Inspiring people 62 videos

Armless pilot Jessica Cox proved her disability was no barrier to finding true love with husband, Patrick.

Five years ago the inspirational 32-year-old became the first female to fly a plane with her feet.

And she also became the first armless black belt in the American Tae Kwon Do Association.

But closer to home Jessica shows how she has adapted to life without arms – thanks to her fierce independence.

And with husband Patrick Chamberlain’s help, Jessica is inspiring others around the world by publicly speaking about her remarkable life.

‘At 3 years old I was involved in gymnastics, at 6 I started tap dancing lessons, I did modelling, I swam at 5, 10 years old I was doing Tae Kwon Do, I did every activity you could imagine.’

Jessica wore prosthetics when she was young, but ditched them at 14, and uses her feet as most people use their hands.

‘There’s nothing that can substitute the tactile ability of flesh and bone,’ says Jessica, ‘and my feet have that ability.’

She’s able to drive a car without modifications, type on a keyboard and even play two full duets with Patrick, 30, who she met five years ago through their mutual love for Tae Kwon Do.

‘Jessica and I had been dating for several months when I decided that she was the woman I was going to marry,’ says Patrick. ‘She is unrelenting, positive, and unstoppable, and has opened my eyes to new possibilities since the day I met her.’

Jessica and Patrick were married in 2012, and live together in Tucson, Arizona, where she lives her life independently.

Jessica says, ‘I faced some challenges when it came to learning how to get dressed, but it was a trial and error process. The only thing I really need help with is doing my hair. Patrick learned to do a very nice ponytail, bun and braid – it’s very special because he realised how much it annoyed me to have my hair in my face.’

Jessica earned a Guinness World Record in 2008 when she received her pilot’s license and became the first woman to fly an airplane with her feet.

‘It took three years, three different airplanes, three instructors, 80 hours of flying in three states, and I was a certified pilot,’ says a proud Jessica.

Jessica Cox and husband Patrick Chamberlain in the cockpit (Photo: Barcroft USA)

Jessica Cox and husband Patrick Chamberlain in the cockpit (Photo: Barcroft USA)

Of her motivational speaking, Jessica says, ‘Recently I met a little girl who never met someone without arms. I just told her that she’s going to be OK and I gave her confidence, that’s what I’m really passionate about.’

And if Jessica was to one day have a child of her own, would she be worried about it having the same disability as her? ‘If we did have a child without arms, we wouldn’t hesitate – I lived my life just fine without arms.’