Pollock of Tower Bridge Hawker Hunter fame, Amy Johnson re-creator Amanda J Harrison, David Williams’s heroic landing of a damaged fully-laden Virgin Boeing 747, and Andrew Panton, the man behind the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and Lancaster ‘Just Jane’. We’ve also done a retro quiz where the team was asked questions they’ve all heard before. Do you think it made any difference…?


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