|The Wright Military Flyer is set up on a launching rail at College Park in 1909.|
College Park, Prince George's County was once the Cape Canaveral of the United States with all eyes on the events that were taking place there just over a century ago. The Brownsville Daily Herald of October 09, 1909 tells the story of invention, discovery and hitech accomplishment in Prince George's County:
"Makes a World Record in his Flight of Yesterday" College Park, Md., October 9 - With practically a dead calm settled over College Park, Wilbur Wright today broke the world's record for speed in his aeroplane over a meter course including a turn beyond the course, his time being 58 3-5 seconds or 20 seconds less than that of Delagrange over a similar course in France. Wright obtained a speed of 46 miles per hour for the distance."
"Cross-Country Flying is to be Program of Government Aviators" read the headlines of The Washington times., September 05, 1911, LAST EDITION, Page 4:
"A big program of cross-country flights for this week has been mapped out by Capt. Paul Beck, of the Government aviation school at College Park. Provided the weather is good the surrounding country within a radius of forty miles will be visited by the Army flyers.
Benning was visited yesterday and the flights were so successful that men are anxious for other flights.
This afternoon Annapolis will be visited. Three machines will make this trip. Captain Beck will lead the fleet in his last Curtiss biplane and Lieutenant Arnold will sail over in his old Wright. Lieutenant Kirtland will go in the Burgess-Wright. Four o'clock is the time set for the departure of the flyers, and they hope to return by sundown.
Baltimore comes next. The officers plan to sail to that city Thursday or Friday, possibly Thursday. They will leave in the morning about ten o'clock and return in the afternoon about sundown. The line of the flight will be directly over the Baltimore and Ohio railway tracks. Captain Beck will in all probability wait until the last 10:15 train passes College Park on its way to Baltimore and will try out his biplane in a race against the express. He figures that he can beat it into Baltimore by at least ten minutes.
With prospects of good weather during September, the officers will make a number of cross-country flights. Washington again may have the opportunity of seeing the machines sail over the city.
Realizing that each aviator at the Government school has learned about all there is about plain sailing around an aviation field, the men are going to seek other work, and naturally the next move will be to make long and more daring flights."
" Return of Aviators from Benning Proves a Splendid Flight" The return of Capt. Beck and Lieutenants Kirtland, Arnold, Kennedy and Private Whalen from Benning to College Park last evening was splendid. The flyers made the trip back in much shorter time than in going over, for a wind was behind them. Lieutenant Arnold carried Lieutenant Kennedy as his passenger, reached College Park at 6:27, returning in seven minutes. When over Hyattsville a distance of two miles from College Park , Lieutenant Arnold cut off his engine and volplaned all the way to the aviation field. He was up 1,500 feet at Hyattsville, and after cutting off the power his machine sailed perfectly the two miles to the hangers.
At 6:42 Lieutenant Kirtland and Private Whalen returned. They made the trip in exactly seven minutes, too. When at Riverdale Lieutenant Kirtland turned his machine nose downward and glided from an altitude of 1,000 feet to a perfect landing on the aviation field.
Captain Beck make a moonlight trip in returning. He did not get back until 7:06, Two big bonfires were built on the aviation field to guide him in making a landing. The whir of the propeller on the fast-flying Curtiss was heard when the machine reached Hyattsville, and instantly the privates at the school started the bonfires. Captain Beck was not sighted until within half a mile of the field, and he was only visible on a line with the moon. Flying at the rate of over a mile a minute, Captain Beck swooped over the field and made a beautiful landing. Four minutes was the time on the return."
1909 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive
College Park, MD 20740
301-864-5844; TTY 301-699-2544
Hours of Operation:
Daily, 7 am-10 pm
for more information check out: http://www.collegeparkairport.org/
 Wright Scores Again. Daily Herald of October 09, 1909. Library of Congress. [accessed April 26, 2012] http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86099906/1909-10-09/ed-1/seq-8/;words=Park+College+Wright?date1=1908&rows=20&searchType=basic&state=&date2=1910&proxtext=College+Park+%2B+wright&y=1&x=8&dateFilterType=yearRange&index=0
 Cross-Country Flying is to be Program of Government Aviators . The Washington Times., September 05, 1911, LAST EDITION, Page 4. Library of Congress. [accessed April 26, 2012] http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1911-09-05/ed-1/seq-4/;words=Park+College+Arnold?date1=1911&rows=20&searchType=basic&state=&date2=1913&proxtext=College+Park+%2B++Arnold&y=15&x=20&dateFilterType=yearRange&index=1
 ibid. Return of Aviators from Benning Proves a Splendid Flight