Jessica stands next to the flight instructor
who soloed her, Parrish Traweek, and
his Ercoupe, which she used to complete
her light sport pilot certificate.
any hesitations or problems, but a couple hours later he called
and said that he forgot to have me sign the certificate. I told
him I had a commitment the next day and asked whether it
would be okay if I signed the certificate and sent my dad to
give it to him? He said it would be okay. Just as my dad was
about to leave his office, he asked my dad how I fly the airplane without arms? He knew all along! Even after issuing
my signed certificate, he had second thoughts and decided to
contact officials in the local FSDO.”
Jessica phoned Glen Davis. Only weeks earlier he had spoken with the FAA, who had informed Glen that the FAA examiner could not deny issuing a sport pilot student certificate
on the grounds of a disability, as long as the student had a
valid drivers’ license. Davis’ information sealed the deal.
On Mother’s Day, after five good landings with Traweek,
the time for solo came. Jessica’s instructions were “do not fly
the plane unless you can hear me on the radio.”
When she took off on Runway 29 that cool, still morning,
she realized that she could not hear Traweek. She had heard
him as she taxied out. “My first thoughts were to fly the airplane as I had been taught,” she says. “As I came around
on final, I noticed that the airspeed was slow.” As any competent pilot would do, Jessica made a go-around and then
came in to land on the second pass. After she taxied in,
it was determined that the volume was set too low on her
headset, and that Traweek could hear her, even though she
could not hear him.
Jessica took her FAA check ride and became a certified
Sport Pilot on October 11, 2008. She is currently working
on an autobiographical self-help book. She’s on daytime TV
showing others just what someone without arms can do when
she puts her mind to it, and she’s scheduled to be a keynote
speaker at the upcoming WAI Conference.
She is quick to point out that without the financial support
of Wright Flight and Able Flight, none of this could have happened. There were setbacks, but none that dimmed her spirit
or her determination. ✈
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Marcia K. Gitelman (WAI #307) flies a Piper Comanche. She
has a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating
and a seaplane rating. To learn more about Jessica Cox and her
mission, look at her web site: www.rightfooted.com.