July 2, 2015

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently presented the Association’s Silk Scarf Award to Pat Epps, founder and president of Georgia’s Epps Aviation, for his lifetime of service to the business aviation industry.

“Through decades and generations, the Epps name has been synonymous with aviation excellence,” Bolen said at his presentation, made during Epps Aviation’s 50th anniversary celebration. “Your tireless effort to help preserve aviation’s precious history and ensure its bright future serves as both an example and inspiration. Your contributions to aviation have been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards our industry has to offer including NBAA’s American Spirit Award and the John P. ‘Jack’ Doswell Award.”

Since 1965, Epps Aviation has been the only independent full service, fixed-base operator at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK) in Atlanta. It spans 21 acres at Georgia’s second-busiest airport and boasts eight hangars and 40 T-hangars.

The Epps family has a long and proud history in aviation. Epps, a native of Athens, GA and the youngest son of Ben T. Epps, who was the first pilot in Georgia, and built and flew his own aircraft in 1907. Ben Epps built another eight aircraft designs until 1937, when he was fatally injured in a takeoff crash at the airport in Athens, Georgia, which is now named in his honor.

Pat Epps graduated from Georgia Tech in 1956 and entered the United States Air Force in 1957. As a distinguished graduate of Class 58L, he became the fifth of Ben Epps’ sons to become a military pilot, and has more than 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 led an 11-year quest to recover the Lost Squadron. In 1992, he succeeded in retrieving a WWII Lockheed P-38 Lightning buried beneath 265 feet of the Greenland ice cap. In June 1994, Epps piloted a friend’s DC-3 to France. As he flew over Normandy, veteran War World II paratroopers jumped to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of D-Day landings.

In addition to his NBAA accolades, 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. Other awards include: the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award and induction into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in April 2011.

In addition to receiving the Silk Scarf Award, Epps was presented with honors and proclamations from Flight Safety and the DeKalb (GA) County Commissioners at the recent celebration.

“Today, as we celebrate ’50 Years with Epps at PDK’ it is entirely appropriate for us to take a moment to once again recognize your contributions,” Bolen said. “Thank you and your family for all you have done and for all you will do for aviation.”

About the Award

In an effort to honor outstanding business aviation community members and inspire future aviators, the NBAA Silk Scarf Award is given to individuals for special contributions to the business aviation community during their careers. Learn more about the NBAA Silk Scarf Award.