Matthew flies amongst the clouds

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Dutneall (right) of Drouin has joined his father Peter in gaining his hot air balloon pilot licence.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Dutneall (right) of Drouin has joined his father Peter in gaining his hot air balloon pilot licence.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Dutneall doesn’t have his head in the clouds but often isn’t far from it.

The Drouin resident and year 12 student last month gained his licence to pilot hot air balloons.

Getting a licence to drive a car is the main aim of most approaching their 18th birthdays and Matthew has one of those, too.

Ballooning is something he has been around all his life but it wasn’t until about two years ago that Matthew really got interested in getting his own licence to fly.

Since then he has passed a range of examinations and completed at least 16 hours flying under supervision to qualify.

His father Peter is an enthusiast and has his own balloon.

Matthew recalls well his first flight when he was six-years-old reaching a height of 5500 feet, a height he hasn’t reached again.

He has also travelled overseas with his father on a number of government funded tourism promotions including a trip to the Philippines where about 90,000 people turned up to a festival they took part in.

“A lot of ballooning” is in Matthew’s plans and although his interest is in a career in aviation, it is one where his feet would be firmly on the ground.

He is looking at becoming an air traffic controller.


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