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Whale watching all part of a day’s work for GAM Group

GAM (General Aviation Maintenance) Group boast a rich history at Essendon Fields, stretching right back to their origin at the airport in 1983. Over three decades, GAM Group have built a reputation for providing safe and reliable air services to private and corporate enterprise across all states of Australia. The company conducts services including regular freight charter, passenger charter, aerial photography, aircraft ferrying and maintenance test flights.

Senior Base Pilot Reuben Mowbray, who has been with GAM Group for more than four years, says it’s the variety of the work that really surprises him.

“Due to the nature of our fleet capabilities, every day can be quite different. A day may start out as a routine freight charter where I end up in Tasmania recovering passengers to Melbourne for airline flights in the afternoon. I’m also actively involved in the company line training of new pilots which ensures standardised and high quality pilot operators able to professionally and safety conduct our operations,’’ he said.

The range of services that GAM Group offer today shows how far they’ve come over 39 years from the small team that merely provided maintenance out of the now heritage listed Hangar 1 at Essendon Airport. It’s this time of year that one of the more interesting services that they provide kicks off, with biological scouting and whale mapping off the east coast of Victoria being added to the schedule.

“As a pilot these flights are fantastic, where you get to be involved in spotting marine life for the day. We typically fly with three scientists who are tasked with observing and recording marine life that in a predetermined grid area. This data is plotted and forms part of an environmental impact study for the Star of the South off-shore wind farm project. The operation involves lower level observation and mapping of fish, dolphins, whales and any other relevant marine life in the grid area which spans from Wilson’s Promontory as far north as Longford,’’ Reuben said.

“Some of the marine life we see on these charters is beautiful. It’s so common to see dolphins and if you’re lucky you’ll see a herd of whales and often see them breaching too,’’ he said

“The scientists are so lovely and they bring treats for the pilots, which is always appreciated,’’ Reuben jokes.

GAM uses the Grand Commander 680FL aircraft for its biological scouting and whale mapping flights, which offers the ideal platform for observation with its high wings for unobscured views as well as excellent speed range and endurance. GAM Group says their base at Essendon Fields is essential to the efficient operation of their services, operating out of 1,448 square metres in Hangar 1, and since 2004 adding another 2,730 additional square metres in Hangar 2.

For leasing and development opportunities at Essendon Fields please contact Luke Crozier via 0423 414 100 or lc@ef.com.au or view current opportunities here.

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