Ronald Reagan National Airport is located off the George Washington Parkway in Northern Virginia along the banks of the Potomac. It’s an older airport surrounded by development. Many commuters love National’s convenient location, but the shorter runways and surrounding buildings and monuments often mean white-knuckled take-offs and landings. Pilots must fly a narrow path over the Potomac River on approach and when leaving the airport. The must also quickly gain altitude and bank to avoid the Washington Monument and Rosslyn on the way out.