As a child, Jessica Cox wasn’t allowed to climb the slide at the playground. Born without arms, she was limited — not by her own abilities, but by protective grown-ups who told her, “Oh, you can’t do that.”
“I wanted to be up high,” Cox said, but because she had no way of holding onto the steps on the 12-foot slide, the playground monitors prevented her from climbing. Frustrated by her imposed limitations, she daydreamed of flying over the playground like Superwoman.
Years later, Cox would become the first armless person ever to pilot an airplane — an unmodified 1946 Ercoupe 415c — using her feet like most people use their hands.
“Not having arms and having protective people around me as a child really pushed me to push the limits,” said Cox, who now flies planes, scuba dives and practices martial arts.
Last week, Cox attended EAA Airventure, where she debuted her new documentary film, “Right Footed,” for the first time in the United States at the EAA Museum. Directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nicholas Spark, the film chronicles Cox’s life and follows her to three continents where she works as a motivational speaker and an advocate and mentor for the disabled.
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