Our Instructors

Dean Tierney

      Chief Flying Instructor (Grade 1) / Charter Pilot

Dean is a highly experienced flight instructor and qualified flight examiner who joined TFT in 2021 as the Head of Flight Training. Flight instruction came naturally to Dean, who has always had a knack for teaching others, making things easy to understand and providing an enjoyable learning experience. Starting flying in 2009, Dean has spent many thousands of hours instructing and has a wealth of experience to pass onto his students. Qualified to teach anything from your first lesson up to advanced ratings, Dean believes "if you have the time, effort and motivation to fly, we will make it happen at TFT."
Dean is a mature professional and is well respected as our Chief Flight Instructor.

Single engine:

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

Multi engine:

  • Piper PA44
  • Diamond DA42
  • Piper Navajo (PA31)
  • Piper Seneca (PA34)

Shannon Samarasekera

Chief Pilot (Charter) /Grade 2 Multi Engine Instrument Flight Instructor

Shannon has been in the aviation industry for over 7 years and is the Chief Pilot for our charter brand, Zephair. Shannon leads the Fixed Wing team with Dean. During Shannon’s aviation career he has worked as an Instructor, Skydive Pilot and before joining us he gained valuable experience as a Senior Base 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. 

"It is my belief that Australian pilots are regarded as some of the best in the world. Therefore, it is my responsibility to train them to a very high standard. I love seeing students and our charter pilots develop and learn from my instruction and experience. There is nothing more rewarding than sending a student on their first solo or seeing a newly inducted charter pilot complete their first passenger air charter. I'm very lucky and proud to work alongside a talented team of Pilots, I believe we have the best-in-our-class team. This career path is extremely challenging, I am actively looking at ways to create pathways for our students to enter the industry and this remains my main focus."

Shannon has flown 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

Trace Palmer

Flight Instructor (Grade 2) / Charter Pilot 

Trace is our Senior CPL instructor, he previously worked for 5 years as a flight instructor just south of Christchurch, and 2 years as a skydive pilot. Trace is exceptional at preparing students in their final hours of training for their Commercial Pilot Licence test.

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 will also soon be flying Charter flights in the multi-engine aircraft. He has experience flying the following aircraft:

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 152, 172, 182, 180, 185
  • Piper PA 18, PA 140, PA 161, PA 181
  • Alpha 160

Multi Engine:

  • Partenavia P68
  • Piper Seneca (PA34) 
  • Piper Navajo (PA31)

Lachlan Burke

Grade 2 Instructor / Charter Pilot

Lachie is a Grade 2 flight instructor and holds Multi Engine, Instrument and Night VFR training endorsements. In 2019 he completed his Bachelor of Aviation and commercial pilot's license at Moorabbin Airport in Victoria. Lachie is also employed with Zephair Aircraft charters flying our Piper Navajo and Seneca throughout regional Queensland. This role has allowed him to visit new and remote destinations, which has been the highlight of his flying career so far.

He holds a pass in ATPL theory subjects.

Lachie has experience flying the following aircraft: 

Single Engine:

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

Multi Engine:

  • Piper Seminole (PA44)
  • Piper Seneca (PA34)
  • Piper Navajo (PA31)
  • Partenavia (P.68)

Brendan Gair 

Multi Engine Instrument Flight Instructor (Grade 2) / 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. Brendan’s multi-engine instrument (MEIR) training is of a very high standard, as a result, students completing their MEIR leave TFT being highly proficient and confident in using this rating.
Brendan is also a Charter Pilot flying passengers across regional Queensland.

He has flown the following aircraft:

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 140, 150, 172, 182, 182RG

Multi engine:

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

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

Tim Ledden

Theory Instructor / Flight Instructor (Grade 3) / Charter Pilot

Originally from Sydney, Tim started his flight training at the age of 15. He completed both his RPL and PPL at Bankstown Airport before moving to Townsville in 2019 to finish his CPL training with us right here at Townsville Flight Training. Because of Tim’s excellent performance during his course of training at TFT he was offered a position in our team as the CPL Theory Instructor. His continued dedication and hard work have seen him progress  even further to a Flight Instructor. Tim has also been able to conduct several flights in the region transporting company staff and freight.

Tim has flown the following aircraft:

Single Engine:

  • Cessna 152, 172, 182
  • Piper PA 28

Jordon Ward

     IREX Theory Instructor / Grade 3 Instructor - Design Feature Training

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. Because of Jordon’s exceptional performance as a student at TFT, he was hired as a Flight Instructor and also dedicated IREX theory instructor. Jordon’s work ethic and passion for flying rubs off on students as he sets a good example of the behaviours required to succeed in this industry.

 Aircraft flown:

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

Multi Engine: 

  • Piper Navajo (PA31)
  • Piper Seneca (PA34