Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
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Field of Firsts

October 27, 1909: Mrs. Ralph Van Deman, wife of Capt. Van Deman, became the first woman passenger to fly in the United States

October 1909: Lt. Frederic Humphreys was the first military pilot to solo in a military aeroplane. He, Lt. Frank Lahm, and Lt. Benjamin Foulois received their flight instruction at College Park from Wilbur Wright.

1911: First Army Aviation School

1911: First testing of a bomb aiming device from an aeroplane.Inert bombs were dropped into the goldfish ponds at the end of the airfield using a bombsight developed by Riley E. Scott.


first Firing
The above is a publicity photo of the first firing of a machine gun from an airplane, College Park, 1912. It features Capt. Chandler and Lt. Kirtland. In reality, Lt. Milling - not Kirtland - made the landmark flight.
CPAM Photograph, MacCartee Collection
1912: First testing of a machine gun from an aeroplane.On June 7, a Lewis Machine Gun was fired by Captain Chandler from a Wright B, with Lieutenant Milling as pilot.

1912: First mile-high flight by a military aviator. Lt. Henry "Hap" Arnold made the first army altitude records at College Park.

1918-21: First U.S. Postal Air Mail Service.The regular U.S. Postal Air Mail flights were inaugurated on August 12, 1918.

1924: First controlled helicopter flight. Emile and Henry Berliner based their flight experiments at College Park from 1920 to 1924.

1927-35: First radio navigational aids developed and tested by the Bureau of Standards.