Choose another Topic

Clarke County Historical Markers

Ben Epps


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Ben Epps
  • Location: Located in front of the Athens Airport terminal, Athens

GEORGIA’S PIONEER AVIATOR BEN T. EPPS 1888 - 1937

Ben T. Epps – Georgia’s First in Flight – designed, built and in 1907 flew

the first airplane in the State of Georgia. He was born in Oconee

County, educated in Clarke County, and attended Georgia Tech. A

self-taught aviator, aircraft designer, and builder, Epps built the

1907 Monoplane in his shop on Washington Street in Athens and

designed and flew new airplanes in 1909, 1911, 1916, 1924, and 1930.

The 1924 Epps Monoplane weighed only 350 pounds, had a wingspan

of 25 feet, and was powered by a two-cylinder motorcycle engine.

Designed for the average man, easy to fly, and inexpensive to operate,

it would get 25 miles per gallon at 60 miles per hour.

Epps began operation of an airport at this location in 1917, and

operated a flying service for the next 20 years. In 1937, he died

of injuries here after engine failure and the crash of his

light biplane on take-off.

029-16 GEORGIA HISTORIC MARKER 1987