Jessica Cox is the world’s first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. She was born without arms due to a rare non-genetic birth defect.
Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet. There were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. However, Jessica’s father has said he never shed a tear about her birth condition. He had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself as an adult and continued to explore the world with her feet.
Growing up, Cox did it all, from swim lessons to girl scouts, modeling, tap dancing and Taekwondo — at the age of 14, she’d already earned a black belt. Jessica Cox graduated from the University of Arizona in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in communications.
Using her feet as most people use their hands, she is able, among other things, to drive an unmodified car with an unrestricted license, to type on a keyboard at 25 words per minute, to pump her own gas, and to put in and remove her contact lenses. She is also a certified SCUBA diver.
She even learned how to fly a plane with her feet. Becoming a pilot wasn’t always a dream for Cox, but after going up in a single engine airplane with a fighter pilot several years ago, she was inspired to overcome her initial fears. In 2008, after extensive training, she earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate, and in 2011 she nabbed the Guinness World Record for the “First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License.”
Cox works as a motivational speaker and has shared her message in 20 different countries. In 2015 Cox published an autobiographical self-help book, Disarm Your Limits in order to inspire people to overcome their own challenges through the lessons she has learned in her life.
“I do what I do because I love to do it,” she said “and I don’t give up.”