David Diamond

David Diamond is a writer and 3D illustrator focusing on aviation. He brings his raw and honest viewpoint to the Learn to Fly Blog as one who was challenged and frustrated by the training materials he used during his own flight training.

David’s perspective is down to earth and easy for student pilots (and new pilots) to relate to. He is a private pilot and that’s it… Not a certified flight instructor (CFI), nor even instrument or multi-engine rated. His logged flight time remains in the low three digits, and he has no interest in flying for any reason besides fun. He never attended an aviation academy or university, and he has been checked out to fly in a total of only three different airplanes: the Cessna 172, the Piper Warrior and the Diamond Katana.

Diamond started writing about aviation as the result of his own flight training challenges. He wished he could have been inspired by an aviation writer who was also “all thumbs” during his training, but there was no one on the scene who fit the bill. He knew other pilots-in-training were struggling too, so he decided to take his writing, communications, and 3D illustrating skills and become the aviation writer who never needed to worry that the FAA might yank his flight instructor certification—or that someone might find out it took him almost 150 hours of training to get his license! The result of his long flight training struggle is ironically entitled, Flight Training: Taking the Short Approach.

Diamond’s 3D aviation illustration work appears regularly in APOA Pilot and Flight Training magazines, and has also appeared in aviation training materials developed by ASA and King Schools. His blog and portfolio can be found on

Choosing Your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)

Unlike your parents, you get to choose your flight instructor. So take advantage of this precious opportunity now. (And avoid therapy later.)

Have you started your flight training yet? If not, why? Still looking for that perfect CFI?

It’s not uncommon for prospective student pilots to delay flight training months or even years, waiting for the perfect CFI to come knocking on the door. The trouble is, CFIs never come knocking on the door. (Hell, you’re lucky if some of them even show up for lessons on time.)

And “perfect” is really a loaded term when it comes to CFIs anyway. What’s perfect? Smart? Sexy? Funny? Knowledgeable? On most of these accounts you’re in luck:

  • Smart? Many CFIs are smart, often to the point of irritation. It can be particularly endearing when all that brainpower comes tucked behind a forehead that still dreads acne.
  • Sexy? Most CFIs are reasonably attractive, some being downright gorgeous. If you learn best whilst you giggle and blush, this is the attribute to consider. And though “distractions” are an important part of primary pilot training, distractions on this scale are really better suited toward more advance pilot training, like instrument or commercial ratings.
  • Funny? None are as funny as me, so let’s skip this one.
  • Knowledgeable? I’ll bet this is the one that’s holding you up. How do you know how knowledgeable a person is about a subject you don’t know yourself?

Read More »

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Stop Doing What You Do So Well!

Are you a creature of habit when it comes to flying practice? Maybe that’s not such a good thing.

Anyone who’s seen the inside of a gym can tell you: those with toned arms always have a weight in their hands, and those with killer legs are always squatting, extending, pressing, etc.

And, it makes sense: How else did they get that way if it wasn’t for all that hard work?

But those solid arms are often held up by chicken legs, and those award-worthy stumps are often supporting T-Rex-like upper torsos.

The trouble is, we tend to favor what works for us, whether in the gym or in the cockpit.

If you’re like many pilots, you practice, by instinct, what you already do pretty well. If you’re practicing soft field take-offs all the time, I’ll bet I could rely on you to get us out of the muddy grass. Or, if you’re practicing Read More »

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No One Will Teach You To Be A Safe Pilot

Do you think flight training is about choosing a flight instructor and then sitting back while knowledge is stuffed into your head? If so, let’s clear out that head of yours right now.

In my book Flight Training: Taking the Short Approach, I suggest how to go about choosing a flight school, certified flight instructor (CFI), books, tools, etc. I won’t regurgitate here what I wrote there, because I always get myself into trouble when wrestling technologies as complex as copy & paste.

But there is one thing I will copy from the book, because I think it’s so important:

No one will teach you to be a safe pilot. No one will teach you to be a good pilot. The pilot you become will reflect the personal commitments you make. Read More »

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A Low-Carb, High-Altitude Lunch

The difference between me right now and me one hour ago is significant: I’m no longer hungry, and I’m current to carry passengers.

I didn’t plan to fly today, but the weather got the best of me. It’s midweek, so of course an airplane was available. Plus, my currency had lapsed and I need to take up passengers this weekend, so I knew I had to get to the airport some time before then. Read More »

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Be Unfaithful to Your CFI

Can two flight instructors teach you more than one? Learn from conflicting opinions and healthy debate to make yourself a better pilot.

During the course of typical flight training, we spend lots of time with our flight instructors (CFI). They become trusted advisors, so when they tell us something, we tend to accept it. When we hear other CFIs teach their students differently, we think how lucky we are to have the CFI who is right. Read More »

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