HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Blue Angels were on Oahu last weekend, giving us a chance to see some of the best pilots in the world.
Even they might say another pilot on the island at the time is more impressive. Jessica Cox is a licensed pilot who was born without arms.
“I’m the world’s first armless pilot and I have a Guinness World Record medal for flying a plane with my feet,” Cox said.
In 1997 she gave up using prosthetics, instead using her feet to do the work of hands. It brought her to fly for the first time in 2005, really earning her wings as a licensed pilot in 2008.
“It was actually my greatest fear to fly. I was terrified of flying in big planes,” Cox said. “This was my chance to fly in a small plane and so I had to overcome the emotional fear of losing contact with the ground to be able to go through the training, which took me probably a little bit longer than the average pilot.”
The Arizona native flew from the Philippines to Hawaii last week. She said overcoming that fear set her off to places many wouldn’t think possible.
“It was the greatest feeling of freedom, empowerment and just independence,” Cox said.
Her next goal is to build a plane that is designed to be flown with feet.
“We are building the first-ever airplane that can be flown with feet. And it is essentially going to be a modified RV-10 airplane, modified to be flown in the left seat pilot command seat with just feet for control. So we’re very excited because it’s going to bring that message that disability doesn’t mean inability,” Cox said.
The hope is to use it to circumnavigate the globe to perpetuate that message.
Add it to the list of incredible accomplishments in her limitless life: Taekwondo black belt, cyclist and thanks to folks on Maui, surfer.
“It was so much fun,” Cox said of learning to surf on the valley isle. “I just remember getting up on the board for the first time and riding my first wave. Oh my goodness, they gave me this like a boost of confidence,”
Cox is now a motivational speaker. She thinks her accomplishments in overcoming her disability can help others realize their own potential.
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“It really proves to people that if I can do this without arms, then they can do anything,” Cox said.
Cox said if you have questions for her reach out to her on her Jessica Cox website.
To learn more about the airplane go to the Impossible Plane website.
If there’s any opportunity for her to take on a new challenge in Hawaii to let the world know you can achieve the impossible, let her know on her social media on her Jessica Cox Facebook page.