Woman Born Without Arms Earns Pilot’s License in Historic First (UPDATED w/...

Woman Born Without Arms Earns Pilot’s License in Historic First (UPDATED w/ Video)

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armless-pilot.jpgJust three years ago, 25-year-old Jessica Cox had never been in a small airplane and certainly never imagined piloting one. But, thanks to the help of a non-profit group that uses aviation as a tool to motivate young people, Cox has become the first armless person in the world to pilot an aircraft and earn her Airman’s Certificate.

On October 10, the Tucson area resident and University of Arizona graduate proved under the tutelage of Wright Flight, that anything is possible.

In August 2005 Col. Robin Stoddard, the Executive Director and founder of Wright Flight Inc., approached Jessica after her speaking engagement at a Tucson Rotary Club Luncheon. She asked Jessica if she ever thought about flying an airplane. Jessica responded that one of her only fears was flying. Robin, himself a decorated Air Force Fighter pilot, told her about his Godfather, an Air Force fighter pilot who suffered a crash landing but still went on to fly his own aircraft even though he was confined to a wheelchair. Robin explained that he has taught people with all types of disabilities and if she could drive a car, (and from the photos she provided during the lecture it was obvious she could) then she could fly an airplane.

The next Saturday, Jessica attended one of the many Wright Flight “fly days”, a time where kids who have successfully graduated from the Wright Flight program are allowed to pilot an aircraft for an hour with their designated pilot. That day, Jessica Cox decided to face her fear.

She learned how to pilot the plane, a 1945 Ercoupe 415C, using only her feet and two years later Jessica Cox, like the Wright Brothers, has made history. Meanwhile, volunteers in Arizona continue to help Wright Flight, Inc. demonstrate the Wright brothers’ example of setting goals and achieving them through hard work and discipline.