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  • Pat Epps
  • Pat Epps

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    Wall of Honor Level:
    Air and Space Leader

    Honored by:

    Pat Epps directed the spectacular recovery of a World War IIP-38 fighter buried beneath 265 feet of the Greenland ice cap. He is a native of Athens, Georgia and the youngest son of Ben T. Epps, Georgia Aviation pioneer. At age three, his father was killed in an airplane crash but his mother still encouraged all her nine children to fly.
    At age fifteen, Epps won the Southeastern Free Flight Model Sailplane contest. In high school, Epps worked in an auto maintenance shop and at the same time carried on the family's love of flying. His five brothers and one of his three sisters all received their pilot's license. Pat took flying lessons from his brother, Doug, and soloed a Piper J-3 Cub.
    Epps entered college at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. During summers he worked in a machine shop in Yakima, Washington. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1956 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and headed west to Seattle to work as a Boeing flight test engineer on the 707 Prototype of America's first jet airliner.
    In 1957 Epps enter the United States Air Force and began flight training. As a distinguished graduate of Class 58L, he became the fifth of Ben Epps' sons to become a military pilot. Assigned to fly transports, he first flew the Boeing C-97 Stratocruiser and later the Fairchild C-123 Provider. He left the service in 1963 and two years later bought a small air service at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Epps Air Service started with 19 employees, and today has 160 workers providing aircraft maintenance, aircraft sales, fuel servicing, and air charter. The Company also flies cargo in the northeast, utilizing 11 Mitsubishi MU-2s.
    Epps has more than 7,000 flying hours as a commercial pilot with type ratings in the North American B-25 Mitchell, Douglas DC-3, Learjet, and Cessna Citation. For fun he flies his aerobatic Beechcraft Bonanza in local air shows and tells stories of his adventures during the 11-year quest to recover the "Lost Squadron" from under the Greenland ice cap. The adventure is an incredible story, including the recovery an entire P-38 Lightning which is presently being restored to flying condition.
    In June 1994, Epps piloted a friend's DC-3 to France loaded with veteran World War II paratroopers. When they arrived over Normandy, the veterans jumped once more to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
    Pat Epps married his high school sweetheart, the former Ann Hailey. They have three children; Pat Jr., Marian, and Elaine. All have their pilot's license. They reside in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Wall of Honor profiles are provided by the honoree or the donor who added their name to the Wall of Honor. The Museum cannot validate all facts contained in the profiles.

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