No. 2 Flying Training School flying instructor Flight Lieutenant Des Hales wowed the crowds at the Busselton Margaret River Airport Open Day in November last year.

He performed two aerobatics displays above his home town in a Pilatus PC-21 aircraft to mark the centenary of Air Force.

“This is a great opportunity to engage with the local community and showcase Air Force to them about what we do, and not just flying,” Flight Lieutenant Hales said.

Among the thousands of spectators was Flight Lieutenant Hale’s father, Peter Hales.

Mr Hales is a highly experienced and qualified flying instructor in his own right with his family owned and operated business Busselton Air Services. 

He was awarded the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Flying Instructor of the Year award in 2020, in which he was described as “the ultimate flying instructor”.

“That award was a big surprise and came out of the blue,” Mr Hales said.

His love of flight began in 1970 in a Cessna 150.

He can now boast more than 13,000 flying hours. 

This passion for flying has certainly been passed on to his two sons. 

Flight Lieutenant Hales learnt to fly with his father while still in high school and, alongside his siblings, helped around the family’s flight training school at the Busselton Aero Club washing light aircraft.

He joined the Air Force in 2003 and flew C-130J Hercules on operational deployments around the globe, including the Middle East. 

More recent career highlights included a visit to Norway, a two-and-a-half-year exchange to New Zealand and a stint with the RAAF Roulettes.

The other pilot in the family is Flight Lieutenant Hales’ brother, Ross Hale, who is a commercial pilot with Qantas flying long-haul international flights.

“It’s in our blood, that’s for sure,” Mr Hales said of his two sons.

Flight Lieutenant Hales said the family affair with flying remained strong, despite their different flight paths and aircraft types flown.

Flight Lieutenant Hales has been a qualified flying instructor since 2010.

More photos can be viewed on the Defence image gallery.