EAA 690 - Recapping the Greenland Expedition with Pat Epps
Our very special guests for the 1st Saturday in June Aviation Program and Pancake Breakfast will be Messrs. Pat Epps and Richard Taylor. In the summer of 1981, Epps and Taylor set forth on their first adventure to the Greenland ice cap in search of the Lost Squadron – two World War II Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and six Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. The pair will recap their missions from 1981 - 1992 to find and recover the Lost Squadron from 265 feet of ice and snow.Greenland Expedition - The Lost Squadron
The squadron was forced to land on the Greenland ice cap on July 15, 1942 after hours of flying in bad weather and running low on fuel. Epps’ adventure began as a lark when he was admiring a customer’s new Learjet and the customer responded, “What I really want is a P-38”. Epps certainly knew where six P-38 Lightnings were located so he joined forces with a friend and two airline pilots who already had the search and salvage rights from the Danish government.
Epps was an active member of, and eventually led, the Greenland Expedition Society (GES) team on another six trips to the ice cap over the next 11 years. The summer of 1992 marked GES’ monumental recovery of the vintage Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Glacier Girl, buried 265 feet below the Greenland ice cap for 50 years.
Pat Epps, a native of Athens, Georgia and the youngest son of Ben T. Epps, graduated from Georgia Tech in 1956 and entered the United States Air Force in 1957. With over 10,000 flying hours as a commercial pilot with type ratings in North American B-25 Mitchell, Douglas DC-3, Learjet, and Cessna Citation, Epps continues to go “Above and Beyond.” Epps has been recognized amongst the honorees of the 1998 Gatherings of Eagles, an international group setting standards and paving the way for future air and space power.
In 1999, Pat Epps received the NBAA American Spirit Award. In 2007, Epps Aviation was again recognized at the NBAA Annual Convention by receiving the John P. “Jack” Doswell Award for his lifelong dedication to general aviation and community volunteer work.
2011 bestows more recognition on Pat Epps. In January, Epps received the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award at the 8th Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards event in Beverly Hills, CA. Epps is also honored as an inductee into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in April 2011.
Pat lost his wife, Ann, and Epps Aviation’s strongest supporter in December of 2013. He continues to reside in Atlanta and work at the FBO. Their three children, Patrick, Marian and Elaine, all have their pilot’s license and presently work in the family business.
The June 4th program will begin at 10:00 and is open to all. An all you care to eat Pancake (and eggs, sausage and biscuits, etc.) Breakfast and/or refreshments are available beginning at 8:00 AM in the EAA Sport Aviation Center, 690 Airport Road, at Gwinnett County's Briscoe Field. The price of breakfast for adults is $6, children under 10, $3. Ample aircraft and auto parking is available. For additional information contact Joel Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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