Published: September 29, 2016
Our pilot, Todd Cook, happily stays in our perfectly good airplane most of the time. However--when he can hand the reins over to another capable diver-driver, Todd loves to take the fast way down.
He's a family man--married, and a father of 5, born in beautiful Mt Pleasant. He's been a pilot for 25 years, and flies commercial jets full time--skydivers, part-time. On his off time on the ground, he races dirt bikes and water skis.
Since his first training skydive on May 6th 2016, Todd has logged a total of 70 jumps, and he's working on his B license. He finished his A license in just under 30 days--impressive! We jumped at the chance to ask him some questions about what he does.
Q: Where did you make your first skydive?
A: Right here! I started skydiving in Nephi, Utah at Skydive the Wasatch. My first AFF jump was with Brandon Booker.
Q: How did you start skydiving?
A: I don't like fear of any kind, and I have never found anything that caused more fear than the thought of skydiving solo. I figured the best way to beat the fear was to jump. 70 jumps later, I'm having the time of my life,
Q: What skydive stands out the most for you?
A: Without a doubt, jump number eight. Until jump number 8, fear outweighed fun by 10 to 1: Fear level 10, fun level 1. That changed on jump number 8. Fear was now a 7, and fun was 8. HUGE difference.
It was a cloudy day, and I was the first to jump on that load. We had to drop farther away from the airport than normal to get a clear spot away from the clouds. I was terrible at tracking, but knew I would have to track if I wanted to make it back to the landing area. After getting the OK from Andrew, my instructor that day, I jumped and did my very best tracking towards the airport.
When I looked down, I could see a complete rainbow halo just below me--a result of a mist in the air from surrounding clouds. I opened my parachute high, headed straight to the airport, and landed right where I wanted to in the student landing area. That was awesome. I realized, I just had fun. The fun level has continued upward on every jump, and I don't see it stopping anytime soon.
Q: What kind of skydiving student are you?
A: I like to think I was a good student. I'm sure it was challenging for my instructors at times...but I want to learn everything I possibly can about skydiving.
Contrary to what most people think, I don't skydive to die--no, I do not have a death wish; I skydive to live. The more I can learn, the safer I can jump. I want to be jumping for many years to come.
Q: Do I have any suggestions for students?
A: Learn everything you can. Read; study; watch videos on days when you can't jump, to better prepare yourself for the days you can. Tunnel time is priceless when it comes to your training.
Q: What do you think makes a great skydiver?
A: Knowledge and experience. The skydivers I respect the most are always concerned about the safety of everyone on the jump. They make a plan before the jump and make sure everyone understands what is expected.
Q: What's your skydiving philosophy:
A: Fear won't keep you from dying, but it will keep you from living. Life has so much to offer once we shed the shackles of fear. Skydiving forces you to live a lifetime in a few seconds.