Jessica Cox: The First Armless Licensed Pilot

There are two types of people in the world. The first are those that crib over what they do not have. The second are those that turn adversities into challenges, making the most of whatever they have. Clearly, it is the second category of people who go places and reach the pinnacle of success.

Jessica Cox certainly belongs to the second category.

To start off, Jessica is the world’s first armless licensed pilot. And as though that is not enough, she can also play the piano, drive a car, go scuba-diving, and is a Taekwondo champion.

Jessica’s initial life

Jessica Cox, now 36, did not develop her upper limbs in the womb. And it is a mystery as to why this happened. No previous scans had revealed that something was wrong and her parents were aghast when they saw Jessica for the first time.

“My mom had a normal pregnancy. And then on the day of my birth, it was an absolute shock to both of my parents…when the doctor brought me over saying: your baby doesn’t have any arms,” she told the Network.

However, her parents were determined to not raise her as a special child. They encouraged her to actively participate in all activities that children her age would otherwise do. So, Jessica went to a regular school and was an active tap dancer and loved to dance. Also, in order to avoid undesired attention, she learned to use her feet seamlessly to perform daily chores.

She had huge trust and confidence in herself and was not fond of using external aids. Thus, even after learning how to use prosthetic arms, Cox preferred to use her feet.

After her schooling, Jessica enrolled for a course in psychology at the University of Arizona and graduated in 2005 with flying colours.

Despite doing everything that others did, Jessica realized one fear that she had – the fear of flying.

Not one to give in to her fears though, Jessica began doing something about this.

Her journey towards conquering this fear came when Robin Stoddard, a former fighter pilot, offered her an opportunity to fly an aircraft. A non-profit organization called Able Flight offered her a scholarship for her to train to become a pilot.

But this journey was not easy.

She needed to find an aircraft that was compatible with her abilities of only being able to use her feet. This is where the aircraft ERCO Ercoupe 415 C came in. The controls of this aircraft do not include rudders, meaning that she could fly it using her feet only. Further, she needed able instructors who could help her begin flying with her limited abilities.

After rigorous three-year training, Jessica finally became a fully-licensed pilot, able to fly light-sport aircraft!

But her success story doesn’t end there. Jessica is also a renowned and prolific inspiration speaker who visits countries all over the world to inspire people to think positively.

She aims to inspire the younger lot as she herself had role models and the leader’s to look at.

“It’s wonderful to be a woman and to let people know that women can do great things. It’s also wonderful to see strong women leaders all around the world, and I hope they can continue their leadership because we all look up to them. They are the role models to so many people,” Cox said.

And we couldn’t agree more.

Isn’t Jessica a perfect example of someone who lives her life to the fullest?

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