Flying without Arms
Category : General
Flying without Arms
By Ofonime Essien
Jessica Cox (born 1983 in Arizona) is the world’s first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. She was born without arms due to a rare birth defect.
At the age of 10 Cox began training in Taekwondo at a school in her home town of Sierra Vista. At the age of 14 she earned her first black belt.
While in college at the University of Arizona Cox restarted her Taekwondo training at an American Taekwondo Association club on campus. In an effort to help future students without the use of arms the instructors created an entire training curriculum by modifying the standard material from the ATA. For example, instead of a punch Cox executes a knee strike.
Cox has since gone on to earn her Second and Third Degree black belts in the ATA. Cox has also earned the title of 2014 Arizona State Champion in forms. It should be noted that she did not compete in a special abilities ring.
For most people, having a disability severe would make leading a normal life exceedingly difficult. But Cox was determined to be different. She has made many achievements with her feet that many people only dream of.
Jessica Cox flew in a single engine airplane for the first time via Wright Flight in 2005. Cox earned her pilot’s certificate on October 10, 2008, after three years of training, and is qualified to fly a light-sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet. She received her flight training through an Able Flight scholarship and soloed under the instruction of Parrish Traweek.
Cox’s Sport Pilot Certificate is for an ERCO 415-C Ercoupe which the Federal Aviation Administration has designated a light sport aircraft. Designed in the 1940s, the Ercoupe was built without rudder pedals. Instead, the rudder is interconnected with the ailerons through the yoke. This unique design allows Cox to control the airplane with one foot controlling the yoke while the other foot controls the throttle.
With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself. Cox has not used prosthetic arms since she turned 14. Using her feet as most people use their hands, she is able, among other things, to drive an unmodified car with an unrestricted license, to type on a keyboard at 25 words per minute, to pump her own gas, and to put in and remove her Contact lenses. She is also a certified SCUBA diver.
“As a person with disability, often times independence doesn’t come very easy,” Cox said. ”But when you do accomplish something that makes you more independent, there’s a certain amount of confidence and empowerment that comes from that.”
Cox graduated from the University of Arizona in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in communications. Cox works as a motivational speaker and has shared her message in 20 different countries.
Having no arms has not stopped Jessica Cox from flying high. She holds the Guinness World Record: The Only Pilot to Fly With Their Feet.
What is your excuse?
Instead of sitting down pitying yourself, blaming your parents, blaming your school, blaming your teachers, blaming your job, blaming your business, blaming your relationships, blaming your marriage, blaming the government or the economy for your circumstances, I want you to go out there and shake the world by the throat until you get what you want.
The world is filled with people who started out with nothing and wound up with more than they ever dreamed.
Epictetus, a Greek Philosopher said “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”.