A bird’s eye view of the Alpine coun­try Dave Blun­den shares his love for the High Coun­try from the air

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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