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Jessica Cox          

World's First Armless Pilot & First Armless Black-Belt in the American Taekwondo Association

Jessica Cox has gained international recognition as a keynote speaker delivering a message of inspiration. She was born without arms which led her to master the use of her feet to perform tasks that others do with their hands. She is a trailblazer, being the first person without arms to earn a black belt in ATA Martial Arts, earning her a place in the Guinness World Record. Cox holds the distinction of being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. Having attained a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in communications at the University of Arizona, Cox utilizes her education to emphasize the power of mindset over physical limitations. She has shared her motivational message in 26 countries throughout six continents.

Since her birth in Sierra Vista, Arizona, in 1983, Cox has not allowed her physical condition to limit her. Her determination and the support of her family propelled her to lead an extraordinary life, exploring the world using her feet. Her father was confident in her potential and contributed significantly to her self-confidence and exploration of the world.

In her early years, Cox's parents introduced her to a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. He believed that she had the physical capability to participate in Taekwondo, with the only potential obstacle being her own attitude. Besides her existing black belt, she has achieved the second, third, and fourth-degree black belts in the American Taekwondo Association by the age of 14. In college, Cox joined an ATA Martial Arts club and continued her training in Taekwondo. She learned new techniques and skills in the ATA system and thus became the first armless person to earn a black belt in the ATA.

Cox is most renowned for her achievement as an armless pilot. Over the course of three years, with three flight instructors and four airplanes, she found the right aircraft, a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. In 2008, Cox earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate, qualifying her to fly a light-sport aircraft up to altitudes of 10,000 feet. She handles the airplane using her feet, with one controlling the yoke and the other the throttle. In 2011, her unique feat of flying an airplane with only their feet earned her a Guinness World Record. It is also notable that she is a certified scuba diver.

In 2012, Cox became a Goodwill Ambassador for Humanity and Inclusion, working with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning NGO to advocate for disability rights in various countries including Ethiopia, the Philippines, Nepal, and also at the US Senate.

Flying is a passion that Cox continues to pursue, often attending notable aviation events worldwide. Her efforts have earned her numerous awards, such as the Inspiration International from the Inspiration Awards for Women, UK, and a distinguished speaker award from Egypt’s President at the World Youth Forum in 2019. She also received several other accolades, including the Guinness World Record for The Only Pilot to Fly With Their Feet and the Most Aspirational award at the Inspiration Awards for Women 2012.

In 2019, a generous supporter gifted Cox a 1946 415C Ercoupe with tail number N26R, an aircraft she uses to demonstrate that physical limitations do not equate to inability. Cox's diverse accomplishments also include participating in the 40-mile El Tour de Tucson in 2014, and the publication of her self-help book, "Disarm Your Limits" in 2015. She has also appeared in a documentary titled Right Footed and prominently featured in the media. Cox continues to spread her message of empowerment through public speaking engagements and book signings, reaching out to audiences in various platforms including Facebook, news outlets, and public appearances.

Speech Topics

Achieve the Impossible

Innovation, Creativity, Motivation, Desire, Persistence, Fearlessness, Aviation, "Think outside the shoe"


Woman Born Without Arms Tells 3-Year-Old with Same Condition, 'You Can Do Anything'
Jessica Cox was born without arms, and she hasn't let that hold her back in life. If anything, Cox has achieved more than the average person: She has a black belt in Taekwondo, she has her pilot's license, and she's an excellent pianist. And she's done it all without using prosthetic arms. Cox, 32, is also the subject of a new documentary, Right-Footed, and at the premiere on Friday, Cox met 3-year-old Ruth Evelyn "RE" Pranke, who was also born without arms. In the above video, Cox autographs a poster for the girl, grasping the pen with her foot but writing with immaculate penmanship, "You can do anything."
Powerful Lineup of Speakers on Tap for WAI 2016 Annual Conference in Nashville
Megan Barry, the Mayor of Nashville, will join astronauts Dr. Rhea Seddon and Robert “Hoot” Gibson as each connects, engages, and inspires attendees at the 27th annual International Women in Aviation Conference, March 10-12, 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Jessica Cox, world's first armless pilot and motivational speaker.
This armless woman can literally kick your ass | New York Post
Jessica Cox is more than just an armless pilot. She also is the first person without arms to become a black belt in the American Tae Kwon Do Association, ...
Apl, Jessica Cox honored for helping Yolanda survivors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Filipino-American armless pilot Jessica Cox and international entertainer were recognized by the Philippine Embassy for donating their time and resources in helping in the recovery efforts in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda. Cox received a plaque of achievement for her excellence in motivational speaking and her advocacy for the disabled. She has partnered with Handicap International to help those who were disabled during Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation...
Photos: Tucson woman Jessica Cox takes message of hope around the world
A Tucson woman born with no arms is taking a message to impoverished and post-conflict countries, where people with physical impairments are often shunned and prevented from going to school. Jessica Cox, 30, traveled to Ethiopia this year as a guest of Handicap International, an aid organization that focuses on disabled children. Cox has been a full-time motivational speaker since graduating from the University of Arizona in 2005 and is increasingly focusing her attention on disability issues in impoverished countries. She recently visited Ghana, where she met people forced to the lowest tier of society because of their physical differences. Take a look at the gallery to view photos of Jessica throughout the years.
Armless Woman Conquers the Unthinkable
Jessica Cox was born without arms, yet triumphs over obstacles every day. While some would accept that playing piano is not in the cards for them, Jessica refuses to let her disability hold her back in any way. Putting in contacts, eating with chopsticks, and even using nunchucks all seem like unlikely tasks for Jessica, but she does them all, just with her toes. Defying all odds, Jessica took to the skies and was named the first armless person in the world to obtain a pilot's license.
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Jessica Cox: I used to be afraid to fly
She has received global recognition for being the first woman to fly an airplane with her feet, but Jessica Cox, the Filipino-American who has been cited by Guinness World Records for her exceptional ability, yesterday admitted her skill was borne out of fear. According to Cox, she used to be afraid to fly. But with a strong faith in God, she challenged herself to face her biggest nightmare. After three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft – a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane – she finally made it.
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