For over 20 years, Dawn Cook has been fulfilling her dream and living out her passion as a pilot. Her journey started in 1998, at a small airport in Virginia and she has never looked back. In 2002, she received a bachelors degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach Campus), with a minor in Psychology. She also graduated with her Instrument, Commercial-Multi, CFII-MEI ratings and countless students that had successfully passed their flight exams.
Dawn graduated just after the tragedy of September 11th, which meant opportunities to fly were few and far in between. Nevertheless, she persevered and found flight instructor positions that allowed her to cross the country. After a few years of teaching in Arizona, Virginia and Georgia, she decided to truly build her time and experience by choosing to fly cargo. For sometime, she flew single-pilot, multi-engine cargo… at night. This was a wonderful opportunity. Flying cargo at AirNet Systems allowed her to learn several different aircraft types, navigate across several states and experience various weather systems all in one day.
In 2004 she took the opportunity to begin to finally fly jets. She was hired at PSA Airlines and flew the CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 series. Complex systems, new locations, dual crew and a new company were a great match for Dawn. She built her time quickly, which often required her to change bases and fleets. But, this didn’t matter. She loved flying and was determined to make it to the major airlines. In 2006, a friend mentioned that Spirit Airlines was hiring. This would give Dawn the chance to not only obtain a new type rating, but more so she would have the opportunity to fly to busier airports and international destinations. At the same time, Dawn had applied for the Women in Aviation Type Rating Scholarship, sponsored by Delta Air Lines. She was hired by Spirit and won the scholarship in the same week. It was amazing. But, being that she had already given Spirit her word to start a class in a few weeks, she felt it only right to allow another woman to take her scholarship. There are few things that Dawn Cook values more than integrity. She felt it only right to allow Delta to present her scholarship to another woman that could accept its benefits. She turned the offer down and started at Spirit as promised.
Dawn enjoyed her time at Spirit Airlines. She was able to travel to countless new cities and loved the Airbus! In 2007, Delta Air Lines began hiring. She immediately knew she had to try. She was hired in October of 2007 onto the MD-88, flying the Delta Shuttle in New York City. It was amazing! The quick trips, busy airports and excellent crews! She was thrilled. In 2009, it was a busy year for Dawn. She changed planes and checked out on the Boeing 737. She also got married to the love of her life, Joe Cook (now Captain on the Airbus 319/320 at United Airlines). She enjoyed the 737 for many years. In 2012, Dawn and Joe welcomed their first daughter. And in 2014, their second daughter made their family complete.
Unfortunately, both Dawn and her husband were commuting to the New York area for work. In 2015 they decided to move to the Atlanta area. This proved to be a game changer! Dawn changed aircraft to the Airbus fleet (319/320/321), she became an Instructor Pilot on the Airbus and was training all the Mentees in the Delta Pilot Mentor program. 2015 also proved to be unprecedented year, because she met up with a few friends and FAST (Female Aviators Sticking Together) was created in May of 2015.
It was started as a way to simply connect female pilots via Facebook and has grown into an aviation community phenomenon! Currently the socially conscious 501-c(3) is home to over 10,500 female pilots worldwide. They are partnered with several airlines, host community events that build growth, networking and passion. Dawn remains President of FAST, and has expanded its Board of Directors, tripled its budget and has no plans to stop!
Dawn Cook is all about passion and paying it forward. She believes this amazing group of women can and will help change the face of aviation.