• RonTom: The $1000 Hamburger

    The $1,000 Hamburger

    By Tom O. and Ron B.

    The $1000 Hamburger

    What Is RonTom?

    We are two "Old Timers" with a passion for aviation and a penchant for telling stories. The result is some aviation / flightsim storytelling based on some Real World locations that we think are fun and/or interesting. We hope that this semi-regular feature will inspire you to learn or explore or fly to somewhere new. (If you have locations that you'd like to have us visit, please feel free to e-mail: [email protected].

    College Park, MD

    In 1977 the College Park, MD airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places because in 1909 it was the demonstration site for the Wright Brothers. Many "firsts" occurred at this site:

    • First mile-high flight by a powered airplane
    • First female passenger
    • First "controlled" helicopter flight
    • In 1911, the nation's first military aviation school was opened here and later that same year, civilian aircraft began flying from College Park Airport (in December 1911), making it the oldest continuously operated airport in the world!

    The $1000 Hamburger

    • In 1918, after a three-month trial with the War Department, the Post Office inaugurated the first Postal Airmail Service from College Park; serving Philadelphia and New York City (Belmont Park). More on this later.

    The $1000 Hamburger

    • Also, in more recent times, it will be known as the inaugural airport for the RonTom Adventures on FlightSim.Com

    So, we invite you to sit back, relax, and join us on a trip through some aviation history.

    While the Wright brothers were at College Park, Wilbur Wright taught Lieutenants Frederic Humphreys and Frank Lahm how to fly and later Humphreys became the first military pilot to solo in a government-owned airplane. The flight school at College Park hosted some other famous names too, like Lt. Henry H. Arnold (yup), Lt. Thomas DeWitt Milling and Capt. Paul Beck.

    Tags: hamburger, rontom

    1. avallillo's Avatar
      avallillo -
      Interesting story! Having flown into both of the mentioned airports more than once, I can vouch for the interesting stories behind each. Of course, College Park is now one of the so-called DC-3 (or more properly perhaps MD-3, neither of which have anything to do with Douglas or McDonnel!) and you need a secret handshake of the highest order to fly into it for real. But here, and especially in FS2020, you can flaunt authority to your heart's content!

      LaGuardia started sinking into Flushing Bay shortly after it opened, and has been conspiring to do so ever since. There is a Dutch-like dike around it now, but the runway extensions are on firmer footing and so there needs to be some adjustment to the runways every so often to keep the main portion on a level with the extensions.

      As the authors point out, LGA is not an airport of entry, but it does host a few international flights, mostly from Canada, from places that have US Customs preclearance. Toronto comes to mind, a short run that I flew on a number of occasions back in the early portion of my career.

      There was, for a brief time during the height of the COVID impact on commercial aviation, a window of opportunity to fly a plane as small as a Piper Cub into LGA, and JFK and EWR too for that matter. These places ended up with perhaps a dozen airline flights a day during that period, when commercial aviation was down by 90%. There is a YouTube video of a fellow doing just that, and being welcomed with open arms by ATC. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm only sorry it did not occur to me!
    1. CRJ_simpilot's Avatar
      CRJ_simpilot -
      This is very interesting, as well as avallillo's comments. To be able to fly into those major metropolitan airports with a small Cub or what ever is in fact a rare opportunity, and it really paints the picture here on how COVID-19 has damaged so much of the economy and lives. It really is extraordinarily sad and it's as if we're living a 9-11 era all over again.

      I had no idea LGA was a U.S. Customs preclearance airport. Makes sense I guess because I just had a look at both Kennedy and LaGuardia again in Little Navmap and LGA is a smaller airport.

      The first time I flew into New York was in my SR-71 in FS2004 flying from Northern Colorado. I think the trip was about 45 minutes and I knew to start descending around Illinois or thereabouts. It was actually the first time I flew the SR-71, too. LOL Not too bad landing into Kennedy. That's the great thing about the Sim, you can do what ever you want.

      About those Boeing 314's. I can't even imagine what the ride must be like landing on water in one of those. As it is, landing in a commercial aircraft today has the whole "tube" rocking like hell.
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