An Arizona woman became the first unlicensed pilot in the US with no arms after learning to fly a plane with her feet.
Jessica Cox, 36, from Phoenix, was born with a rare condition that prevented her upper limbs from getting into the womb.
She learned to use her feet to do everything from playing the piano, driving a car, becoming a certified diver, and earning a tough black belt in taekwondo. CNN.
But maybe Cox & # 39; biggest achievement ever certified to fly a motor plane, and she says she wants to inspire others with disabilities by showing that they can achieve anything.
Jessica Cox, 36 (photo), from Phoenix, Arizona, was born without arms. Doctors could not understand why she did not develop arms in her mother's womb
It is not confirmed, but it is believed that Cox (photo) was probably born with amelia, a rare condition in which one or more limbs do not form
Cox told CNN that doctors could never understand why she didn't develop arms in her mother's womb. No previous scans had shown that something was wrong.
& # 39; My mother had a normal pregnancy & # 39 ;, she told the network. & # 39; And then, on the day of my birth, it was an absolute shock for both of my parents … when the doctor persuaded me and said: & # 39; Your baby has no arms. & # 39; & # 39;
Although it has never been confirmed, Cox is probably born with amelia, a rare condition in which no or more limbs form.
The cause is unknown, but the limb formation process is usually prevented or interrupted very early, between 24 and 36 days after conception.
It is unknown how many people have the condition because most affected babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Although it may be present as an isolated defect, amelia is associated with other malformations 50 percent of the time, according to the National Institutes of Health.
This includes cleft lip and / or palate, internal organ protrusion, a herniated diaphragm, small kidney and lung defects.
From an early age, Cox was incredibly active from taking tap dance lessons to participating in Girl Scouts, although she often received glances and comments.
Cox (left and right) was active as a child and took tap dance lessons and participated in Girl Scouts. She does not like the use of prosthetic arms and prefers to use her feet
She was petrified by aircraft until the pilot of a small aircraft invited her to the cockpit. Pictured: Cox flies in an airplane
& # 39; I wanted to be normal so much, and I was told too often that I couldn't do something or that I was disabled & # 39 ;, she told CNN. & # 39; I absolutely hated the word & # 39; handicap & # 39;. & # 39;
Despite learning how to use prosthetic arms, Cox said she didn't like to use them and preferred to use her feet.
Cox told CNN that she was incredibly afraid of planes until the pilot of a small plane invited her to the cockpit.
& # 39; The pilot brought me to the front of the plane. The aircraft has dual controls, & she said.
& # 39; He took his hands off the control and let me do the flying. Even if something is scary for you, it is important that we are confronted with it. & # 39;
She decided she wanted to train to become a pilot after graduating in 2005 with a degree in psychology from the University of Arizona, CNN reported.
Cox started training in 2005, which lasted three years and a dual-control aircraft meant that Cox flew with one foot on the yoke and the other on the gas pedal. Pictured: Cox with her plane
In October 2008, Cox (photo) was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration for flying with an Ercoupe, a light aircraft with a single engine
& # 39; I had a large number of flight instructors and staff on my training to sort this out, & # 39; Cox told the network. & # 39; So it was a three-year process to find out what would work by trial and error. & # 39;
She also found an aircraft that would be comfortable for her to work with her feet: a light aircraft with a single engine known as an Ercoupe.
& # 39; There were many questions. There were many concerns. There were many doubters as to whether this was possible, & Cox said.
Cox was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the aircraft in October 2008, doing one foot on the yoke and the other on the accelerator pedal.
She hopes she can become an inspiration for young children and encourages them to face their fears.
& # 39; Because I live my life the way I do, it has a huge impact on other people & # 39 ;, she told CNN.
& # 39; I have had role models and leaders. And because I have had that, it is now my responsibility to stay the same for the next generation. & # 39;
In a post on Instagram in March, Cox announced that she had just completed her biennial flight evaluation and wrote in the caption: & # 39; I'm a current pilot again! & # 39;
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