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One hundred years since the armistice marking the end of the First World War, West Wind Aviation extends its profound gratitude to the men and women of the Canadian Forces for their good and valuable service to Canada.
Further, in marking the occasion, West Wind Aviation chief executive officer and president Michael Rodyniuk announced retired Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Col Andy Cook has joined the parent company as the director of flight operations.
“It used to be almost a mandatory in aviation to have had honourably served in the Air Force prior to joining commercial airlines. In fact, airlines were prone to picking the best and brightest with incredible, well tested, airmanship and navigational skills, to join the airline. I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to Col (ret’d) Andy Cook who exemplifies these characteristics as he joins our executive team. Over the past month ‘Colonel Cook’ has met all the qualifications to become West Wind’s ‘Captain Cook’ and qualify as a line captain for our airline on the ATR 42 aircraft.
“His lifelong leadership and flight skills will shape the culture of safety and discipline in our operation. Andy’s positive demeanour is already producing excellent team building and cohesion. Our organization is stronger with him on board.”
Cook comes to West Wind from the Royal Canadian Air Force after 28 years of service. He earned his civilian pilot’s licence in 1989 and his RCAF wings in 1993.
His RCAF experience included tours on the CT-114 Tutor in Moose Jaw, Sask., where he spent eight years both as a flying instructor and a team coordinator with the Snowbirds, the first Canadian air demonstration team designated as a squadron.
He has three tours on the CC-130 Hercules in air-to-air refueling, tactical air transport and strategic transport roles.
He commanded the Airbus A310 in VIP transport (Canada’s equivalent to Air Force One) flying the Prime Minister, Governor-General, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“Will and Kate”) and the Prince of Wales.
Cook has more than 60 operational sorties in Afghanistan under his belt on both the CC-130 and A310.
“I’m thrilled to join the team at West Wind. We have an amazing team here with a culture of safety, service excellence, respect and integrity. The sky is the limit for us as we plot our course to a successful company, built to stand the test of time,” said Cook.
“It is great to be embarking on my second career”.
Cook’s management experience is as impressive as his flying experience. He commanded a deployed operational base in the UAE, an A310 squadron in Trenton, Ont., and most recently 17 Wing Winnipeg, where he had both a CC-130 search and rescue and air-to-air refueling squadron and a Twin Otter squadron in Yellowknife and a Dash 8 squadron under his command.
Closer to Saskatoon, Cook commanded Canadian Forces Detachment Dundurn just outside of Saskatoon for the past three years.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry, English, and Education, a master’s degree from the U.S. Air Force in Military Operational Art and Science and a diploma from the U.S. Air Force Air War College.