General Aviation. Direct & Unfiltered.

No Arms, No Problem: Jessica Cox Earns Pilot’s License

Three years ago, 25-year-old motivational speaker Jessica Cox hadn’t been in a small airplane. On October 10th, she earned her Airman’s Certificate in a 1945 Ercoupe 415C, an airplane designed to bring the postwar generation into the sky.

Jessica, born without arms, enjoyed her first flight as a passenger, but she didn’t get the idea of flying, herself, until she read an article about Glen Davis, who had used the no-rudder-pedal Ercoupe to give flying lessons to a young man with spina bifida. “I thought,” she remembered, “that I could fly an Ercoupe!” Glen was her primary instructor, taking Jessica just up to where she was ready for first solo. She couldn’t solo that airplane, though, since the throttle was in a spot she couldn’t reach.

Since Jessica holds an unrestricted driver’s license, she qualified medically under the Sport Pilot rules, which limit some operations and also require certain aircraft specifications, such as weight, speed, and carrying capacity.

Not all Ercoupes qualify under the LSA (Sport Pilot) rules, and Jessica’s initial flight in a D model showed the throttle was in the right place, but that airplane was too heavy to qualify under the 1320-pound LSA limit. She found a perfect C model, though, just 45 minutes from home, owned by CFI Parrish Traweek, owner of PC Aircraft Maintenance at the airport in San Manuel, AZ. Tarrish took Jessica through her checkride. Able Flight supported Jessica in continuing her flight training in Parrish's Ercoupe with a scholarship given to her in March.

Jessica soloed on Mother’s Day (May 11, 2008), and took her successful checkride on October 10. She is the first person without arms to have been licensed to fly with only her feet – no prosthetics and no aircraft modifications, other than a seat cushion. Jessica is just 5’1” tall.

Jessica’s other accomplishments are no less inspiring (appropriate for one in her profession). At age 14, she earned her first black belt in tae kwon-do; and more recently, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology, and another black belt, the first person without arms to earn one from the American Tae Kwon-Do Association.

Control Vision, makers of Anywhere Map®, heard from Jessica’s flight instructor and sent her their new ATC (Anywhere Travel Companion), high-functioning GPS nav-aid with a 4.3” touch-screen interface, introduced this year at Sun ’n Fun. Jay Humbard, President of Control Vision, said, “The ATC seemed perfect for her needs – touch screen, big buttons, easy to use, with shallow menus.”

“It’s a lot easier to use than the sectional charts.” Jessica smiled, “Though of course I use it only as a backup navigation device,” in compliance with the FAA’s requirements.

[Glen Davis photo]

Read more about Jessica at This release is sponsored by Control Vision Corp (, makers of Anywhere Map and sponsors of

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