Our Pilots


Shannon Samarasekera

Charter Pilot

Shannon has been in the aviation industry for over 7 years and is our dedicated Charter Pilot as well as a Grade 3 Flight Instructor holding Multi-Engine and Instrument Training approvals. Shannon has passes in all ATPL theory subjects.

During Shannon’s aviation career he has worked as an Instructor, Skydive Pilot and before joining us he gained valuable experience as a Multi-Engine Charter Pilot out west. Shannon previously worked in the Financial Services industry for several years (holding a Bachelor of Business degree) before following his dream of a career in aviation.

Shannon has experience flying the following aircraft:

Multi-Engine Aircraft:

  • Piper Chieftain/Navajo (PA31)
  • Beechcraft Baron (BE55)
  • Cessna 310 (C310)
  • Piper Seneca (PA34)
  • Partanavia (P68B)

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 208 (Caravan)
  • Cessna 172, 182, 210
  • Mooney M20J
  • Piper PA28, PA38

Dean Tierney

Chief Pilot / Chief Flying Instructor

Dean is a highly experienced instructor who was born and bred in Melbourne with a healthy obsession for flying and teaching.  Starting flying in high school, Dean has worked full time in the aviation industry since 2014. Qualified to teach anything from your first lesson up to your instructor rating, multi engine instrument rating or commercial pilot licence, he looks forward to sharing his passion with you. 

When not at work, Dean is usually found cooking more than he can eat or trying to learn a new riff on his guitar. 

Dean has experience flying the following aircraft:

Multi-Engine Aircraft:

  • Piper PA44
  • Diamond DA42

Single Engine:

  • Cessna C150, C172, C182, C210 
  • American Champion 8KCAB
  • Piper PA28 

Trace Palmer

Grade 2 Instructor / Charter Pilot

Joining us from New Zealand, Trace previously worked for 5 years as a flight instructor just south of Christchurch, and 2 years as a skydive pilot. Trace and his wife moved to Townsville to enjoy the lifestyle our city has to offer.

He has a Design Feature training endorsement, and holds Multi-Engine, Instrument and Tail wheel ratings.

Trace has experience flying the following aircraft:

Multi-Engine Aircraft:

  • Partenavia P68

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 152, 172, 182, 180, 185
  • Piper PA 18, PA 140, PA 161, PA 181
  • Alpha 160
Brendan Gair 
Grade 3 Instructor / Charter Pilot

Brendan started flying 6 years ago as a hobby and continued on to do CPL(A) with Grade 3 instructor rating. Brendan has worked across two different flight schools over the last two and a half years where he has gained multi engine instrument rating, multi engine, instrument and flight instructor training endorsements.

When he's not working, he enjoys spending time at the beach fishing or relaxing with friends and family.

Brendan has experience flying the following aircraft: 

Multi-Engine Aircraft:

  • Beechcraft Baron (BE55)
  • Cessna 310H
  • Piper PA68B, PA34, PA31

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 140, 150, 172, 182, 182RG

Tim Ledden

Theory Instructor / Charter Pilot 

Originally from Sydney, Tim started his flight training at the young age of 15. He completed both his RPL and PPL at Bankstown Airport before moving to Townsville in 2019 to finish his CPL training Townsville Flight Training. Tim joined the team in 2020 as TFT's fixed-wing Theory Instructor and ZephAir Charter Pilot. We'd be lost without him!

Tim has experience flying the following aircraft:

Single Engine Aircraft:

  • Cessna 152, 172, 182
  • Piper PA 28

Lachlan Burke

Grade 3 Instructor / Charter Pilot 

Lachie is a Grade 3 flight instructor at Townsville Flight Training and Charter Pilot with ZephAir Australia. He recently moved to Townsville from Melbourne. Whilst completing a Bachelor of Aviation Lachie conducted his flight training at Moorabbin airport where he received his Multi Engine Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot's licence in 2019. Lachie gained his Flight Instructor rating and Night VFR Training Endorsement in early 2020. He is currently working towards completing his ATPL subjects.

Lachie has experience flying the following aircraft: 

Multi-Engine Aircraft:

  • Piper Seminole (PA44)

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 172, 182 
  • American Champion Decathlon (8KCAB)

Jordon Ward

IREX Theory Instructor / Grade 3 Instructor / Charter Pilot

Jordon began flight training at TFT in January 2020, receiving his Diploma qualification and Commercial Pilot Licence in under 6 months! He then completed a flight instructor rating in Brisbane by late 2020.

Born and raised in Townsville, Jordon enjoyed his experience training at TFT so much he was thrilled to be able to join the team TFT and ZephAir Australia team in 2021 as the IREX Theory Instructor, Grade 3 Flight Instructor and charter pilot. 

 Jordan has experience flying the following aircraft: 

Single-Engine Aircraft:

  • Cessna 152, 172, 182
  • Decathlon (8KCAB)