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Epps 1924 Monoplane Replica Project

Ben Epps, Sr. was the first person to build and fly an airplane in the state of Georgia, USA.
Ben Epps State Historical Marker, Athens, Georgia
Ben Epps State Historical Marker, Athens, Georgia 
(click photo for more information).

Ben Epps, Sr.
The Epps are cousins of ours (Ben Sr. married my great-great-aunt Omie), so I heard stories about them most of my life.  My dad was an early convert to flying, soloing (quite unofficially) at 15 in a Stearman.  He's told me stories about going over to the Epps house and the model airplanes that were always in evidence there.  His first job after retiring from the USAF was with Pat Epps at Epps Air Service on DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Ben Epps, Sr. 

The first plane Ben built flew in 1907.  It was not very successful, but it was only the first in a series of planes Ben built to develop his aeronautical knowledge and skills.
Epps 1907 Monoplane.
Epps 1907 Monoplane.

Epps 1912 Monoplane in the Museum of Aviation
When my family first moved to Atlanta in 1968, Ben Epps, Jr.  was in the final stages of building a replica of his father's 1912 monoplane.  I was witness to some of the early flights of the replica, and as a nice, quiet child <grin> I was able to listen in to some of the discussions concerning the flyability of the plane, which now resides in the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia, USA.
Epps 1912 Monoplane in the Museum of Aviation 
(click photo for more information).

In the summer of 2001, I stopped by Ben Jr.s shop at PDK, just to visit.  In chatting with him I learned he was planning to build a replica of his dad's 1924 monoplane.  I voiced an interest in helping with the project and he said he would welcome it.  He was waiting on his partner, Dick Rank, to finish rebuilding a Mooney Mite, but after that he planned to get started with it. 
Epps 1924 Monoplane, with 2 cylinder motorcycle engine
Epps 1924 Monoplane, with 2 cylinder motorcycle engine 
(click photo for more information).

Epps 1924 Monoplane, Barren Island Airport, Brooklyn, New York, 1928-9.
Sadly, Ben died in September, 2001.  In November, I stopped by the shop to talk with Dick Rank and see if he intended to proceed with the Epps 1924 Monoplane project.  He said he planned to, but there were a couple of projects ahead of it so it might be a year or two before he started.  I told Dick of my interest in the project and he and Bill Wegmann seemed pleased I was interested. 
Epps 1924 Monoplane, Barren Island Airport, Brooklyn, New York, 1928-9 (click photo for more information).

I have continued my conversations with Dick and Bill, and I am doing the initial research for the project.  Ben had a model built, presumably an accurate reproduction, but I am going to use original photographs and documents as much as possible for my information.  I am hoping to use a two cylinder motorcycle engine similar to the one Ben Sr. used, and that is where I am focusing my current efforts.
Closeup of Epps 1924 with V-twin motorcycle engine.
stay tuned for further developments (page last udpated October 24, 2002)