Bush Pilots Australia company owner and Chief Pilot Vic Bongiorno began flying while travelling overland through Africa in 1979.
He took his first flying lessons out over the Ngong Hills and the Rift Valley in Kenya, a-la-“Out Of Africa”.
There is no doubt that Africa changed his life and he still harbours a great love and desire to revisit it on regular occasions.
A bush airline was always in his sights. Fixed wing or Rotary.
To this end, Bush Pilots Australia was born (first starting in down on The Great Ocean Road, 1999 as ‘Cape Otway Aviation’) and is well under way to adding helicopters to its flight-line.
Initially Vic spent a lot of his early flying career down on the Bass Straight Islands, learning about the adverse conditions that prevail in those regions. Short difficult airstrips, high winds and rain. He is still only one of two commercial operators that is allowed to fly in and out of the Melaleuca Airstrip on Bathurst Harbour in The South West Wilderness region of Tasmania’s rugged West Coast. Whilst for him, no commercial venture has ever eventuated in the region, he has a great love of wilderness and hopes one day that will change.
Even though he went ahead to achieve an ATPL (airline) licence, he knew his life was never going to be in career airlines. He started flying to see the country from the air. That was the complete motivation, and to this day, while he sometimes regrets not ever flying for an airline, he knows that a uniform has never been his speed. The bush and it’s people are everything to him.
After a short stint in farming Vic decided that life was too short and went back to his passion of bush flying. He initially started off in Apollo Bay with one aircraft in 1999 and is gradually building up and branching out to bases in South Australia where he sees opportunity.
While air charter is renowned for being a tough industry, Vic remains positive and will continue to expand the business he loves…bush flying.
To visit the Apollo Bay Aviation website, click here.
Bush Pilots Australia and Apollo Bay Aviation operate a fleet of high winged Cessna aircraft allowing unobscured views for passengers. The company has an impeccable safety record and all aircraft in the fleet are maintained to the highest of standards.