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Jessica Cox Becomes First Pilot With No Arms (with video and slide show)

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She has a no-restrictions driving license, flies planes and can type 25 words a minute.

The psychology graduate can write, type, drive a car, brush her hair and talk on her phone simply using her feet.

Ms Cox, from Tuscon, Arizona, USA, is also a former dancer and double black belt in Tai Kwon-Do.

Jessica Cox

The plane she is flying is called an Ercoupe and it is one of the few airplanes to be made and certified without pedals. Without rudder pedals Jessica is free to use her feet as hands. She took three years instead of the usual six months to complete her lightweight aircraft license, had three flying instructors and practiced 89 hours of flying.

Jessica is recognized internationally as an inspirational keynote speaker.Convinced that the way we think has a greater impact on our lives than our physical constraints, she chose to pursue a degree in psychology while in college at the University of Arizona.

Defying the standards of what she calls a "two-handed" world, Jessica shares in her speeches humorous stories of struggles and success. She provides critical insight on how best to approach a challenge, redefining the concept of possibility. She helps people reconnect with their own inner strength and aptitude.

You will find Jessica's story, her accomplishments-her very being-will captivate and inspire audiences from all walks of life!

The doctors don't exactly know why Jessica was born without arms. Sonograms and other prenatal tests did not reveal this rare congenital condition. However, from infancy her feet became her hands. Like all children, she went through the various stages of development. She learned to feed herself and write with her feet. Throughout childhood, she participated in many activities including swimming, gymnastics, and tap dancing. Jessica started tae kwon-do when she was ten, earning her first black belt at fourteen in the International Tae Kwon-Do Federation. She rejoined American Tae Kwon-Do Association in college and earned a second black belt.

When first learning to drive, Jessica was encouraged to use special modifications. Even after her car was modified, she decided to remove them and drive without.

As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Jessica attended classes taking notes with her feet. At 25 words per minute, Jessica was able to type out her papers with a regular computer keyboard on the floor.

Jessica's greatest challenges are not the ordinary daily tasks required for her to live independently. Putting in contact lenses, washing and brushing her hair, and fixing breakfast in the morning are all tasks that come second-nature to her as they would to anyone else. Her greatest triumph in life stands far above any physical feat. It is her unrepentant regard for herself a whole person, her high degree of self-acceptance that gives her the freedom and power to insist that society accept her, too, just as she is.


March 9, 2010