February 12, 2013
By Jill W. Tallman
Jessica Cox, the first person without arms to become a certificated pilot, will be the focus of a forthcoming documentary in which she will share her inspirational message.
Rightfooted: A Film About Jessica Cox will chronicle some of Cox’s previous accomplishments as well as a planned trip to Ethiopia, where she will visit schools where children with disabilities are being incorporated into the general student population.
Cox became a sport pilot in 2008, flying an Ercoupe, whose rudderless controls permitted her to manipulate the yoke with her feet. That accomplishment earned her a place in the Guinness World Records and “elevated to a unique position as a spokesperson for the disabled and an inspirational symbol of what's possible,” said Nicholas Spark, director and producer of Rightfooted. “She now travels the world educating people and working one on one with disabled children and their parents to promote opportunity and inclusion.”
Spark has launched a crowdsourcing funding campaign to facilitate the trip to Ethiopia, which he says will be an integral part of the film. “She’ll be working directly with the Ethiopian children and their families to show these ostracized kids that the sky truly is the limit for them, if they believe it to be,” he said.
Cox also can be seen visiting a 4-year-old named Grace who lives in Iowa. The child, born without arms, has been watching Cox’s YouTube videos since she was 2. Later during the visit, Cox and Grace were flown by volunteer pilots in a Challenge Air event aimed at taking children with disabilities aloft, and Cox showed Grace how to manipulate the yoke of a flight simulator.
More information on the crowdsourcing campaign, which ends March 18, can be found on the website. Contributions are tax deductible. Details on the film are available here.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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