College Park MD vicinity

I’m starting to plan a trip to College Park, MD from Cleveland, OH (CGF). As a transient I can’t use the essentially closed College Park (CGS); Washington Exec-Hyde (W32); or Potomic (VKX) airports.

So, I’m looking for airport and FBO recommendations as near as reasonable to College Park.

Gaithersburg (Montgomery County Airpark, GAI) has been recommended. Comments will be appreciated.

Oh yes, the irony - my destination is 0.6nm from CGS.


I think your best bets are:

  • GAI, as you mentioned. FBO is not very good here, but otherwise a reasonable choice (and now my home base)

  • Tipton/Fort Meade (FME) - another close choice, I’ve never actually been there, despite its proximity, so I can’t tell you much about it.

  • Freeway (W00) and Suburban (W18) are other close choices but runway sizes of 2400x30 and 2300x40 respectively make them perhaps not ideal (but up to you of course).

  • BWI is another alternative…

Please make sure to familiarize yourself with the TFR; all of the airports mentioned are within 5 miles or so from the DC TFR.


Tipton/Fort Meade is a nice little airport - been there several times in the SR20. Self serve 24/7 fuel, not pricey. FBO small, no mechanical work, friendly. Arrivals/departures after hours no problem, your see the gate security code when you get there.
Lincoln, NE

As a College Park Airport resident (9274Y), I would recommend Tipton (Fort Meade) as best bet. Freeway has a treacherous little runway (big hump in the middle, like Hyde), narrow, bit rough and primitive facilities, too close to TFR and too hard to reach your destination near CGS. Suburban is also a bit primitive for transient purposes. Tipton is an old Army base, easy to get to off the BW Parkway (nearly straight shot to CGS), has a decent runway and there’s plenty of paved parking.

CAUTION: All these airports of very close to the TFR. While you can technically arrive at them without ATC, I strongly recommend flight following from at least 5-10 miles outside the TFR (GAI is a good point to pick up ATC on north side, eastern shore of Chesapeake on East side) or an IFR plan. Pick up Washington approach on 125.65 or 124.2 (they can hand you to Baltimore or Andrews if necessary) . Monitor 121.5 on second com at all times (that will be the freq if you are intercepted) and review the intercept rules on AOPA website (what to do and what signals to use if you see an F-15). The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) recently sent an F-15 after a student who was soloing from Tipton to GAI outside the TFR (but too close for their comfort). Not only are the F-15’s loaded with ordnance, the TSA recently ringed Washington with ground-based anti-aircraft. I fly through the TFR several times a week. Believe me, these guys at TSA are 1) deadly serious; and 2) not too smart. Do not be casual when approaching DC. Rely on your own navigating, not ATC, to guarantee avoidance of TFR.

Also, if you approach from the north, watch out for the Camp David prohibited area (it is also a TFR) just north of Frederick (P-40)…stay clear at least a 10-15 miles (actual size of TFR fluctuates between 5-8 miles). Good luck…and have fun (if possible after all the above) !