Kathleen Devlin
Commercial Property Manager
Kathleen Devlin Commercial Property Manager CFII Going through flight training while working a demanding full-time job is not easy. From PPL through initial CFI, I trained after work and on weekends as much as I could, which took me a long time and a lot of money to accomplish each goal. When I decided to get my CFII, I wanted to get through the training as quickly as possible, but didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of my training. Dave is known for his accelerated training and has trained countless first-class instructors. I knew training with him would be difficult, because he has very high standards for himself and his students, but I knew I would be trained right. At one point during my training, I was ready to quit, accepting that I may never achieve CFII, because the stress of working full time while flight training became too much for me. Dave wouldn’t let me quit. He knew I had what it took and didn’t give up on me. He encouraged me to keep going, and worked our schedules out so we could train as much as possible during my sporadic time off from work. He gave me the confidence I needed to go into my check ride knowing I would be a successful instructor. I passed on the first try! I would highly recommend Dave for top notch, quality, get it done flight training. He ensures you not only know the material but really understand it and pushes you to bring out your best pilot self.
Kevin MacDonald
Retired CEO
I was first introduced to Dave Simpson as a CFI who had the appropriate experience to provide my initial training in the PA32 (Piper Saratoga). I then trained with Dave to earn my Instrument rating in that same plane and most recently trained with Dave to earn my Commercial Certificate. I have had several instructors during my 6 year aviation history, but I keep going back to Dave for several reasons. He is the most knowledgeable instructor I have worked with and he is simply a pleasure to fly with. He holds you to high standards, but he helps you achieve those standards in an environment that is safe and enjoyable to learn. He has a very calm demeanor, but will push you to be your best. The amount of knowledge required across the various certifications and ratings is enormous. Dave knows most of it, but when he does not, he can quickly find it, and will always come back to you with an answer along with the supporting information. He is more knowledgeable than any other instructor that I have ever worked with. Throughout the past few years, if I am not taking a class, I am engaging Dave as a safety pilot for IFR Currency or other miscellaneous training exercises as I simply enjoy flying with him. I highly recommend Dave Simpson!
Walter Wilson
Aerospace Engineer
I selected Dave Simpson for my instrument training because he seemed to be one of the most organized and experienced instructors around. From day one, I knew I had made the right choice. Dave works from a well-crafted syllabus that ensures you cover and learn all the required material. He provided numerous in-depth lessons, resources and real world examples for the information required to pass the instrument test as well as for complexities of real world instrument flying. Having his own private office from which to base lessons and preflight / postflight reviews allowed for maximum concentration and the best learning environment. Dave also has his own FAA approved simulator which is invaluable for learning during your first lessons. Overall, Dave prepared me exceptionally well for the Instrument check ride, was a true pleasure to train and fly with, and exceeded my expectations in terms of his skill, knowledge and professionalism. I’m most grateful that Dave did not just prepare me for the test, but by having me fly to numerous airports, perform a wide variety of approaches and departures, holds and arcs, Dave truly prepared me to fly safely and competently in the IFR system!
Grant Grimard
Research Associate
After having tried to complete my Commercial Pilot-Airplane certificate multiple times at a flight school in Michigan over two years, I decided to search for a respected accelerated program. Here is where I came across Dave Simpson’s 5-day course. I was looking for an instructor with experience successfully training commercial applicants, aircraft that were well maintained, and weather that would allow for daily training. My experience with Take Flight San Diego not only met each of these requirements, but also exceeded them. Dave’s experience allows him to both quickly access each of his student’s knowledge and flight deficiencies and then train those deficiencies to a level beyond basic proficiency. Additionally, Dave’s deep understanding of the required knowledge allows him to train at the correlation level of learning through scenario-based training and storytelling. And maybe most importantly, Dave is a pleasure to be around for hours at a time and an overall great person. I highly recommend his course(s).
Nathan Ballard
IT Business Owner
After going through Dave's CFI course, I can't recommend him and it enough! It is intense no doubt, but it will surely prepare you for real students and real situations, and ensure that you are ready to be an active, well-prepared and professional instructor. I have taught several students since my time with Dave, and and the feedback from my students has been overwhelmingly positive. I attribute this to Dave's commitment to producing top-tier, active (not ride-along) CFIs. Thanks Dave!
Sal Marinello
Sales Executive
When I started investigating a school and flight instructor to train for my CFI, Take Flight San Diego was highly recommended and I was encouraged to reach out to Dave Simpson based on my requirements and learning style. I was looking for a concentrated CFI program with high standards, a detailed plan and a high degree of success. After reaching out to Dave and speaking to him, I knew I had found the right CFI to train with. The training was as advertised and exactly as we discussed on the phone. Dave has very high standards and provided me with a very detailed agenda, one that worked perfectly for me. Dave provides an atmosphere that encourages learning and I found it a pleasure to work with him. I will be a better CFI because I trained with Dave Simpson and I would highly recommend Take Flight San Diego and Dave Simpson to anyone who wants top notch flight training. With the highest appreciation and regards, thank you, Dave.
Charlie Hamilton
Last year I completed the 5 day Commercial course with Dave and it was just amazing. It’s hard to comprehend how one person can have so much knowledge. The 5 day course was challenging but still really fun, Dave has a way of sharing the information in a way that really makes sense. My DPE said I was really well prepared and I give Dave a lot of credit for that. I liked the commercial course so much I went back this year and did 3 days of ground school in preparations for my CFI, which I passed also on the first try, the oral part of the test was 5 hours long and the examiner again said I was really prepared. Thank You Dave!
Carianne McLellan
Take Flight San Diego is the best of the best when it comes to flight training in San Diego County. Principal instructor Dave Simpson is highly knowledgeable and his well-designed curriculum, vital in terms of skill development and retention, is incomparable to others within this industry. The Master CFI worked diligently with me over multiple weeks assisting with my long term aviation goals in a very concentrated period of time. His skill level in education, safety and hands-on instruction is unsurpassed. Many times Dave went above and beyond the scope of duty and exceeded all my expectations. As such I highly recommend this elite training course!
Charlie Smith
I completed my CFI-Airplane initial with Dave Simpson and Take Flight San Diego and highly recommend it to anyone pursuing an accelerated CFI! Dave was well prepared for my arrival, made the scheduling and logistics flexible and easy, and is clearly one of the most experienced individuals when it comes to teaching CFIs. Dave was an expert teacher and mentor, and did a great job of facilitating the practical exam via a local DPE. With appropriate preparation and lesson plan development beforehand, the accelerated timeline is completely manageable. I will be back for my CFII!
David Francis
Dave is without question the best flight instructor I've ever had. The CFI practical test is extremely comprehensive, and Dave stressed the need to put a lot of work into preparing lesson plans for the oral portion. I did that, and scheduled 6 days of oral and flight prep with Dave. As well as I thought I had prepared, Dave honed my knowledge and whipped me into shape in terms of the flight maneuvers. Dave's a super nice guy, but his course is rigorous, and that's exactly what you'll need for something as challenging as the CFI practical exam. If you live in the Southwest (or even beyond) and you are looking for a truly professional flight instructor, you're really missing out if you don't hire Dave.
Andrew Komaromi
Director of Planning & Analysis
I would recommend Dave Simpson to anyone looking for solid, well structured, and proper flight instruction. I passed my written, oral, and IR checkride all on the first try and I feel confident launching into IMC conditions, but am also vigilant of my own personal limitations as I build experience. I owe this knowledge to the instruction I received from Dave Simpson. I have flown with probably a dozen different instructors since I started flying in 2003 and Dave has been the most solid and educational that I have flown with. Dave’s passion for aviation is evident; he is not someone just looking to build hours or do this as a part time gig, and you feel like he personally cares about each of his students’ success. You can tell he has real experience, knowledge, talent, and passion when it comes to flying. Even though I don’t fly professionally I always felt like not having my instrument rating was something missing in my toolbag. I had flown with Dave a few times before and his general approach clicked well with me, even when just doing a check out flight he brought a good balance of FAR/AIM knowledge as well as personal experience that gave me a well rounded and positive flying experience. That kind of balance between FAR/AIM and real world knowledge is invaluable, so when I finally decided to go for my instrument rating I knew Dave was the right instructor for me. In 2018 it is also refreshing to fly with someone who embraces what technology is available to us like Foreflight, Ipad, Garmin 650 and 1000 aviation systems, etc. Dave has a great suite of products on the app store that I can’t recommend enough either. P.S. – for any Cirrus pilots out there, or people looking to get into the best GA airplane on the market *wink* Dave also offers a proper CSIP level transition program. The Cirrus is a serious cross country platform and I would highly recommend him for this too. I’ve taken Cirrus courses at other outfits and I find Dave’s approach to be superior.. again, for its combination of book knowledge and real world experience.
Mike Tran
Medical Doctor
After obtaining my private certificate, I knew I wanted to proceed with instrument training to become a safer pilot. Since this is a hobby and spare time is limited, I wanted an organized approach so I could be efficient with my training. Instrument training involves a good deal of both book learning as well as flying skills. Dave is very organized, experienced and capable of helping people in this setting. There’s no doubt I made the right choice in asking Dave to help me get my instrument rating.
Des Bell
I was searching for a top-notch, accelerated and comprehensive program and contacted Dave on the recommendation of my CFI who had trained with him. I'm so glad I did! I was impressed by Dave's thorough approach to oral preparation and his teaching style in the airplane. I also appreciated his patience when I struggled with something. At the end of our time together I was well prepared for my successful checkride. I endorse Dave unreservedly and am looking forward to working with him in the future. Thanks Dave!
Steve Eiler
Federal Express Manager
I completed my FOI, AGI, and FIA written tests back in December of 2015 thinking I would start working on my CFI in January 2016 and be done with it by mid spring. For a number of reasons-work, family, and overall lack of direction with where and how my lesson plans should begin I never got started. So I did what any rational pilot would do to cover up the guilt of not starting my new year’s resolution and I went on a “FLY vacation” and completed my Airplane Single Engine Sea rating out of Seattle’s Renton field. As much fun as that was (everyone should do it!!!) 2016 came and went and I was no closer to my CFI goal. So with 2017 starring me in the face I knew my slack time was up and that the CFI was going to be way more of a battle than any previous rating was. I needed to commit serious time and I needed some guidance from someone on where to focus to not waste time and money. I had the pleasure to work with Dave as I prepared for my CFI and first connected with him in February 2017 to set up our dates for the 5 Day class in April. He gave some good ideas to get started with lesson planning and showed me where the bar would be set….it was high! After our first two days of class in April it was apparent that I would be needing some additional coaching and help as I lacked “instructional knowledge” on a number of topics. Even though I had spent many hours reading the previous 3 months from FAA Flying Handbook, Flight Instructor Jepp book, and FAA instructor manual my understanding and ability to teach the material with a coherent flow was lacking. Dave was patient and helpful and really helped me fill in the gaps. We decided to book a few extra days together and postpone the check ride. After all was said and done I appreciated Dave holding me to his high standard both in my flying and ground lessons and it paid off with a PASS the first time through the check ride. He is a great CFI, coach, and mentor. Thanks Dave!
Miguel Cartagena
Full Time Flight Instructor
I was searching to do my CFI in the most efficient way possible and after having dealt with flight schools I was looking for something different. I wanted someone who cared about me and my training, something that it is quite difficult to find in flight schools. The other box to check was finding someone who could provide structure and a deadline. That is when I came across Dave's website, I contacted him and we scheduled the lessons right away. I have to say, despite what other people may think, that the CFI has been the most enjoyable training and checkride I have ever done, all thanks to Dave's training. He has been there all the way and has sacrificed as much as me to get me through. I could not be happier with the decision I made.
Ben Klein
Aviation Attorney
I went to Dave for my CFI based on the recommendation of my CFI, who had used Dave for both his CFI and CFII and gave Dave a glowing recommendation. I am glad I took his advice. As most people will tell you, the oral portion of the CFI is the tough part, and Dave does an incredible job of getting an applicant prepared. He knows the stuff cold, and he also knows the examiners in the San Diego area and their particular areas of emphasis and testing style. After 6 days, I felt incredibly well prepared for that portion of the check ride. As for the flying, I came to Dave having logged very few hours in the preceding months, and he did his absolute best to whip me into shape in the short time allotted. Dave has gained a reputation as the preeminent instructor for CFIs and it is well deserved! I recommend him without reservation, and if I ever feel like torturing myself, will certainly return to Dave for my CFII.
John Joslin
Pharmaceutical Manager
I would recommend Dave to anyone pursuing a new aviation goal. I worked with Dave for my private and most recently, my instrument rating. Dave holds very high standards but helps you get there. He is very patient but also quickly identifies your challenges and helps you understand them. Every flight has a pre and post flight briefing. While there is always a review of how you did relative to the standards in the ACS, the focus is on making you a safer pilot. In other words, Dave knows how to get you ready for the check-ride, but also he knows how to make you a safe pilot. You will finish with the confidence and ability needed to fly single pilot IFR.
Kevin May
Navy Project Manager
After completing my CFI training using Dave Simpson’s accelerated 5 day program, I had no doubt where to turn for my CFII training. I was just as impressed with his 4 day CFII program. Accelerated, full-time training produces the best results for me and is easier to fit into my schedule than part-time training. Dave has accelerated training down to a science, with very well organized and comprehensive training plans. He has clearly spent a lot of time working on lesson plans and consolidating resources, which he shares with his students. He also has a wealth of experience with local DPE’s, which enables him to provide valuable insights for each checkride. If you show up prepared, you can expect to complete his accelerated programs in the time advertised and show up very well prepared for your checkride, making his programs a great value. I have already recommended Dave and Take Flight San Diego to several people looking for accelerated flight training, and I will not hesitate to do so again.
Kevin Barton
Owner Physician Practice
After a few Google searches for accelerated CFI programs, I came across Dave Simpson’s website “Take Flight San Diego” and was immediately impressed. I read the testimonials from previous CFI candidates and I could see that Dave was accustomed to working with professionals like me who did not have tons of extra time to devote to a more traditional course. Dave’s website was well organized with great resource materials and overall had much more information than any other school or CFI website I had seen previously. Spending a week in San Diego was a deciding factor also, knowing the weather would likely be great everyday which it was. I decided to call Dave to discuss the details. Dave explained that the course could be completed in 5-6 days as long as I was WELL PREPARED when I arrived. Turns out I was not WELL PREPARED and I worked extremely hard all week to catch up, which is how I like it. I had none of the distractions I would have at home trying to study all week, so this type of program fits me well. My first day was eye opening on the vastness of material I needed to learn and how far behind I was. I assured Dave I would be where I needed to be by the checkride. I allowed myself 7 days knowing I would not be fully prepared when I arrived. Dave was not only well prepared each day, he knows how to teach in a way that will prepare you to be an expert instructor. I gained a deeper understanding of the material that had not been taught to me in the past. Not only did he teach me what was important for the checkride, he taught me what he felt was important to be a great instructor. Dave’s previous background as a CEO and COO was quite evident in his professional approach to his second career as a professional flight instructor. I use the term “professional” in the true sense because it is something I have rarely come across in my previous experiences with CFI’s. Dave possess the traits of a true professional CFI and aviator. I would recommend Dave to anyone looking to flight train in any capacity including his accelerated CFI courses or just looking to get your private pilot’s license. Dave has a nice comfortable office at the airport that made the ground lessons easy and convenient. After passing my CFI checkride, he offered assistance in the future with his wealth of resources that he has developed for his students.
Marcus Vitale
Owner Luckypup - Orvis Endorsed Wingshooting Guide
I approached Dave Simpson at Take Flight San Diego to help me finish up the grueling task of completing my CFI. Being self-employed I had to work around my busy schedule and began preparing for my CFI rating at a slow pace. After almost two years I realized that I needed to focus on wrapping up my CFI rating and started my search for someone to help me achieve this goal. I ultimately choose Dave Simpson after interviewing several local CFI Instructors, and a few out of town flight schools. Interesting enough many of the CFI instructors I interviewed had used Dave to help them obtain their own CFI rating. This was a huge endorsement in my opinion, and spoke volumes to Dave’s comprehensive program, and his ability to help others obtain a CFI rating. Dave is a wealth of knowledge, is very well read, informative and utilizes an extensive list of material compiled over his many years of instructing, and preparing, CFI candidates. He is very generous with sharing not only the knowledge he has to pass along, but also the knowledge and experience of his previous CFI students. Dave has numerous Pilot resources, easily accessible online, and some very helpful pamphlets and study materials that will get you organized, stay on track and ultimately pass your CFI check ride. Dave has a comprehensive understanding of how to polish a student and prepare them for the CFI rating. His insight regarding the CFI check ride and various Designated Examiners is second to none, I highly recommend Dave Simpson at Take Flight San Diego to anyone interested in flight training, particularly for those seeking their CFI rating.
Adam Silverthorne
Technology Consultant
I was looking for a good, fully immersive/intensive CFI course. I considered AmericanFlyers and ATP and a few others, but received a very strong endorsement for Dave Simpson at Take Flight San Diego and after speaking with him on the phone, I decided this would be a good fit. I flew my plane down from Northern California and spent about 6 full days with Dave. He has a very clear and direct communication style and really, really knows his stuff. He knows exactly what is important on each part of the PTS, and focusses you in entirely on that. There is a lot to cover, and it's easy to go down a rat hole on some of these items, but Dave always knew exactly where to draw the line in terms of the important, big picture things to grasp. He had techniques and rules of thumb to make things easier to remember, and really knows what you need to know and what you know how to lookup. I went in confident because I knew the material. I passed the check ride on the first try and couldn't have done it without Dave. Two enthusiastic thumbs up and I'll be back for my CFII.
Rand Smedley
Director of Operations, Golden State Flying Club
I am so glad I used Dave Simpson to help me prepare for my recent CFI-I practical test. I consider Dave the instructor's instructor teaching not only what it takes to pass the test but what it takes to be great instructor.
Rob Sarrisin
After a 30+ year absence from general aviation and CFI work, I made the decision to seek a reissuance of my CFI certificate and return to being a full-time flight instructor. With all the regulatory changes, changes in private and commercial Practical Test Standards, and changes in equipment I was really struggling to pull it all together for my reinstatement check ride...so it was not a surprise that I didn't pass on my first attempt. My examiner advised me to find an instructor with current experience training CFIs, and after an evening of web searching and several face-to-face discussions, I settled on Dave. Dave had his hands full, but under his guidance we knocked off all those years of rust and brought my knowledge, flight, and teaching skills out of the 1980s and into the present. As a result, I sailed through my second reinstatement check ride and am looking forward to being a full-time instructor at Golden State and Plus One Flyers. I can't recommend Dave highly enough and I'm looking forward to training with him again when I start working on my CFII.
Ryan Sullivan
Future Airline Pilot
Commercial, CFI, CFII
I first came to Dave when I had a very unsatisfactory performance and failed my commercial check-ride. Within a handful of sessions he had me whipped into shape and feeling very confident. I was well prepared and easily passed my next examination. I continued with Dave for my CFI and CFII and passed both on the first try. Dave is a wealth of knowledge and goes well above and beyond the minimum needed to just pass a check-ride. If you are looking for someone to help you become the safest and best pilot you can be, look no further.
Michael Lederer
Investment Banker
The experience Dave provides for CFI is amazing. In fact, I went back to him last week and successfully earned my CFII. I consider myself a focused individual that can sit for hours pounding the books. It has been years since I have met someone as dedicated to success as Dave, and who genuinely cares that you learn the material. I showed up at Gillespie with many of my lesson plans already created, and much of the technical information learned. I hope that you put the effort in before showing up so that Dave can go as in depth with the material with you as he did with me. This guy knows a ton. You will pass your checkride and you will be ready to teach immediately, and you will know more than 85% of all instructors, once Dave signs you off.
Krystene Zehnder
Retail Industry
Having taken the long road on my private, instrument, and commercial ratings and certificates I decided I wanted to expedite my CFI. Having heard of Dave Simpson from a fellow CFI I decided to try his 5 day CFI course and I was not disappointed. Not only does Dave get you well prepared for the checkride, he also makes sure you are well prepared for the practicality of being a CFI as well. Dave is detail oriented, hard working, and determined which is something he instills and expects in each of his students. He not only prepares you to be a great CFI but a better pilot than you were before.
Yannis Tsolekas
Test Pilot
Being an instructor for 16 years for a foreign Air Force made the teaching process and the flying portion of my check ride easy. The hard part was to identify the proper material to cover in every lesson plan and refreshing the knowledge that was originally acquired almost 3 decades ago. Dave Simpson with his thorough and complete syllabus helped me tremendously in both areas. He is a knowledgeable and very skillful instructor that will give you the necessary tools to succeed in obtaining your license or rating but also effectively use them in the future.
Mike Lowe
U.S Navy
Dave Simpson's program for obtaining an IFR rating is excellent. The 7-day curriculum consists of simulator, ground school, and flight training. It is a rigorous and effective program that will set you up for success! The examiner who conducted my checkride said it was one of the best checkride performances he had ever seen, due in no small part to Dave Simpson's program.
Josh Lapray
Pathology Labratory Specialist
I was very satisfied with my experience learning from Dave Simpson. He is a great instructor who really knows how to prepare pilots for the checkride. There were several explanations that I received from Dave that saved me on the CFI checkride, things I wouldn't have known to prepare for. Whenever I asked a question and Dave was unsure of the answer, he was always very honest and took time to look up the answer so I wouldn't go home confused. Dave was also very flexible, he let me split the 5-Day CFI course into two weekends to fit with my work schedule and allow me to travel to and from California. Come prepared! If you write your own set of lesson plans using his recommended books and come ready to perform the maneuvers within standards, Dave will walk you through the rest and have you ready to pass your checkride by the end of the course.
Tim Smith
I highly recommend Dave Simpson for instrument training. I completed a hybrid of Dave's accelerated program and more traditional instrument training. Our plan was to do four days of the accelerated program and then additional sessions as needed to finish up. The first four days of the accelerated program included much of the ground work, a significant amount of simulator training, and the long cross-country flight. One measure of how well Dave's methodical approach to instrument flight works was that, at the beginning of my training, a flight seemed to go by so fast that it was difficult to complete all of the required tasks during the time available. But by the time I did my check ride, it was as though time had slowed down during the flight. By following the logical and organized steps that Dave taught, I was able complete the tasks correctly and without feeling rushed. I even had extra time that I could use to double and triple check critical items, which is always a good thing. Another indication of the quality of the training that Dave provided is that there were no surprises on the check ride.
Sean Archer
English Teacher
On February 1st and 2nd, I passed my CFI oral and check ride. It was a major mile stone for me. I enrolled in Take Flight San Diego and Mr. Dave Simpson was my flight instructor. As you might know, preparing for the CFI certificate is a huge undertaking of combining a constellation of knowledge coupled with learning how to teach it as well. Dave laid out a plan of action that included both ground and flight preparation. He has some great training aids that assist teaching the technical subject areas such as P-factor and altitude errors. During my training, he had me practice teaching ground and flight maneuvers to 3 of his former CFI successful graduates. This proved to be an invaluable experience because I was able to actually practice teaching to different people and receive feedback about my instruction. Dave was very thorough in going over all of the required Tasks from the Flight Instructors Practical Test Standards. He quickly assessed my weak areas and patiently set me on the right course to succeed. I highly recommend Mr. Dave Simpson for whatever your aviation goals are.
John Joslin
Pharmaceutical Industry
Private Pilot
A colleague recommended Dave Simpson and assured me that I would not find a better CFI, period. After meeting with Dave and completing my training, I have to agree. Dave is very patient while holding his students to a very high standard. The syllabus he designed is great and very methodical, with each lesson building off the previous lesson. From day one, you will have a very clear path as to what you need to do to complete your training. Dave always makes time for a preflight briefing, a post flight debriefing, and anything that comes up in between lessons. He takes the time to get know his students and understands both their strengths and weaknesses. By the end of your training, you will be ready for your oral and check ride. The whole experience is filled with a lot of great memories and a lot of new adventures. I cannot thank Dave enough for helping me achieve this life-long dream.
Dave Jardine
Sr Director International Software Company
Private Pilot
After flying for six months with another local flying school I gave up for a year before finding Dave to resume my flight training. When Dave met me I was frustrated and needed a lot of work. My busy work travel created a lot of "stop and start" challenges that Dave was willing to work with during my training. He is very patient, professional and firm about what you need to do to be successful. Dave is going to prepare you for a successful check-ride by making sure that you understand why and how each of the fundamental components of safe flying are performed. You will be a safe, professional pilot when you finish your program with Dave. You will also realize that flying is always a learning experience that will continue to challenge you on every flight as you grow as a pilot. Dave's program is by far the best value for your investment - personalized training based on what you need and when you need it in order to achieve your goals.
Ash Berman
Pharaceutical Industry
From the moment I began my training with Dave, I could tell that he genuinely cared about my success, and would not rest until I succeeded in achieving my goal. Even if that meant an extra flight or two to nail down Lazy Eights, or patiently and thoughtfully answering every silly little question I could come up with. I always felt like I was his number one priority. I cannot comment enough on how patient and calm Dave is; both instructing in-flight and on the ground. I never once felt rushed or hurried. Dave really knows how to create a great learning environment, and it pays off big time. I felt 100% percent prepared for this check ride, more so than any check ride I've taken in the past. I can't begin to thank Dave enough
Brett Milke
Teacher and Coach
Private Pilot
I was lucky I contacted Dave when I decide to resume my flight training. I began flying over seven years ago at a local flying school in San Diego, but did not finish my license. Dave developed a training plan that would get me to my check-ride exam very quickly. I passed on the first try! Dave will teach you exactly what you need to know as a pilot. Because of his knowledge, you will learn more in a shorter amount of time. I enjoyed working with Dave much more than the flight school I previously used. I will be working with Dave again when I decide to start my Instrument rating and would highly recommend using Dave for instruction!
Kara Hilwig
Staff Member Alaska Dept of Fish & Game
Winter in SE Alaska does not exactly offer ample opportunities to get flight training for an instrument rating. I researched the Internet until I found Take Flight San Diego and Dave Simpson. I had 3.3 hrs of hood time and 9 days to get 40 hours (and proficient enough) for the instrument rating. I could not risk potentially failing at this challenging endeavor with a newly certified CFII common to many flight schools. I can honestly say that Dave Simpson, with his experience, his teaching skills, his unbelievable patience, and his drive to make sure I accomplished my goal, is a large part of why I succeeded in this challenge. We worked long days, two flights a day interspersed with ground lessons. He adapted his teaching methods to suit my learning style perfectly as he patiently and repeatedly corrected my bad habits. I always felt comfortable and confident in his ability and decisions, even on my first training flight which was in actual IMC. Dave runs a highly professional training program which I recommend to all serious pilots. Study hard and both you and Dave will both be rewarded with your success. Oh, be sure to bring your lunch!
Dan Linehan
Aerospace Test Engineer
Private Pilot
Dave remained professional and courteous at all times during my training. I was most impressed and challenged by his insistence on perfection during all stages of flight from preflight, manuevers, landing and post-flight. Because of this I felt thoroughly prepared and confident prior to the check-ride. He was always available to answer my questions, and he eagerly accomodated my busy schedule. Despite having a full-time job that requires extensive travel, Dave's excellent instruction and flexible schedule allowed me to successfully complete my private pilot certificate in only 5 months
Shane Terpstra
Owner Technology Management Inc
Dave, thanks again for your help with my CFI checkride. I now know why you are such a renowned instructor. Your teaching methods are awesome. Very detail-oriented and thorough. I appreciate the help getting this achievement under my belt...
Kyle Howen
Engineer, Predator UAV
Private Pilot
Like many others I had the pleasure of training for a private pilot certificate with Dave. He was an excellent teacher from the introductory flight to my check-ride exam day. He was flexible with and responsible with our lesson schedule. Communication was always fast. Each flight was packed with extra information, emergency scenarios, and helpful techniques beyond the course syllabus. And most importantly Dave always put an emphasis on safety. Because of this I was able to confidently fly my girlfriend from San Diego to Los Angeles as soon as I got my license. I hope to continue flying and training with Dave, and would recommend the same to anyone else!
Todd Warner
Newspaper COO
Private Pilot
I've had the pleasure of working on my private pilot certificate with Dave Simpson and greatly appreciated his professionalism and patience. As a working professional, often my erratic schedule made consistent flight training impossible. However, Dave made himself available, mornings before work, evenings after work and weekends to accommodate my schedule. Dave was extremely patient, never chastising or making me feel incompetent - he was always professional. He never had any doubt I could complete the certificate which is more than I could say for myself. As a private instructor, I knew Dave was in this for the joy of instructing, not just to build hours to move onto a career the airlines. He demonstrates a true passion for general aviation and sharing that joy with others. I look forward to continuing my training with Dave.
Allwin Agnel
Wharton MBA Student
Private Pilot
I wanted to get my private pilot certificate and I wanted it fast. I had just over 35 days because I was going to be graduating from Wharton and wanted to get my flight license at the same time. I needed someone to work with me at my schedule and also be flexible, yet focused. I was lucky to find Dave who is an experienced, patient and focused flight instructor. I thoroughly enjoyed Dave's style of teaching because he did not overload me with information, but structured the course to ensure that there was ample learning every time we met. Furthermore, he was professional at all times and was on time for every lesson we had scheduled. I had a lot of obscure questions for him and he always answered them and in case he wasn't sure he made it a point to look it up and get back to me the very next day either by email or in person. His teaching style is very professional and coming from a professional background, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a joy to learn from someone who was willing to teach. Dave's goals in aviation are not to rack up more hours and it shows - he is an excellent teacher and a wonderful person to know. While it was challenging to fly almost everyday especially when the weather wasn't being too co-operative, Dave worked extremely hard to make sure all lessons were covered and had to restructure the course almost every day to ensure the deadline was met. Without his support and dedication, I wouldn't be a pilot today. If you value your time, money and are keen on learning - you should talk to Dave. But be prepared to work hard because he does, at all times.
Taylor Wallace
Private Pilot
Dave Simpson is an excellent flight instructor. He is extremely knowledgeable and can explain concepts easily. He is willing to instruct at a pace that is right for you and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is interested in learning to fly. I passed my private checkride on the first attempt even though before the training I had never flown a plane before. I am now enrolled in the aviation program at St Cloud University and plan to become a commercial airline pilot.
Ami Bagia
Student (Testimonial from Ami's Parents)
Private Pilot
We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for Ami in getting her instrument rating. We believe this is all because of your program. There was never a time that Jay and I ever had a doubt about Ami flying with you and learning under your direction. We heard second hand via Ami about your skills, your patience and your incredible knowledge base. We were amazed at how confident but cautious Ami became as a pilot. We were astonished at the growth of her level of comfort in piloting and navigating. We witnessed her commitment and watched as Ami gained confidence and ability. We witnessed her excitement after attending your week long intensive flight school. Each night she would come home after studying straight for 8 long hours ready to get up in the morning and go again! We were so proud when Ami passed her IFR written test with great scores and then passed the actual flight exam with glowing accolades from the FAA examiner. We attribute her success to you and your program. How can we thank you? Ami is only 21 and has years of flying ahead of her. But her passion for flying has been enhanced via your enthusiasm, your piloting acumen and your systematic and supportive style of teaching. Ami never felt threatened by you, never felt overwhelmed and never felt she couldn't succeed. Your trips with Ami to Ocean City, Maryland, Harrisburg, PA, and Toronto, Canada (including a buzz around the Falls) were incredible. You never stayed with just the familiar but rather always encouraged her to try more. I doubt if Ami will ever be able to duplicate your incredible teaching style and knowledge with another instructor. Thank you for giving Ami the foundation she needs to be the best pilot ever. Thanks to you our daughter has an incredible future ahead of her.
Dave Jardine
Sr Director International Software Company
After completing my private training with Dave, I flew for another year to gain additional experience as a VFR pilot. Flying in Southern California (mountainous and marine layer) convinced me that an IFR rating would make me a safer pilot and provide me with more options. I had stretched out my private training for more than a year due to my work schedule and found this was not the best way for me to learn. I recommend a slightly extended version of Dave's 7 Day-Instrument Course over 2-3 weeks for a busy professional with work commitments that don't allow you to take 7-10 consecutive days from your job. Dave knows what works - you can be assured that he has seen many different students and his curriculum and approach delivers results. If you can commit yourself to the time, effort and focus needed to complete the 7-Day Program then you too will complete your IFR check-ride successfully.
Chris Haynes
Environmental Engineer
The 5 day CFI course was great and worked for me. After taking the more traditional, slow and costly approach to getting my private and instrument ratings I decided that a more compressed and focused program was what would work for me for the CFI. I checked Dave and a few others out on line and set down for an in person interview with my top two. Dave's experience, great organization and ability to explain things in a way that I could understand impressed me right away. I came away with the impression that Dave enjoyed what he did. I came prepared with my homework done. The training itself was hard work but very rewarding and very professional. While the schedule is compressed Dave kept things flexible to meet my needs. Dave also worked to make sure I had other students to work with to practice the things I was learning. If you like the idea of fast training, I highly recommend Dave's accelerated courses. Thanks Dave
Mark Fishel
Project Manager, Environmental Consulting
When I decided to pursue my CFI certificate, with Dave, I was impressed with his attention to detail and professionalism. Dave is a pleasure to work with and learn from. He truly enjoys teaching. He taught me what was necessary to know for the check ride, but more importantly he helped teach me how to teach as an instructor. As a result, I found my check ride challenging, but easier than I expected. Dave also worked with my schedule often flying with me very early in the morning.
Bruce Costello
Sales Development Consultant
I highly recommend Dave Simpson and his 5 Day CFI course. As an instructor Dave is thorough, professional and totally focused on the success of the student. During my time with Dave I struggled at times and learned continuously. One of my greatest challenges was moving to the right seat and performing to Commercial standards - I went from being competent in an aircraft I had flown several hundred hours in, to performing like a new student - nowhere near the level required. Dave worked to understand and correct my difficulties - at one point at 3am! The oral check-ride can be very broad and/or very deep. Dave worked to ensure that not only was he confident enough in my ability to endorse me, but more importantly, once I became certified, that I'd leave as a well prepared new CFI. Thanks Dave. Bruce Costello (CFI)
Gary Stern
Military Surveillance Aircraft Operator
I passed my CFI check ride the first try thanks to Dave Simpson. I decided to pursue a CFI certificate after having experienced Dave's professional and fun approach to flight instruction. Experiences with prior instructors had left me feeling no urge to want to follow that path. After meeting Dave and having him bring me from my Private rating to Instrument, then Commercial, and now to CFI, I was exposed to a better example of flight instruction and this is what made the idea of becoming a CFI attractive to me. If you find that you are tired of being just another student, call Dave and find out what you are missing. Thanks again Dave.
Ant Bilsev
IT Consultant
I was introduced to Dave in June, while I was finishing my private certificate. I travel a lot for work and therefore looked for a way to finish my Instrument rating in the shortest possible time. Being a Plus One member, I was able to train in a great G1000 equipped C172. As I work in IT, I wanted to use the newest and safest technology around. Besides learning on "Glass", I also used an electronic flight bag for approach plates, AFD, FAR/AIM and checklists. Dave was a bit skeptical about the electronic plates, but really liked the use of them in the end. The first and only time I needed to carry paper was during my checkride, as the examiner didn't like the electronic device as much as I did! I selected Dave as the instructor to use for my instrument rating after a chance 10 minute meeting at the airport. After just a quick introduction and a short conversation I came away with the impression that Dave enjoyed what he did , and truly was interested in creating a positive experience for anyone interested in aviation and flying. The training itself was great fun and very professional. Dave taught me procedures in an easy-to-understand and -remember way. We flew many hours and approaches every day and used the longer cross country flights to work on IFR planning, ATC procedures and on learning the finer points of the G1000. Even a PAR approach was part of the training. After 7 days and about 35 flight hours later, Dave signed me off for my checkride, which I passed the following day. The oral and flight test were very tough but I was able to fly all approaches to PTS standard and finished the day with a new rating in my pocket. I not only enjoyed the way Dave was able to crunch so much information into 7 days and still keep it manageable and fun, but also his open minded approach to new technologies. If you like the idea of fast training, I highly recommend Dave's accelerated courses. Thanks Dave, it was a pleasure!
Gary Stern
Military Surveillance Aircraft Operator
Instrument & Commercial
I selected Dave as the instructor to use for my instrument rating after a chance 10 minute meeting at the airport. After just a quick introduction and a short conversation I came away with the impression that Dave enjoyed what he did , and truly was interested in creating a positive experience for anyone interested in aviation and flying. I came to Dave short of experience, and although a competent VFR pilot, quite sloppy in my habits. Dave committed himself wholeheartedly to getting me up to standard, and invested his time, before and after hours, to teach me the necessary skills to pass my IFR checkride. After just 6 days of flying, instructing and teaching I passed my practical test. I give credit to Dave for making this happen. His style of instruction is calm, non threatening, friendly and professional. Dave's' instructional method provided me with a very efficient, cost effective and thorough way to get from my private to my instrument rating. I highly recommend Dave Simpson as a flight instructor. I decided to get my commercial rating a few days after successfully passing my IFR check ride. I started the program but I was short of the 250 hours of PIC time needed, so flew some X-C flights to accrue the required time. My check ride was scheduled and we used the same examiner we used for the IFR check ride. I made it through the 3 hour oral then took the flight portion and passed. I now have my commercial pilot rating. Thanks for your help Dave, your style of instruction worked well for me and I would recommend you to anyone looking for a fast and effective way to earn their ratings.
Jerry Swartz
Pharmaceutical Industry
I came to Dave Simpson from another instructor but had never got to the IFR checkride stage. Dave was able to assess my skills and work with me to get me to checkride readiness. In the course of our work Dave introduced me to cockpit automation and SRM topics in a manner consistent with the latest PTS and that I had not experienced before. By the end of our lessons I was well prepared for a successful checkride and had increased my knowledge and skills. My education with him transformed me from a tentative IFR student to a more competent and confident IFR pilot. His easygoing manner and knowledge made the experience enjoyable and I'm looking forward to more instruction from Dave in the future.
Gerry Desimone
Principal, DeSimone & Huxter
II have encountered many coaches and have locked horns with some along the way. However, I always flourished when coached by one who forced me to challenge myself. Dave Simpson fits in that category. I am 50 years old and admittedly not the fastest learner. However, through Dave's tutelage I was able to fight through the mental blocks and frustration. Although the program was exhausting it simply did not allow me, as the pilot, to forget what was learned in the last session, as that was at most, a day earlier. I have and will encourage others to pursue their IFR training through a comprehensive course similar to that offered by Take Flight San Diego and, more particularly, I have recommended Dave Simpson as the instructor.
Clarence McAllister
Civil Engineer
I highly recommend Dave's 4 Day Finish up IFR program. As a busy executive, I spent almost a year on and off preparing for my IFR rating in my hometown. By getting away from the office and focusing on my training, I was able to obtain my IFR rating with the help of Dave. In the process, I was able to log a significant number of hours in actual instrument conditions.
Siima Mushendwa
Tour Operator, Tanzania
Dear Dave, it has been a pleasure working with you. Take Flight San Diego has enabled me to get my Instrument Rating by going thoroughly over ground school and detailed instruction. Dave is calm and explains everything in detail. Dave set a date for the checkride and we worked to get me ready for it.
Shairrie Van Duzer
Commander Civil Air Patrol
I have been a college and high school teacher for almost 30 years, as well as a pilot for 17. Three years ago I got serious about completing my CFI. I worked with one instructor, who recommended I go out of town because of the high failure rate for CFI's at our local FSDO. I tried that too, only to pay a lot of money and time going out of the area. After that bad experience, I met with Dave, and we efficiently reviewed all of the ground and finished off the flying portion. He is always very encouraging, positive, patience and calm. He also teaches above and beyond, to a high level of correlation and never wastes time. I passed on my first try at our local FSDO which boasts a 70% first time failure rate. His organization, preparation and teaching is exceptional. Thank you Dave!
Mike Maas
General Manager, U.S. Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft Corporation
I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me to fly IFR. Training with you was a terrific experience in all respects. Your deep knowledge, patience, and true passion for flying combine to make you a great instructor for an Instrument Rating. Most importantly, I found your personality to be highly conducive to learning: I felt comfortable and supported at all times, yet also challenged to excel. I really enjoyed working with you and look forward to another rating someday under your guidance.
Mark Duncan
Manager, Marketstar Corporation
I just completed the 5-Day Commercial program with Dave and couldn't be more pleased with the results. As an advanced instructor, Dave is a great mentor and coach while being very exacting about teaching the skills necessary to become a Commercial Pilot. With the accelerated program, you get Dave's complete personal attention from start to finish. This focused attention is invaluable as you develop new skills and then are able to immediately refine and reinforce your learning. You will develop the skills required to pass the commercial checkride (both the practical and oral exam) while developing a more complete understanding of aircraft aerodynamics and aircraft systems. I found the 5-Day Commercial program to be very cost and time efficient to achieve a higher level of flying skill and knowledge. The results speak for themselves, the examiner remarked (after the checkride) "you fly very well".
Kyle Olson
Pharmaceutical Executive
I highly recommend the 7 Day Instrument Program with Dave Simpson. Doing all the simulator training followed by 5 days of flying was a great way to get it all done efficiently and economically. I know several people who took lessons on and off for over a year and still hadn't gotten it done. I took my checkride with no problems at all. This weekend I flew an IFR trip and the return flight was IFR due to clouds. It was no problem at all. I'm very comfortable with my skills from this program. Dave's style is very easy going and the repetition you get from flying so much in a condensed time frame is a great benefit.
David Walsh
City Comptroller
I am writing this after completion of Dave's 7 Day Accelerated IFR training program and resultant successful completion of the oral and checkride. Dave's program was thorough, intuitive and efficient. Especially noteworthy is Dave's ability to simplify many of the complex processes associated with IFR coursework and present a simple, real-world solution that "sticks." I came to Dave with many misconceptions gleaned from prior instructors and a lack of the IFR discipline that differentiates IFR from VFR. Within a short time I learned more than I had in months of prior training. Even after I was "signed-off," and weather delayed the checkride, Dave provided timely refresher training to ensure that the learned skills did not erode. Needless to say, I believe Dave's approach works. It certainly worked with the examiner today. I would recommend him to anyone seeking an IFR rating.
Craig Foster
Jet Ownership Manager
For those interested in obtaining their instrument rating in a timely and efficient manner, I recommend Dave Simpson's IFR course. After completing his seven-day course and within five days of passing the checkride, I was confidently and safely flying within the ATC system. Dave's methodology is to focus intently on those areas required to pass both the oral and practical tests while also providing real-world knowledge based on his personal experience. The first few days were spent drilling and practicing on his in-home flight simulator. The last few days were spent doing air work. Each night was spent alone studying and reviewing systems and procedures and preparing for the next day's lesson. If you are one who is unable to spend countless months of on-again/off-again training at a local flight school, then I strongly suggest you contact Mr. Simpson to see how his program will help you successfully obtain your instrument rating both safely and efficiently.
Mike Dechnik
IT Professional
It was a pleasure working with Dave Simpson while pursuing my instrument rating. I passed the practical test and obtained the rating in just two weeks after contacting you. I had really struggled in my previous flight training while flying only once or twice a week and the accelerated instrument training that you provided was the perfect solution for getting me back on track, thoroughly learning the IFR system, and reinforcing the procedures to the point where they became good flying habits. After spending several hours on the simulator, I certainly felt more at ease with the holds and different approaches, and began to feel really confident as I felt it all coming together. Together we set an aggressive goal, and achieved it. What a great feeling! I was able to file an IFR flight plan and fly down to Sun N' Fun in Lakeland, FL just a few days after getting the ticket, while my VFR-only friends never made it, waiting for ceilings and weather to improve along the route. That alone made your training program worth every penny! I have already recommended your accelerated instrument training program to others and will continue to do so in the future.
John Morrow
Plant Maintenance Director
Dave Simpson is a thoroughly professional flight instructor. He was extremely organized and dedicated to my successful completion of this training. Dave made the learning experience very enjoyable for me. His training methods impart all of the skills needed to obtain the IFR rating in a very short period of time. After completing the training, I felt well prepared for the checkride. He was able to adapt the program to cover a few areas of weakness in my flying experience due to limited flight experience in the last two years. This experience will be something that I will look back on as a worthy investment in both time and money. I highly recommend Dave to anyone considering pilot training.
John Matter
Construction Company Owner
Wow! Now that I can relax and enjoy this major accomplishment, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for doing such a great job as my instructor. To successfully complete the Commercial Pilot Certificate in five days was nothing short of incredible! Your total knowledge of the flying requirements, the ability to have me perform at my best and your overall total professional capability made this successful outcome possible. There was a tremendous amount of technical information and flying maneuvers to squeeze into a short span of time. At the start, it seemed to be an overwhelming task to undertake. You were able to accommodate my schedule and never had me feel rushed or pressured. I know you were not satisfied until you thought I was ready. It was your relaxing, yet so thorough approach during those many practice hours that made it possible for me to hear those words, "You passed!"
Mike Costello
Auto Sales Manager
I had been taking my IFR training with another instructor. I had lots of training hours with not too much to show for it. Finally, I reached the point where I realized I was not really progressing and certainly not building my IFR confidence level. I approached Dave Simpson and asked if he would be willing to take me on and hopefully complete my training. The rest is history! Dave laid out a specialized training schedule for me and in no time at all, I was ready for my check ride which I passed! Today, I have the confidence to fly in the IFR system and my approaches are still right on! Thanks Dave!