Most of us use our arms every day without giving it much thought. Most of us also have preconceptions about people with disabilities.
Pilot and Tae-Kwon Do black belt Jessica Cox from Arizona doesn’t feel she is exceptional just because she lives her high-powered life without arms. However she is keen for people to see that she is just as capable as everybody else, and that nothing stands in the way of her achieving her dreams.
Growing up Jessica says she was ‘into everything’ her peers were – tap-dancing, gymnastics and Tae-Kwon Do.
”Naturally, people saw the fact that I didn’t have arms as a limiting factor, but I was there to prove them wrong, Cox said. “I didn’t see my not having arms as being a limitation.”
A chance encounter with a fighter pilot who asked her if she wanted to fly in a single engine airplane led to a passion for flying. Initially afraid of flying, Jessica says the experience changed her life,
“ When I had a feel for what it was like to handle that airplane, I knew I wanted to become a pilot.”
In 2008, after seeing several coaches and finding a plane she could control with her feet, Jessica became the first licensed armless pilot ever.
“The airplane was not customized in any way for me,” she highlights. “I knew if I wanted to become a pilot, I was going to do everything I could.”
The 32-year-old motivational speaker now travels the world with her husband who she met at Tae Kwon Do class.
“I remember looking across the room and seeing him with this confused look on his face,” she says of her husband. “He later told me it’s because he thought I had arms, and they were in my sweater!”.