World’s first licensed armless pilot inspires others

Pilot Jessica Cox and her husband Patrick on Capitol Hill in the Hart Senate Office Building. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON – Jessica Cox is petite in stature but she’s a giant in life. This 30-year-old woman from Arizona was born without arms due to a rare birth defect. She is the world’s first licensed armless pilot.

Cox says, “With my feet being on the controls it’s an incredible experience for me, it empowers me.”

But that’s not all that makes this young woman pretty amazing. Cox doesn’t know the word “no.”

“It starts with acceptance and accepting our own challenges,” she says. Besides flying a plane, she drives a car with her feet and she plays the piano with her feet. Her feet are her hands.

“I’m a motivational speaker, traveled to 20 different countries,” she says. Cox celebrates her challenges and uses them to show people what’s possible. She says she’s blessed with the ability to impact others through her story.

On a recent trip to Ethiopia, she met a young boy without arms who told his mother that he wants to be a pilot too. “It gives you goose bumps when you hear that. You just know that I helped give someone hope,” she says.

This past week she was on Capitol Hill fighting for disability rights for people across the world.

(WTOP/Kathy Stewart)


Cox’s feet act as her hands as she signs a poster.

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