Suburban Airport

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Suburban Airport
Suburban Airport Laurel Maryland.JPG
Airport type Public
Owner Suburban Air Park LLC
Location Laurel, Maryland
Elevation AMSL 148 ft / 45 m
Coordinates 39°04′37″N 076°49′41″W / 39.07694°N 76.82806°W / 39.07694; -76.82806
W18 is located in Maryland
W18 is located in the US
Location of airport in Maryland
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3/21 2,324 708 Asphalt
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations 1,750
Based aircraft 35

Suburban Airport (FAA LID: W18) was a public-use airport located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States, two miles (3 km) southeast of the central business district of Laurel. This airport was privately owned by Suburban Air Park LLC.[1] The airport was closed in 2017.[citation needed]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Suburban Airport covers an area of 52 acres (21 ha) which contains one paved runway (3/21) measuring 2,324 by 40 feet (708 m × 12 m).[1]

A combination of grass, paved-pad, ramp, owner-maintained fabric hangars, and steel hangars were available for aircraft to base from. The airport hosted homebuilt experimental aircraft, and had been the primary construction site of several aircraft.


First customer – June 1960, An ERCO Ercoupe taxis to its tiedown at Suburban

Suburban airport lies on ground once owned by the Snowden Family. The family manor "Birmingham" was built in 1690, and sat adjacent to the runway on what is now the Northbound lanes of the Baltimore–Washington Parkway. The Snowden family cemetery sits just to the east of the runway, within the traffic pattern.[2] This historic location was the home of the first Iron production in Maryland, Patuxent Iron Works. Just to the west of the airport is a later Snowden family manor, Montpelier.

Suburban Airport opened in March 1960[3] as a family run airport and fixed-base operation. The first manager was Morgan Stern.[4] The first aircraft flown into the field was an Erco Ercoupe.[citation needed] By 1963 the operations building and maintenance hangar were complete and there were 33 aircraft based on the field.[5]

Final approach for 21 – Summer of 1998

The airport hosts meetings of the Experimental Aircraft Association and aviation oriented youth education programs such as Young Eagles flights.

The airport has been a Piper Aircraft dealer.[6]

In 2001 Suburban Airport was closed for operations by the September 11 attacks. Aircraft had limited access to leave, then eventually arrivals and departures were granted under the flight rules of the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone.[7]

Suburban airport is currently owned by W18 LLC, an entity co-located with Bay Area Land Development and Polm Housing. The airport property is in a region affected by Base Realignment and Closure and gambling legislation at the nearby Laurel Park Racecourse. In 2004 Polm attempted to increase the zoning of the airport property from 21 allowable housing units to 641 units for a Workforce housing development called Riverwood. Polm publicly announced plans prior to the hearing to expand Suburban airport to support 300 aircraft, 100 hangars, helicopter charters, and operate a flight school if the increased zoning failed. 250 people attended the zoning hearing where the Riverwood zoning attempt did not pass. The same hearing passed zoning changes for the Polm development Fieldstone on the same road. In 2009 Polm offered to build a 715-seat privately run school if Riverwood zoning is approved.[8][9][10]

New threshold in foreground, looking toward the old threshold

In 2010 The Maryland Aviation Administration changed the criteria for minimum approach angles and marked the airport with new displaced thresholds. The thresholds shortened 1/3 of the runway for landing operations both ways on the 2,300-foot runway. Organizations that provided aircraft for Young Eagles flights have needed to relocate because the available runway was reduced beyond safe operating limits of their aircraft.

By late 2012, the airport owner had yet to expand hangars and operations as announced in 2004, efforts to bring gambling to nearby Laurel Park had failed, BRAC-related inflow ceased in 2011, declining home prices and interest rates from the recession greatly reduced the need for workforce housing developments, and the county's school and water demands were beyond capacity from overdevelopment.[11] Suburban Airport's owner submitted plans to build the for-profit Monarch Global Village Academy Public Contract School for troubled children, managed by The Children's Guild, temporarily on the airport property in exchange for approval to build the Riverwood housing development. Anne Arundel County required the school to offset the impact of the proposed Riverwood development and overcrowding from other recently approved developments.[12] After the county announced that it would seek school construction sites elsewhere in 2012, the project was started on a neighboring parcel[13] once occupied by the Laurel Moose lodge and sold to the Children's Guild.[citation needed]

Suburban Airpark


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for W18 (Form 5010 PDF), retrieved March 15, 2007
  2. ^ McGill, Rick (June 17, 2008). "Snowden Cemetery, Patuxent Research Refuge; Anne Arundel Co., MD". USGenWeb Project. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ "W18 – Suburban Airport". AirNav. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Lost Pilot Parks Plane Along Road". The Washington Post. 23 September 1961. 
  5. ^ "Historic Aerials". Nationwide Environmental Title Search. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ American Aviation, Volume 32. 1968.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Aviators rejoice over reopening of airspace ; 3 airports still closed under FAA restrictions". The Sun. December 21, 2001. 
  9. ^ "Airport advocates, AOPA win big in Maryland". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. March 2, 2004. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ Stewart, Joshua (July 20, 2009). "Civic group endorses development". Capital Gazette. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Rules About Crowded Schools Fuel the Graying of Arundel". The Washington Post. May 29, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Growing Tension Over Anne Arundel Schools; County Officials, Educators Blame Each Other for Crowded Classes, Development Standstill". The Washington Post. November 16, 1997. 
  13. ^ Pratt, Tim (August 20, 2012). "New Monarch school construction delayed". Capitol Gazette. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]