Jessica Cox: born without arms, born to fly
The 3rd of December is also known as the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities which has been celebrated since 1992. The day is aimed to promote an understanding of disability issue and support for the equal rights. Aviation industry also celebrates the day with various events, including Airbus which celebrates with Jessica Cox, an aviator with a pioneering spirit and relentless tenacity, and it had an interesting interview with Jessica.
Although born without arms as the result of a birth defect, Jessica has never allowed that to be a limiting factor. She travels the world encouraging people to eliminate the words “I can’t” from their vocabulary.
At the age of 14 she was already a Taekwondo black belt, mimicking the movements that others made with their arms, and at 25 she became the first person in history to be a certified pilot using only her legs to fly the plane. That feat landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records.
A psychology graduate and Taekwondo black belt, Jessica Cox has turned the tables on her so-called “disability”, allowing it to enable her as a motivational speaker and advocate in the US and beyond.
Airbus asked her on the reason behind her decision to be a pilot. Jessica said that her friend had influenced her. She had never flown in a single-engine aircraft before. In fact, she also had had a huge fear of commercial airplanes since she was a child. However, she persuaded herself that it was a great opportunity to overcome her fears.
Jessica quoted Eleanor Roosevelt as she once said, you have to look fear in the face and walk right up to it. You have to confront your fears in order to overcome them.
As she holds a Sport Pilot certificate, she is qualified to fly a light sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet. She explained that she needs a specific model of plane to fly. An Ercoupe 415C which has spacious cabin and without pedals for the tail rudder is suitable for her.
She realized that her vital drive comes from realizing how many people have helped her, and her need to give to others as well.
A while ago, she realized that she had been blessed, and she noticed that the things she does help to inspire other people, so she said to herself, “Why not? Why not use the gift that I have to help others?” Also, she is very persistent and maybe she does have more energy than most people, which is what helps her. In her work, she teaches people that there is always more than one way of accomplishing a task.
She shows people how to achieve goals through self-confidence and creativity. Her motto: “Think Outside the Shoe.” This year, a documentary about her life title Right Footed has been released after winning numerous awards at film festivals around the world.