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Sat, Aug 03, 2019

Jessica Cox To Take Delivery Of Her First Airplane

Armless Pilot Will Be The Proud Owner Of A 1946 Ercoupe

On Mother's Day 2008, Jessica Cox flew an airplane by herself for the first time in her life. Becoming a pilot is a challenge of training, knowledge, and skill, which was complicated by the fact that Jessica was born without arms. Five months after her first solo flight, Jessica passed exams by FAA examiners and earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate, a recreational level pilot license.

On August 10, Jessica will receive the keys to a vintage airplane she has sought for over a decade. The Ercoupe airplane was built in the 1940s without rudder pedals to be a safe and straightforward airplane to fly. The simplicities of the controls are what allow Jessica to fly. "I put one foot on the yoke and one foot on the throttle," says Jessica. Until now, Jessica logged all of the roughly two hundred hours she has flown on planes she rented from other pilots, instructors, or aviation clubs.

Earlier this year, Jessica joined an Ercoupe Club at Ryan Airfield. Shortly after that, Jessica and the club members were devastated to learn the airplane they were using had developed a structural issue. The issue meant the aircraft could no longer fly. The repair would cost several thousand dollars according to the club's mechanic, which represented a significant fraction of the airplane's total value.

Jessica and her fellow club members scoured the internet for a replacement airplane. Because of its age, few Ercoupes remain airworthy, so they are often hard to find. Eventually, Jessica found a working, ready to fly Ercoupe for sale in Tahoe, NV and spoke to the owner about acquiring the plane. The man selling the airplane listed it at twenty-three thousand dollars, which represented a challenging sum to fundraise for a club with less than a dozen members. However, the Ercoupe's seller knew of Jessica's story and her work with children with disabilities, and he decided instead to donate the plane to Jessica.

"I was beyond stunned," says Jessica. "I've dreamed of owning an airplane since I started. I can't wait to sit in it and fly it for the first time." After proper inspections, a volunteer pilot will ferry the Ercoupe from Nevada to Tucson.

For more information or to join the Ercoupe Club, visit their Facebook group: Desert Sport Flyers

In 2005, Jessica began speaking professionally as a motivational speaker. Since then, she has personally visited more than 20 countries and advocates for international disability rights as the Goodwill Ambassador for the NGO Humanity and Inclusion. Jessica earned her certification as a light sport pilot in 2008, which earned her the Guinness World Record for becoming the first person without arms to do so. She is also a U of A graduate, a certified scuba diver, licensed driver, surfer, the first armless black belt in ATA Martial Arts, and an award-winning speaker.

(Source: Right Footed Foundation news release Image from file)

FMI: www.RightfootedFoundation.com

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