• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 20s

Pilot without arms helps students dream big

By Bonney Bowman 9:44 PM May 1, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

For high school students, accomplishing life goals can seem next to impossible.

It’s a feeling Jessica Cox knows well.

“I was born without arms, so my feet from day one have become my hands,” Cox said.

But she didn’t let a disability hold her down.

Cox accomplished the incredible and got her pilot’s license in 2008. She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first woman without arms to fly a plane. She thought fear might keep her on the ground until she realized it was just a matter of using her feet.

“That was the most empowering experience I have ever had, just to be able to know that I am flying this airplane and I have this saying, it felt like I was, like I basically had my life in my own feet,” Cox said.

As a pilot, she controls the yolk with her right foot and the throttle with her left. When she is on the ground she tours the country as a motivational speaker. She was at Dimond High School Thursday talking to students as part of a week-long trip to Alaska. Her goal is to show students they set their own limitations, and if they really try, they can achieve anything they want.

“It’s definitely not about me,” Cox said. “This is all about them and seeing that ‘ah-ha’ moment when I look across the audience and I open a soda can with my foot and they realize, if she can do that with her foot then there’s so much they can do.”

This is the third year the Alaska Airmen’s Association has invited Cox to tour the state, spreading her message to students of all ages.

“I watch them engage with her and start to understand that there are no limitations. There’s only what you create,” said Alaska Airmen’s Association member Christine Dunning.

It’s a lesson that could lift students off the ground.

“Without airplanes, we don’t get very far in Alaska and there are so many options for our youth. They’re the next generation for all of us,” Dunning said.

Cox says flying was one of her greatest fears and at times it’s hard to believe she overcame it. But it’s amazing what happens when you don’t limit what you can accomplish, she says.

“That’s almost unbelievable for me even, if I’m doing it, so it’s a pretty incredible privilege and blessing,” Cox said.

You can see Cox at the Alaska Airmen’s Association Great Alaska Aviation gathering. Her talk is at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The event is free and open to the public.

Cox will then be travelling to villages around the state to speak with students. Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Airmen’s Association sponsored her trip.

Latest Stories

  • On-Air

    Inside the Gates: Change of command for the Army’s 4/25

    by Lauren Maxwell on Mar 24, 20:55

    A change of command ceremony on JBER Friday morning welcomed a new leader to the nation’s only Arctic airborne combat brigade. Col. Paul Larson assumed command of the Army’s 4/25 Airborne Brigade Combat Team. It’s the first assignment in Alaska for Larson, who spent the last six months in Afghanistan. When asked about the challenges […]

  • Lifestyle

    UAA unveils Alaska’s first lactation pod for nursing mothers

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 24, 20:37

    Nursing mothers at the University of Alaska Anchorage now have a dedicated, private space to feed their babies or pump breast milk. A new lactation pod is located on the first floor of the student union, and is the first of its kind in the entire state. It features seating, shelves, electrical outlets and USB […]

  • Politics

    28 years later, Exxon Valdez still casts shadow as Alaskans weigh in on oil tax change

    by Liz Raines on Mar 24, 19:44

    Friday marked the 28th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill — and the end of a long week of debate in Juneau on big policy changes for the oil industry. Tensions leftover from the historic event have spilled over into a battle on oil tax credits. While lawmakers are welcoming of the revenue that oil […]

  • Sports

    Results: ASAA 3A, 4A high school basketball semifinals

    by Dave Goldman on Mar 24, 18:49

    Results from Friday’s semifinal games at the Alaska Airlines Center. Please check back; this story will be updated as games are completed. 3A Boys Semifinal Monroe Catholic 42 – Valdez 40 The Rams held off the Buccaneers’ late rally to advance to the title game. Valdez’ slow start didn’t help as it went scoreless in the […]

  • News

    Good Samaritan cleans graffiti from park strip train

    by Lauren Maxwell on Mar 24, 17:55

    ANCHORAGE — A good Samaritan has helped to remove the graffiti from the train that sits on the Delaney Park Strip, and it wasn’t the person who first volunteered to do the job in the first place. The graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning. Anchorage park planner Maeve Lavtar said she had instructed city maintenance crews […]

  • Sports

    Sitka basketball team returns to Anchorage after receiving national honor

    by Dave Leval on Mar 24, 17:08

      The Sitka Wolves basketball team are champions, and it has nothing to do with shooting percentage or rebounds. They made a return to Anchorage this week during the state basketball tournament. While their quest for a state title ended after a first round loss to Monroe Catholic, the Wolves were reminded of a much […]

  • Politics

    Young hails demise of health bill, wants more work on issue

    by Associated Press on Mar 24, 16:00

    The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House says he would have voted against a GOP health care bill had it been brought to a vote. U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska says it was not good legislation. He says it would have hurt people on Medicaid and did not address issues with high costs. The […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Rhythm Future Quartet

    by Daybreak Staff on Mar 24, 13:15

    Keeping the genre of gypsy jazz alive, the acoustic ensemble Rhythm Future Quartet will be touring Alaska for two weeks. Their first stop is downtown Anchorage. From there they will cross the state, going from Kodiak to Skagway. According to violinist Jason Anick, gypsy jazz is a style of music that was pioneered in France during […]