Armless pilot teaches kids to say 'Yes, I can'

'She has some mad skills'

November 5, 2010 

Airplane pilot Jessica Cox, born without arms, has spent the week in Western Alaska and in Anchorage motivating students to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. Cox, 27, of Tucson, Ariz., learned to fly an airplane using her feet, earning her sport pilot license in 2008. She is also the first person without arms to earn a black belt in the American Taekwondo Association. Cox encouraged students to embrace desire, persistence and fearlessness during her appearance Friday morning at Begich Middle School.

"She has some mad skills with her feet," marveled sixth-grader Brad Jensen, 11, after Cox tied shoelaces and popped the top of a soda can with her toes.

Cox showed a short video before yelling "No, you can't!" to the students, who quickly learned to respond "Yes, I can!"

"If you are challenged," Cox said, "there is more than one way to accomplish anything." Her weeklong visit, arranged by the Alaska Airmen's Association with numerous co-sponsors, has taken her to Bethel, Scammon Bay, Chevak and Hooper Bay in Western Alaska and into several schools around Anchorage and Eagle River.

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