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Armless Man Sets Pilot Goal

Brian Tagalog, a 21-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., has become the city’s second armless pilot to learn to fly airplanes with foot controls, inspired by the 26-year-old local pilot Jessica Cox. Cox, who like Tagalog was born without arms, has made headlines with her ability to earn a pilot’s license by flying with her feet, and now Tagalog is working with Cox and her flying instructor to learn to fly himself. Tagalog first met Cox four years ago after seeing her on media coverage from Tucson International Airport. Now, he flies out of Ray Blair Airport in nearby San Manuel with Cox, who is aiming to earn her pilot instructor’s license with Tagalog as a living demonstration of her instructional abilities. “We can help each other out,” Cox says. “He was grabbing the yoke a different way from me. Women have different hips from men, so he does more shoulder movements. I’m more flexible.” Cox, who is working internationally as a motivational speaker in places as far afield as Malaysia and Greece through her company Jessica Cox Motivational Services, is set to give six talks in Wisconsin in July at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2009 AirVenture Oshkosh. In fact, she intends to get herself to Oshkosh in her rented 1946 Ercoupe 415C, accompanied by instructor Parrish Traweek.

June 16, 2009

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