Meet our Instructors 


Andrew Hopper 


Andrew completed his PPL with TG Aviation when he was 19, whilst at University studying Aeronautical Engineering. 

After this he moved to NZ for a year and flew from the North Shore Aero Club near Auckland building hours for his commercial. 

Once he returned he was accepted by Oxford Aviation for the ATPL/IR course.

Soon after completing his commercial training he came back to us at TG and completed his instructor rating with Ted, then went on to instruct for TG full time. 

In 2008 Andrew completed his A320 rating and was offered a job at Tiger Airways Singapore and became Captain in 2011. Eventually Tiger Airways became part of Singapore Airlines. Andrew continued to fly with them whilst instructing in his spare time when in the UK. He has flown all over Asia, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and flown microlights in the Philippines.

In 2019 he returned to the UK and started instructing full time. He has around about 11,500 flying hours and 3,500 hours instructing. 


Andrew also has his own Robin 2112 Aerobatic aircraft for fun at the weekends.


Craig Brierley


Craig learnt to fly at Manston with SECOAT in the early 90’s qualifying with a CPL/IR (frozen ATPL) in 1995 and got his instructor rating a year later.

He flew with Ted Girdler (Late founder of TG) a couple of times in the early days so TG has been in his aviation life since the beginning. He started instructing for us in 2002.

Craig's aviation experience is spread across roughly 30 aircraft types. He flew from White Waltham, Redhill and Stapleford with Avia special, flying Tiger Moths.


In 2005 he joined Air Atlantique and then RVL, piloting the Coastguard Islander.


In 2008 he started to fly Learjets out of Biggin Hill, for a private charter company. 

Since 2014 he has flown for Classic wings, flying Tiger moths, Rapides and a Harvard . As well as coming back to TG at Lydd to instruct.


Craig also flies our Boeing Stearman out of Pent Farm. 

He holds a aerobatic instructor rating with around 3000 hours of instructing and a total of 5500 hours flying. 



Gary Merchant 

Flying has been in Gary’s blood since birth, both his parents were private pilots. He learnt to fly at Biggin Hill in the early 90s becoming an instructor. He spent 3 years in the corporate charter world flying the Dornier 228, Beech Kingair and the Citation Jet.

In 2001 he started flying from London City Airport on the Dornier 328 operating the schedules to and from Scotland and by 2003 he was flying the Boeing 737 from Edinburgh and London Stansted for a growing low cost airline.

Since 2004 he has been flying the Airbus A319/A320 based at London Gatwick operating all over Europe, he has been a Captain since 2006.

Always having had a keen interest in GA he continues instructing and examining. As well as working for TG he also instructs on the vintage fleet for Shipping and Airlines at Biggin Hill. His other non flying roles include being the Chairman of The Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship and a member of the Commercial Air Transport safety group for the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. He has logged just over 17,000 hours.