In 1907, Ben Epps designed, built and flew the first airplane ever seen in Georgia.
This year, Georgia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of that pioneering flight and honoring the Epps family, which remains a major influence on aviation in the state.
Of Ben Epps’s nine children, only one did not learn to fly. Pat may be the best known of the siblings, for Epps Aviation at Atlanta’s DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK) and for leading the epic salvage of the P-38 now known as “Glacier Girl” from beneath some 250 feet of Greenland glacier ice.
Don Brooks, chairman of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, says his organization is “the official integrator” of the state’s 100 Years of Flight program. Ron Carbon is the program’s executive director.
So far, Brooks and Carbon have announced events on April 28 at Warner Robins and on Oct. 20 at Athens. Another ceremony is planned for the annual Heritage Banquet at the Georgia Museum of Aviation, in June. The museum is building a replica of Ben Epps’s first airplane, which should be ready for display in October, and owns Epps’s original engine.
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