• 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

  • APD: 4 people shot, 1 dead in overnight shootings

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 13:40

    The Anchorage Police Department says it’s investigating multiple shootings Tuesday that happened overnight. According to a Tuesday afternoon release from the department, Anchorage police received a call just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday that a man had been dropped off at a hospital with a gunshot wound. The man is in serious condition at the hospital, […]

  • News

    University of Alaska weighs options for academic programs

    by Associated Press on Jan 24, 13:31

    The University of Alaska has released dozens of options for restructuring academic and administrative programs as part of its ongoing budget review process. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the options released Friday are part of UA’s second of three planned phases that come in response to years of cuts in state funding. Teams of administrators, faculty […]

  • Sports

    UAA indoor track and field adapting with Dome out of commission

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 11:39

    The collapse of The Dome has the University of Alaska Anchorage indoor track and field team running back home. “We’re going to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do,” said head coach Michael Friess, who’s now in his 27th season. “We’re going to train hard and fortunately we’re in a sport […]

  • Sports

    Stielstra, Neese will run Yukon Quest following decision by rules committee

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 10:24

    Ed Stielstra is an Iditarod veteran. The 47-year-old’s first of eight races was in 2004. But as a first-time Yukon Quest racer, he’s considered a rookie, and was required to appear at a pre-race vet check Monday morning. According a press release by the Yukon Quest, Stielstra arrived late and was withdrawn from the race […]

  • News

    Trump signs executive actions advancing Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines

    by CBS/AP on Jan 24, 8:33

    Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday, including two that would advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a pair of projects that were blocked by the Obama administration due in part to environmental concerns. As he signed the memo, the president said of the Keystone XL pipeline that it was “something’s that’s been in […]

  • Lifestyle

    2017 Oscars: And the nominees are…

    by CBS News on Jan 24, 7:33

    Last Updated Jan 24, 2017 10:30 AM EST The coveted list of nominees for the Oscars were announced Tuesday morning from Hollywood. “La La Land” led the pack with 14 nominations. Academy unveils big changes for announcing Oscar nominations Former Oscar nominees, including Jennifer Hudson, Gabourey Sidibe and Guillermo Del Toro, talked about what it was like […]

  • 1 man dead, 1 man hospitalized after Muldoon shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 5:19

    Updated at 1:31 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24 Police say two men were taken to the hospital after an overnight shooting in Muldoon. The Anchorage Police Department was called to the area of Muldoon Road and East 12th Court just after 1 a.m. Further investigation revealed the shooting happened down the street near the 100 […]

  • News

    New housing development set to break ground near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 22:53

    Plans for a new housing project near downtown Anchorage are well underway, according to its developer.  Known as Downtown Edge, the development is part of a larger project designed to improve an area between downtown and the Port of Anchorage. Downtown Edge will consist of 28 townhouses that will boast a view of Mount Susitna, […]