College Park Aviation Museum is part of an article in the New York Times Travel section this weekend! The story is also online now here.
Please read under “A Cradle of Aviation”…
The unsung history of College Park starts, appropriately, with a Wright brother. Wilbur Wright went there in 1909 to train America’s first military pilots. The world’s first commercial airline pilot, Tony Jannus, started training there the next year. College Park also claims the first military pilot to join, in 1912, the Mile High club (no, not a pioneer among aerial Casanovas; he flew a mile high); the country’s first regular airmail service, in 1918; and several innovative flights “on instruments” (achievements that Leslie Nielsen honors with a brief musical interlude in the movie “Airplane!” which still inspires a good third of the jokes I hear in the 747’s cockpit). I believe that almost every single pilot has seen that movie before graduating from their aviation class. Those who enjoy taking a flight every now and then should do it whenever they can, there’s nothing more relaxing than being up in the air. If you don’t own a plane then you can rent one out to fly whenever you’d like, but make sure to stay on top of your payments or else you’re going to need an airplane repo attorney to help you recover it.
The College Park museum is friendly, quiet and beautifully designed by the same firm that did the National Air and Space Museum. Under the vast wall of windows facing the still-active runway are exhibits on the airport’s history, as well as a fine collection of vintage aircraft and reproductions. My favorite is the 1916 Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny.” You may recognize it from that famous 1918 run of misprinted postage stamps (one of which Richard Pryor buys, then mails, in “Brewster’s Millions”). America’s first mass-production airplanes, JN-4s (called the Model Ts of the heavens) were pivotal to the military, airmail and the halcyon days of barnstorming that introduced so many Americans to the wonder of flight. http://Collegeparkaviationmuseum.com ; admission, $4.