A Pilot Without Arms – The Story Of Jessica Cox

A Pilot That Was Born Without Arms – The Story Of Jessica Cox

Sometimes we feel down because something did not work out successfully. We might have failed to achieve something that we set out as a goal a long time ago. Or we might blame the circumstances that currently surround us.

Nevertheless, we constantly hear the inspirational stories that tell us the tales on how we can navigate through the thick jungle that is our current situation. Whatever the context of the stories, there is always one lesson to be learned – you can achieve everything that you set your mind to. No matter the difficulties, there is always a way to reach your target.

And Jessica Cox is living proof of that. Dealt with a very unfair hand when she was born, Jessica never gave up on her dreams. She never let her fears distract her from the goals Jessica wanted to achieve.


Jessica Cox was born on February 2nd, 1983. The first time her parents saw her, they were in shock – Jessica had no arms. Doctors could not explain why she was born that way. All previous pregnancy tests showed nothing irregular or that something is wrong.

However, neither the parents nor the doctors could do anything. Nevertheless, Jessica’s parents never wanted to exclude her from regular activities. They wanted her to feel like a normal child. Jessica Cox went to a regular school, not a to special needs or a private one, she would do everything that all the other kids did in their childhood.

She danced in front of a crowd when she was little. Although fearful and nervous at first, after the performance she crushed her fears. She loved it so much, that Jessica Cox anxiously awaited for the next time when she would perform again.

That set the tone for the rest of her life. Jessica never let her fears stop her from doing the things that she set her mind to.

That’s why one day on her way to school, she decided not to ever wear her prosthetic arms ever again. After 11 years of wearing them every day, however never really feeling comfortable with them, Jessica Cox swore to herself to never put them on. Simply put, she felt more connected with her feet rather than her prosthetic arms.

In an older interview, Jessica Cox said that “I knew people were going to make fun of me and I knew people were going to laugh at me. And ask me “where are your arms and how are you going to do things”, but when the bus doors shut, I promised myself I would never wear them to school anymore. I never did.”

Achieving success

After finishing high school, Jessica Cox enrolled at the University of Arizona to study psychology. Jessica Cox said that psychology fascinated her because it influences how we think about things.

She graduated from university in 2005 with flying colors.

In addition to having a bachelor’s degree, she has a driver’s license and even a black-belt in Taekwondo. She is the first armless person in the United States to do so!

After finishing university, she became a professional motivational speaker. Jessica inspires people to achieve their dreams, no matter their situation. She has carried her message throughout the world, holding seminars and conferences to inspire humanity to change for the better.

Jessica Cox Jessica Cox

Nevertheless, there was always one thing Jessica Cox dreamed of. Flying.

Ever since she was little

Even though Jessica Cox was never left out and her parents made sure that she would be included in regular everyday activities that every child experiences throughout their lifetime, she always had one thought on her mind.

Whenever kids would play in the playground, she could not climb on Monkey bars. Jessica Cox would only be able to play on the swings.

Yet she imagined how she was a Superwoman that can fly above the skies, and see the round and wonderful world that surrounds us. Additionally, Jessica always imagined how she would take fellow kids and show them how beautiful it is up in the sky.

Ironically, as she grew older, Jessica Cox realized she was terrified of flying.

But even so, Jessica has always turned negative feelings into positive things. Ever since she was little.

Flying was not going to be an exception in Jessica‘s life.

A former fighter pilot, named Robin Stoddard, who represents a charity organization called Wright Flight, offered her the chance to learn to fly an aircraft. Reluctant and very hesitant at first, Jessica Cox again turned negative thoughts into a positive thing. She eventually realized that it was a challenge with a capital C.

Able Flight, another charity organization has provided her with a scholarship and helped her achieve the goal of becoming a pilot.

Jessica Cox, You‘re a pilot!

She earned her license in an ERCO Ercoupe 415C, a low-wing monoplane with a single engine. The unique controls of the aircraft, which include no rudders, meant that you can control the aircraft only using your hands.

In the case of Jessica Cox, that meant that she found her perfect match – an aircraft that she could fly with her feet.

In three years she completed her training with the help of her instructor, Parrish Traweek. Jessica Cox passed her checkride on October 10th, 2008 and became a fully-licensed pilot, able to fly light-sport aircraft.

Oh, and did I mention she can also play the piano, drive a car, put her contact lenses in, was an Arizona State Taekwondo champion in 2014 with a Third Degree Black Belt? And yes, all of that with her feet only.

Throughout the years, Jessica Cox visited 23 countries and delivered her motivational message about Positive Thinking. She continues changing the lives of the people that hear Jessica’s speeches.

And her story is just further proof that no matter what, you have to dream. You have to believe that no matter what happens to you if you just keep working at it, you will achieve your goal. And in terms of aviation, there are numerous examples like these that showcase that you can become a pilot, you just have to never give up on your dreams.

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