Aviation History

Aviation History (HM3SV)

Location: Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 Prince George's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 45.377', W 76° 42.342'

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Columbia Air Center

In 1941, aviation history was made when the first Black owned and operated airfield licensed in America opened on this site. Mr. John W. Greene, Jr., a pioneer in Black aviation, was instrumental in developing the airfield, originally called "Riverside Field."

With the advent of World War II, civilian flying was restricted, and many private airfields were utilized by the military to train pilots. Riverside Field was occupied by the U.S. Navy until 1944 for training missions.

After the war, Mr. Greene, with financial support from Dr. C. M. Gill, reopened the airfield as "Columbia Air Center." It offered a flying school, charter services, and facilities for major and minor repairs. The first Black Civil Air Patrol squadron in the Washington, D.C. area, called the "Columbia Squadron," was formed here.

In later years the field operated under the names of "W and J Flying Service" and the "Capital Flying Club," promoting such activities as skydiving and parachute jumping.

Activities at the airport gradually decreased, and by 1958 it was closed to all air traffic. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission acquired this property in 1959, the first acquisition of the Patuxent River Watershed Park.

[Photos on marker] Columbia Air Center in operation; John W. Greene, Jr.; his pilot and mechanic licenses; Piper 65, Fairchild, and Taylor aircraft; Civil Air Patrol (Columbia Squadron) members; maps; and "Airport Data".
HM NumberHM3SV
Placed ByThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 5:33pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 351790 N 4291112
Decimal Degrees38.75628333, -76.70570000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 45.377', W 76° 42.342'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 45' 22.62" N, 76° 42' 20.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 202, 410
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8400 Mc Clure Rd, Upper Marlboro MD 20772, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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