Why Fil-Am 'armless pilot' wanted to fly

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2017 12:14 PM

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Filipino-American armless pilot Jessica Cox on Thursday said she pushed herself to finish years of thorough aviation training to conquer both her fears and stigma against her disability.

"It was my greatest fear to fly. I wanted to conquer that fear of losing contact with the ground, not necessarily a fear of heights," Cox said in an interview on Early Edition.

Cox said she spent 3 years of training with 3 different instructors to learn how to operate 3 types of aircraft before finally conquering her fear.

Being the first and only registered pilot without upper limbs is a feat for Cox as it was a testament of how people should not be limited by their disabilities.

"At an early age, I knew that people reacted to me very differently. I did not feel limited with my own capabilities but other people limited me," the Fil-Am who traced her roots to Tacloban said.

Cox said she deliberately refused to use prosthetic arms as she took pride in how she was raised to do daily chores and activities without needing artificial limbs.

"This is how God created me to be. I don't need to hide my difference. I have my feet and my legs and I can do whatever I want to do with them," she added.

Cox said her mom used to enroll her in tap dance lessons, taekwondo, swimming, and other activities that she can enjoy with just the use of her legs.

Cox is now in Manila to hold her first-ever speaking engagement where she would tackle how to overcome adversity.

"When I was a child, I did not know that this (disability) was a gift that could help people... That's why it has become a blessing and a career for me as a motivational speaker," she said.

ANC, September 14, 2017