A bird’s eye view of the Alpine country Dave Blunden shares his love for the High Country from the air
parents ran the local general store.
“Growing up where I did has given me the adventurous spirit I have now – we had the whole place to ourselves.”
Dave is the youngest of five children, with three older brothers and one older sister.
Dave met his wife Kath in a Yarra Valley winery 13 years ago, and are now married with two children.
Currently the family of four are in the process of refurbishing the kitchen in their 150year old house.
“The children we have are adorable,” he said.
“They take up such a big part of your life and it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily routine of taking them to and from school.
“I’m not always here for it because of my job, but it’s really good to spend time with your kids over the holidays.”
Occasionally the family head up to Mount Buller to enjoy the snow, but haven’t had a lot of time due to Dave’s job.
“I work 10 hour days most of the week,” he said.
Dave is an appliance technician and spends his time servicing white goods such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges.
On the side, he runs his helicopter charter business from Mansfield.
“We have a helicopter based here in Mansfield and we do flights over the High Country,” he said.
“There’s reasonable demand for flights during winter, but usually we only fly two days a week due to all the cloud and conditions that make it dangerous to fly.
Like passengers, he is overwhelmed by the beauty of the Victorian Alps.
“I love sharing the country with my passengers,” he said.
“They see it from a whole new perspective.
“Australia has a lot of great things to see, but what we have here is so special – it changes across all seasons.
“We’ve got a mixed bag of goodies.”
Dave said that his aviation training program consisted of rules, regulations, practical tests, theory and flight tests and exams, and medical requirements.
“It was quite a number of years after doing training that I became a public charter,” he said.
“People who jump on board with us expect to be safe and fully protected and specific conditions have to be met.”
After finally getting into his own business, Dave was overjoyed to be able to buy his own aircraft.
“It is very full on – I keep myself busy,” he said.
However, in his spare time, Dave enjoys spending time at Bonnie Doon, riding his horse and car racing.
“I was in Targa High Country last year and I do all my own work on my car,” he said.
“I don’t look for adrenaline when I fly a helicopter – that’s better suited to me in a race car on a track.
“I’ve always been mechanically minded.”
Dave’s apprenticeship training consisted of a lot of mechanical training which is where he has learnt a lot of his skills, but he also claims to have picked them up along the way.
“When I was a teenager I was always pulling apart lawn mowers, chainsaws and the like,” he said.
“It’s saved me a lot of money and has enabled me to afford to do what I do.
“I like to get it right – I’m really fussy about how things get put together.
“When I was younger it was all about motorbikes and go-karts – you can see where my love for motorsports has stemmed from.”