Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

California: Northwestern Orange County

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 3/22/14.

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Please consider a financial contribution to support the continued growth & operation of this site.





Crawford Airport / Seal Beach Airport / NOLF 21104 (added 3/22/14) - Cypress School of Aeronautics (revised 12/31/11)

Disneyland Heliport (1st location) (revised 1/11/09) - Disneyland Heliport (2nd location) (added 12/21/13)

Disneyland Heliport (3rd location) (added 1/11/09) - East Long Beach / Sunset Beach / Meadowlark Airport (revised 2/26/13)

NOLF 11005 / Haster Farm NOLF / Haster Farm Airport (revised 12/31/11)NOLF 08303 / Horse Farm NOLF / Horse Farm Airport (revised 3/23/10)

Huntington Beach Airport (revised 3/22/14)

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Crawford Airport / Seal Beach Airport / Naval Outlying Landing Field 21104, Seal Beach, CA

33.74 North / 118.09 West (Southwest of Los Alamitos AAF, CA)

A circa 1920s-30s photo of 2 unidentified people (presumably the pilot is Williams Crawford) examining a glider at Crawford Airport.



Sometime in the mid-1920s, pilot & airplane builder William Crawford acquired or built an airstrip just above Anaheim Landing.

A government airfield directory described it as 1,300, having a 3,000' runway.

In 1927, the L.A. Times reported that Crawford had organized the Crawford Motor & Airplane Manufactory

to operate an airplane field & school for aviators on the I.W. Hellman Ranch, north of Seal Beach.”

The company was granted a stock-selling permit by the State Corporation Department.

Other activities of the company will be the manufacture of modern airplanes & motors invented by W.P. Crawford,

head of the corporation & one of its incorporaters.

Crawford has been conducting an airplane business in Long Beach for several years.”



A 11/2/29 L.A. Times article mentioned "The William F. Crawford: Airport”, and established Crawford's credentials in the aircraft motor industry.

He also had a good reputation for building propellers & motorcycle motors.



Crawford was apparently an innovator, and one of the first to place refrigeration on an airplane.

In December 1928, the Hamilton syndicate of Nogales NM ordered 3 planes from the Crawford Airplane Corporation of Seal Beach, to be equipped for refrigeration.

One plane was already under construction, the refrigerator to be operated by from an electrical dynamo generated from the ship while in flight.

Shrimps which cost 60 cents a pound here, may be had at 10 cents a pound in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The syndicate intends to transport them by plane, speeding up the service, and lowering costs thereby.

If the 3 ships test out successfully, the contract is already arranged, according to factory officials,

whereby 15 more planes will be built under the same principles.”

Either flaws in the idea or the stock market crash of a year later doomed this idea.



In 1928-30 Crawford advertised regularly in Popular Mechanics — offering services in construction of engines, propellers, gliders & blueprints for ice sleds.

They also offered some how-to books, including “Simple Aerodynamics and the Practical Airplane.”

The ads noted the propellers were made for Harley-Davidson, Indian and Heath-Henderson motorcyles.





A circa 1920s photo of a glider being towed on a cart in front of a building marked “Crawford's Airport”.



But Crawford’s airfield apparently also saw some use as a recreational airport.

Pilots from around the area flew there to spend a day at the beach or to give beach-goers short airplane rides for a penny per passenger-pound.

Charles Lindberg, Amelia Earhart, were said to have flown through there.



Seal Beach resident Jim Templeton used to hang around the airport, cleaning planes, talking to the pilots & mechanics, sometimes even receiving free rides.

On one ride, the plane developed engine trouble & landed in the field across from Zoeter School - Jim hopped out, ran across PCH, and was late to school.



An undated aerial view looking southwest at Crawford Airport from a 1930 airport directory

showed it to have an unpaved east/west runway & a single building on the northwest side.



It was popular for another reason, too: In 1930 a diner opened across the highway & derived its name from the airport.

The original sign stated: “GLIDE'ER INN & EAT Fish, Steaks, Sandwiches Tamales, Clam Chowder, Chili PRIVATE BOOTHS”.

The brotherhood of fliers began using the inn as a sort of lodge hall. Clark Gable & many other celebrities ate there.

Inside, aviation memorabilia covered the walls & model airplanes hung from the ceilings & the "world's largest hand-carved propeller" decorated the bar.

A sign was mounted beside the sit-down counter: "All aviators are requested to sign our pilots register".

Other pilots flew there to spend a day at the beach or to give beach-goers short airplane rides for a penny per passenger-pound.



A 1931 map labeled the Seal Beach Airport on the east side of Westminster Boulevard.



A circa 1930s U.S. Navy aerial view looking southeast at Crawford Airport, with Seal Beach Boulevard in the foreground.

The field had a single unpaved east/west runway, with 2 small hangars on the northwest side.

There were no aircraft visible on the field.

What was the strange enclosed square & circle structure at the intersection with Pacific Coast Highway?



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Crawford Airport was on the 1932 LA Sectional Chart,

which depicted Crawford as a commercial/municipal field.



The 1932 USGS topo map (courtesy of Greg Mosholder) depicted Crawford Airport as an unpaved east/west runway, labeled simply as “Landing Field”,

with a single building on the northwest side.



Crawford may have shut down his shop, because the 1932 issue of Air Commerce Bulletin #4

said “Crawford Airport, 1/4 of a mile northeast of Seal Beach, is no longer available for the use of aircraft.”



Sometime in the 1930s the field began being called the Seal Beach Airport.

Whether William Crawford was still operating his business there is unknown,

but a few years later Clyde Schlieper & Wes Carroll were among a few of the pilots who flew there.

Carroll operated a aircraft passenger service at Seal Beach Airport.



A circa late 1930s / early 1940s photo of instructors in front of Piper & Ryan aircraft & a hangar marked Seal Beach Airport.



The 1941 Sectional Chart depicted Seal Beach as a commercial/municipal airport.



At some point between 1942-43, with the construction of the Naval Air Station just up the road at Los Alamitos,

the Seal Beach airfield was purchased by the Navy & commissioned as a Naval Outlying Air Field

for use by the naval pilots being trained at Alamitos & El Toro.

Its designation of Field 21104 indicated it was on a heading of 211 degrees from Los Alamitos & a distance of 4 NM.



A circa 1943 chart of NAS Los Alamitos & several of its outlying fields (courtesy of John Voss),

including NOLF Seal Beach (21104),

Note that the chart also depicted NOLF 13207 (Mile Square), NOLF Haster Farm (11005), and NOLF Horse Farm (08303),

as well as 2 “proposed” fields which were never built.



The last depiction which has been located of Seal Beach Airport was on the 1943 Sectional Chart,

which depicted NOLF 21104 as an auxiliary airfield.



The 1943 USGS topo map no longer depicted Seal Beach Airport.



Seal Beach resident Lynne Pranter Phipps recalled, at the time it was at the Seal Beach Airport,

the Seal Beach Airport Administration building had a big letter “R” on the front of the building.

When the Seal Beach Weapons Station came in 1944 the Seal Beach Airport Administration building was moved to the corner of 8th & Central,

across from the Seal Beach City Hall where it became the Ration Board during the war.



NOLF Seal Beach was evidently no longer in use by 1945,

as it was no longer listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



A 1952 aerial view showed the site of Seal Beach Airport covered by Navy buildings.



A 4/16/13 aerial view showed Navy buildings covering the site of Seal Beach Airport.

But a possible remnant is located on the western edge of the site –

could the rectangular concrete feature along Seal Beach Boulevard be the foundation of the Seal Beach Airport hangar?



The site of Seal Beach Airport is located east of the intersection of Seal Beach Boulevard & Pacific Coast Highway.



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Disneyland Heliport (1st location), Anaheim, CA

33.811 North / 117.916 West (Northeast of Long Beach, CA)

A July 15, 1955 aerial photo showing Disneyland 2 days before its Grand Opening (courtesy Orange County Archives, via Scott O'Donnell),

showing the original location of the Disneyland Heliport in the parking lot on the right side.



Disneyland was once connected to Los Angeles International Airport

via 15-minute helicopter flights provided on a scheduled route by Los Angeles Airways.

The first location of the Disneyland Heliport was located near the intersection of the 5 Freeway & Harbor Boulevard.

Guests would travel to & from the Disneyland Hotel by tram.



Disneyland Heliport service was initially provided by Los Angeles Airways

using piston-engine Sikorsky S-55 helicopters.

Los Angeles Airways had at least 2 S-55s, which were painted green & yellow

(and could seat up to 12 passengers, but probably carried much less in airline service).



Two 1956 photos of a Sikorsky S-55 of Los Angeles Airways being loaded with passenger luggage at the Disneyland Heliport.

 

A 1956 photo of the “backstage” heliport entrance behind the Tomorrowland Skyway Station.

Note the sign reading “Helicopter Passenger Check In” on the shack,

and the luggage cart with the Los Angeles Airways logo.



A 1956 aerial view looking north at Disneyland,

annotated by Scott O'Donnell to show the terminal shack & helipad of the 1st Disneyland Heliport.



A circa 1950s photo of a Los Angeles Airways S-55 at the Disneyland Heliport.



A undated (circa 1950s?) photos of a Sikorsky S-55 of Los Angeles Airways at the Disneyland Heliport.



According to Scott O'Donnell, the 1st location of the Disneyland Heliport evidently lasted a mere 2 years,

as in approximately 1957 the Disneyland railroad tracks were re-aligned towards Harbor Boulevard,

therefore displacing the original location of the Disneyland Heliport.

The heliport was replaced by a new location 140 yards to the south.



A June 1960 aerial view annotated by Scott O'Donnell to show the original locations of the Disneyland Heliport,

which by then had been displaced by the railroad tracks & covered with parking.



A 2006 aerial view showed the site of the original Disneyland Heliport having been covered with further development.



Thanks to Jeff Knapp for pointing out this airfield.

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Disneyland Heliport (2nd location), Anaheim, CA

33.81 North / 117.916 West (Northeast of Long Beach, CA)

A June 1960 aerial view annotated by Scott O'Donnell to show the 1st & 2nd locations of the Disneyland Heliport.



According to Scott O'Donnell, in approximately 1957 the Disneyland railroad tracks were re-aligned towards Harbor Boulevard,

therefore displacing the original location of the Disneyland Heliport.

The heliport was replaced by a new location just 140 yards to the south.



According to Scott O'Donnell, the 2nd location of the Disneyland Heliport evidently only lasted 3 years,

as in 1960 it was replaced with yet another heliport,

over 1,000 yards to the west, on the southwest side of the theme park.



A 1961 photo of a Sikorsky S-62 departing from the Disneyland Heliport.



A February 22, 1966 aerial view looking southeast at Disneyland's Tomorrowland,

showing the abandoned 2nd location of the Disneyland Heliport on the parking lot just beyond the monorail track.



A 2006 aerial view showed the site of the 2nd location of the Disneyland Heliport having been covered with the Disneyland Entry Esplanade & Tram complex.



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Disneyland Heliport (3rd location), Anaheim, CA

33.811 North / 117.927 West (Northeast of Long Beach, CA)

An August 1963 photo by Robert Boser of a Sikorsky S-61L of Los Angeles Airways taking off from the Disneyland Heliport

(this attribution link required with use of the photo outside of Wikipedia: EditorASC).

Note the Disneyland Matterhorn just visible in the background on the right.

N300Y was the prototype Sikorsky S-61L.



According to Scott O'Donnell, in 1960 the Disneyland Heliport

was moved to its final location on the southwest side of the theme park.



On March 1, 1962, Los Angeles Airways became the 1st civil operator of the turbine-powered Sikorsky S-61L,

which had been purchased for $650,000 apiece.

These presumably replaced the much smaller S-55 helicopters on the Disneyland run.

The S-61L could seat up to 28 passengers, and cruised at 140 mph.



Kelly recalled, “When I was in 2nd grade I had a girlfriend.

On her birthday her parents drove us to LAX, and we all flew to Disneyland on the LA Airways S-61 helicopter.

It was totally cool, we landed on the helipad at the old Disneyland Hotel.

We flew back to LAX that night & the city lights were amazing. I have never forgotten it.”



A circa 1964 aerial view showing the 3rd location of the Disneyland Heliport,

showing a circular helicopter landing spot marking, a north/south approach line,

and the distinctive “V”-shaped painted marking leading to the terminal building, also seen on the previous Disneyland Heliports.

Note the orange groves adjacent to the west side of the heliport.



Unfortunately, the Congressional subsidy for helicopter airlines expired in 1965,

it quickly became evident that helicopter airlines were not financially viable.



The Disneyland Heliport service suffered its 1st fatal accident on May 22, 1968,

when S-16L N303Y was cruising at 2,000' near Paramount,

after departing the Disneyland heliport, en-route to LAX.

At about 5:50 PM, Flight 841 suddenly broadcast a distress message: "L.A., we're crashing, help us!"

There were no survivors among the 20 passengers & 3 crew.

The aircraft was destroyed by the impact & subsequent fire.

The crash was caused by a mechanical failure in the blade rotor system,

which then allowed one blade to strike the side of the fuselage.

The other 4 blades were then thrown out of balance

and all five rotor blades broke & then the rear fuselage & tail separated from the rest of the airframe.



Only 3 months later, on August 14, 1968, Los Angeles Airways S-61L N300Y

was operating Flight 417 from Los Angeles International Airport to the Disneyland Heliport.

The aircraft & crew had completed 3 round trips to various destinations in the LA metro area beginning at 6:07 PDT

and departed the ramp at Los Angeles as Flight 417 at 10:26.

The VFR flight was cleared by Los Angeles Helicopter Control to take off & proceed eastbound at 10:28.

At 10:29 the flight reported to Hawthorne Tower that it was departing LA eastbound along Imperial Boulevard at 1,200'.

At 10:32 Helicopter Control advised, "LA 417, 7 miles east, radar service terminated."

The flight acknowledged, "417 thank you."

This was the last known radio contact with the flight.



The aircraft crashed in a recreational park located in a residential area in Compton,

with the loss of all 18 passengers & 3 crew.

Among the victims was passenger Christopher Belinn,

the 13-year-old grandson of Clarence Belinn, the founder & president of Los Angeles Airways.



The aircraft was destroyed by impact & fire.

The entire fuselage, both engines, main rotor head assembly, four main rotor blades,

and the pylon assembly were located in the main impact area.

The 5th main rotor blade (yellow) including the sleeve & part of spindle,

was located approximately 0.25 miles northwest of the main wreckage site.

Minor parts associated with this rotor blade where scattered over a 3-block area northwest of the park.

Examination of the yellow blade spindle (S/N AJ19) revealed a fatigue fracture

in the shank of the spindle adjacent to the shoulder in the inboard end of the shank.



The probable cause of the accident was the fatigue failure of the yellow main rotor blade spindle

causing separation of the blade which made the aircraft uncontrollable.

The fatigue crack originated in an area of substandard hardness & inadequate shot peening.



Statements were obtained from 91 witnesses.

A consensus of their observations indicates that the helicopter was proceeding along a normal flightpath

when a loud noise or unusual sound was heard.

A main rotor blade was either observed to separate or was seen separated in the vicinity of the main rotor disc.

As the helicopter fell in variously described gyrations, the tail cone either folded or separated.



Flight 417's Sikorsky S-61L, N300Y, was the prototype for the S-61L,

and had accumulated 11,864 total flying hours prior to the day of the accident.

The S-61s were grounded until the problem was fixed.



Rick Shadforth recalled, “I worked for LAA as an avionics tech in 1970, during the last few months that LAA remained in business.

We had 2 S-61s that flew scheduled hops to Disneyland as well as Newport Beach.

I made several trips out to Disneyland to work on some ground support equipment.

We also assisted the Orange County Sheriffs office, providing airborne observations when a bunch of hippies took over Tom Sawyer's Island.

The only reason the flights to Disneyland were halted was because the company went out of business.”



The Disneyland Heliport presumably closed at that point,

having operated for a total of approximately 15 years in 3 different locations.



An aerial view annotated by Scott O'Donnell to show the sites of all 3 locations of the Disneyland Heliport.



An October 2007 aerial photo showed the site of the 3rd location of the Disney Heliport,

now unrecognizable as such, now having parking lots for the Disneyland Hotel.

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Cypress School of Aeronautics, Anaheim, CA

33.83 North / 118.02 West (Northeast of Long Beach, CA)

"Cypress" Airfield, as depicted on the September 1948 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Photo of the airport is not available.



Not much is known about this small flying school airfield,

including its date of construction.

It was apparently built at some point between 1945-47,

as it was yet depicted on the August 1945 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The earliest reference to the Cypress School of Aeronautics came from Claudia Skapik,

who recalled, “My father George Owens ran the Cypress School starting in about 1947.

My mother gave me my father's pilot logbooks

and I found the notation of him leaving the Culver City Airport April 13, 1947

and starting up his new operation at Cypress School of Aeronautics on April 15, 1947.

In the beginning it was an airfield & a couple of buildings.

My dad George Owens & his partner Paul Blackman

(he owned a meat packing company & was the money of the partnership) started the business after the war.

Apparently the Government use to fund people who wanted to learn to fly [through the G.I. Bill].

My mother said that after the Government stopped paying people to learn to fly it was no longer profitable to run the school.

My father then closed the school & went to work for the then North American later Rockwell Aviation

and worked on the Apollo & then the Space Shuttle projects.”



Bruce Pasarow reported, “I have 2 advertisements (June 12, 1947 & June 19, 1947) encouraging people to visit & take flying lessons at the Cypress Airpark.

Another item is an article & an advertisement in the June 12, 1947 [Buena Park News] about the opening of the Cypress airfield.

Another item is an article (June 1947) about a secretary working for the Cypress airfield who took flying lessons in order to understand her job better.”



The earliest depiction of the Cypress School of Aeronautics airfield which has been located

was the September 1948 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which described the field as having a 2,200' unpaved runway.

 

The 1949 USGS topo map (courtesy of Francis Blake) depicted the Cypress airfield

as consisting of a single 2,300' northeast/southwest runway

within an irregularly-shaped outline.

 

The Cypress airfield was depicted on an early-1955 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bob Cannon)

as having a 1,900' unpaved runway.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Cypress airfield was a 1953 aerial photo.

It depicted the field as having a single 2,300' northeast/southwest runway.

Rows of hangars were located on the northwest & northeast sides of the field,

and a dozen light aircraft were parked on the northwest side.



A 1954 aerial view depicted the field with the same layout,

but the number of aircraft visible on the field had plummeted to only 3.



The Cypress School of Aeronautics airfield evidently closed (for reasons unknown) at some point during 1955,

as it was no longer depicted on the September 1955 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or subsequent aeronautical charts.



A 1972 aerial view showed that several drive-in movie theater screens covered the north side of the former airport property,

and a school covered the southern portion.

 

The 1998 USGS topo map indicated that the site of the former Cypress School of Aeronautics

had been reused as the site of Orangeview Junior High School & a hospital.

 

A 3/8/11 aerial photo annotated by Scott O'Donnell to show the layout of the Cypress School of Aeronautics Airfield.

Not a trace of the airfield appeared to remain.



The site of the Cypress School of Aeronautics is located southwest

of the intersection of South Knott Avenue & Lincoln Avenue.

 

Thanks to Francis Blake for pointing out this airfield.

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East Long Beach Airport / Sunset Beach Airport / Meadowlark Airport (L16),

Huntington Beach, CA

33.72 North / 118.03 West (Southeast of Los Angeles, CA)

An October 21, 1947 aerial view by Harry Gordon looking west at East Long Beach Airport.



This very popular general aviation airfield

eventually had the unfortunate coincidence of being located on land which eventually became too valuable.

 

According to an article by Patrick Mott in the Los Angeles Times (courtesy of Bob Cannon),

"It's been the seat-of-the-pants flier's favorite hangout in Orange County since 1945,

a home for the gypsy in the private pilot's soul,

a gravelly oasis where you can cruise for burgers in your Cessna."

 

East Long Beach Airport was not yet depicted on the August 1945 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



According to Rex Ricks, “East Long Beach Airport... was owned by Col. Willsie & partner.

They established the field in 1946.”



According to Steve Miller, “Col. Richard Willsie... owned the East Long Beach Airport until returning to active duty during the Korean War.”



The earliest depiction of East Long Beach Airport which has been located was a 10/21/47 aerial view by Harry Gordon.

It depicted the field as having 2 unpaved runways in a “V” shape,

with a ramp with several small buildings & a group of light aircraft at the southwest end.



An October 21, 1947 aerial view by Harry Gordon of the hangar (marked with “East Long Beach Airport”), office building,

fuel pump, and several tailgragger single-engine planes.



The 1948 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

described "East Long Beach" having a 2,400' unpaved runway.



A photo by Rex Ricks of a automobile license plate frame advertising East Long Beach Airport.



The 1950 Sectional Chart (according to K.O. Eckland) described East Long Beach as having three 2,400' dirt runways.



According to Rex Ricks, “Col. Wiltsey sold out when he was recalled for Korea.

Nerios bought it in 1952.”



An early (undated) aerial view looking northeast at East Long Beach Airport.



"East Long Beach" Airport, as depicted on the September 1955 San Diego USAF Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The Aerodromes table described the field as having 2 "oil mix" runways, the longest being 2,050'.



The airfield was next renamed Sunset Beach Airport.

Bob Cannon recalled, "My first landing at Sunset was 9/3/55 in my 7AC.

First time to try the beach air enhanced hamburgers. Got hooked from then on!

I have a 1956 LA Local [Aeronautical Chart]. L16 is [listed as] Sunset Beach."

 

Sunset Beach Airport was described in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory

as having a single 1,900' road mix Runway 1/19,

and the operator was listed as Abe Paster.



Rick Truofreh recalled, “My next flight was at the age of 6 [1962], from Meadowlark Airport in a Piper Tri-Pacer.

The pilot let me take the controls for a minute.... Wow!

I remember seeing the 'toy houses' & cows, horses, trees & cars from the window of the plane, looking down.”



"Sunset Beach" Airport, as depicted on the March 1963 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bob Cannon).

 

The airport had been renamed "Meadowlark"

by the time of the August 1963 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bob Cannon).

 

By 1964, the field had been paved, as the August 1964 LA Local Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Donald Felton)

described Meadowlark as having a 1,900' hard-surface runway.



The earliest topo map depiction which has been located of Meadowlark Airport was on the 1965 USGS topo map,

which depicted the field as having a single paved northeast/southwest runway with a parallel taxiway.



Eugene Friedrich recalled, “I used to be an owner of the flight school & Link Trainer at Meadowlark.”



A circa 1960s aerial view of Meadowlark Airport (courtesy of Rex Ricks).



Meadowlark was depicted in a 1968 airport directory (courtesy of Glenn Beltz)

as having a single 1,700' paved Runway 1/19,

which was renowned among California pilots for being an extremely short runway.



A 1972 aerial view depicted Meadowlark Airport as having a single paved northeast/southwest runway,

along with a former crosswind runway.

The field was home to dozens of light aircraft.



The 8/14/75 LA Helicopter Aeronautical Chart depicted Meadowlark as having 2 paved runways.



The ramp at Meadowlark, 1977.

 

Aerial view of Meadowlark, © 1978 by Chris Bell, used by permission.

Rex Ricks observed, “Our house on end of Old Pirate Lane is at lower left edge.

Our Bellanca Cruisair, next to our house, is not aligned with taxiway.”



A 1978 aerial view looking northeast at Meadowlark by Bob Cannon,

showing how close the houses were surrounding the field by that point.



Rex Ricks recalled, “I grew up right next to the field & one of my favorite childhood pastimes

was launching golf balls with a baseball bat in the section where the former east runway had been;

it was a big patch of weeds in the 1970s.

So there was no possibility of hitting any windows.

Today a kid in Orange County would be very hard pressed to find a similar amount of open space that I enjoyed at Meadowlark.”



A beautiful picture (circa 1978-79) by Bob Cannon, of his PT-17 pulling up over Meadowlark Airport,

showing "the Meadowlark driveway, flight school and covered pool, restaurant,

and the ever-present Quonset Hut that got plugged so many times by wayward aircraft."

 

A circa 1978-79 picture by Bob Cannon of his PT-17 flying inverted off the coast near Meadowlark Airport.

Bob recalled, “I got in the good graces of a camera representative for Nikon who set up the remote cameras for me.

It was sort of special back then.

We also made a movie with air shots by mounting a camera on the fuselage in the small inspection hatch near the tail.

Those were great. He also took a very nice picture of my two Stearmans flying formation

over the windsock when my wedding was being held."

 

Unfortunately, a late 1970's accident involving another banner tow pilot near Capistrano Airport

precipitated negative feelings toward Meadowlark Airport.

Bob Cannon recalled, "That accident precipitated the beginning of all of my problems with the city of Huntington Beach.

The city council was staffed mainly by developers, and they wanted the airport for development."

 

Aerial view of the ramp at Meadowlark, date unknown.

 

USGS topo map 1981 (courtesy of Dann Shively).

 

In the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury),

the operators at Huntington Beach were listed as Williams Aviation Company, Art World,

Coastal Aviation, Sky Ad, and Aircraft Services.



A Flight Simulator scenery re-recreation by Richard Finley of a Waco UPF-7 performing aerobatics over Meadowlark.



Alan Horowitch recalled, “Meadowlark was a little gem of an airfield

that I flew to several times in the early 1980s when I first got my license.

Small, fun, friendly, and surrounded by conniving Southern California real estate developers.

So everyone knew back then that it was on borrowed time.”



Meadowlark had a large paved ramp area, which accommodated 300 based light aircraft by 1986.

The Meadowlark Café was a popular pilot eatery.

 

A late 1980s photo by Chris Bell of signs for Meadowlark Airport & its cafe.



A photo of two planes in front of the Meadowlark office,

from the 8/4/89 issue of the Los Angeles Times (courtesy of Bob Cannon).

 

The 1989 Pilot's Guide to CA Airports (courtesy of Scott Saylor)

depicted Meadowlark as having a single 2,330' paved Runway 1/19,

with a parallel taxiway & large paved ramp on the east side, and a small paved ramp on the west side.

Hangars were located along the south side of the field.

The operators were listed as Sunset Aviation, Art Wold, Cotter Aviation, and Sky-Ads.

 

When land in Huntington Beach became too valuable even for the owners of the airport (Art & Lily Niero),

it eventually succumbed to the pressures of development.

According to Linda Liem (who along with Chris Austin owned Sunset Aviation), Meadowlark closed in 1989.

Construction to redevelop the airport property started later the same year.

 

In the 1994 USGS aerial view, portions of the northern half of the former runway & its parallel taxiway still remained intact,

although the majority of the airport property had been cleared for redevelopment.

 

A sad 2000 aerial view looking southeast at the site of Meadowlark Airport, showing it undergoing redevelopment.

 

The March 2004 USGS aerial photo shows that not a trace remains of the former Meadowlark Airport.



Denny Sun pointed out in 2006, “The north/south street just to the west of the shopping center is named Airport Circle.

I don't think many people today know what Airport Cir is referring to.”



A June 2009 photo by Alan Ray of a plaque commemorating Dick Nerio, operator of Meadowlark Airport,

in the Norma Brandell Gibbs Butterfly Park, within the Summerlane community which occupies the site of the airport.



A 2009-2010 photo (courtesy of Rex Ricks of a mural inside a nearby Trader Joe's grocery store commemorating Meadowlark Airport.



Thanks to Scott Saylor for pointing out this airfield.

 

Details of Meadowlark Airport are lovingly recounted at www.l16.com,

http://www.cavenderproperties.com/Meadowlark.htm,

and http://cavenderproperties.com/newsprints.htm.

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Huntington Beach Airport, Huntington Beach, CA

33.65 North / 117.97 West (Southeast of Los Angeles, CA)

An August 23, 1947 aerial photo of the Huntington Beach Airport (courtesy of Robert Pope).



Huntington Beach Airport had the misfortune to be located on what eventually became very expensive real estate.

According to Robert Pope, “The runway was created 'naturally' by deposition of sediments during the flood of 1938.”



This short-lived general aviation airport was apparently opened at some point between 1945-47,

as it was not yet depicted on the August 1945 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The earliest depiction of Huntington Beach Airport which has been located

was an August 23, 1947 aerial photo (courtesy of Robert Pope).

It depicted the field as having a single northeast/southwest unpaved runway.

The airport was in use with well over a dozen aircraft present,

including an airplane seen halfway down the runway on takeoff, with cloud of sand/dust being blown in the plane's wake.



A closeup from the August 23, 1947 aerial photo of Huntington Beach Airport (courtesy of Robert Pope)

showing several aircraft parked around a few small buildings.

The concrete pad & foundations for a future hangar were already in place.



The 1947 USGS topo map labeled the field as “Huntington Beach”.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Huntington Beach Airport

was on the 1948 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

It described the field as having a 1,900' unpaved runway.



The 1949 USGS topo map (courtesy of Francis Blake)

depicted Huntington Beach Airport as having a single northeast/southwest runway.

 

Huntington Beach Airport was apparently closed at some point between 1948-55.

It was still depicted on the September 1955 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

and described as having a single 1,850' bare runway, but the remarks said "Closed".



A November 26, 1955 aerial view (courtesy of Robert Pope) showed that the hangar had been completed,

but the airport was no longer operating, and the land was being redeveloped for other use.



By the time of the September 1959 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

the former Huntington Beach Airport was no longer depicted at all.



An August 11, 1961 aerial view (courtesy of Robert Pope) showed the site of the former Huntington Beach Airport

after construction of a new stormwater channel & Edison electric power generation station on the former airport property.

The airport hangar was relocated approximately 500' to the north & rotated 90 degrees, to the north side of Edison Street.

The distinctive geometry of the buildings, identical size, and even identical locations of the skylights

all confirmed that this was the relocated former hangar.



A 1972 aerial photo showed that the site of the former airport had been covered with fuel tanks for the Edison powerplant.

The Huntington Beach Channel also had been cut through the center of the former airfield area.

The hangar was the only trace of the former airport which appeared to remain.



A circa 2006 aerial view looking south at the 60-year old hangar which was relocated to the north side of Edison Avenue,

across the street from the site of Huntington Beach Airport.



As seen in a 4/16/13 aerial photo, the site of Huntington Beach Airport was no longer recognizable as former airport.



The site of Huntington Beach Airport is located east of the intersection of Newland Street & Edison Avenue.

 

Thanks to Francis Blake for pointing out this airfield.

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Naval Outlying Landing Field 08303 / Horse Farm Naval Outlying Landing Field /

Horse Farm Airport, Stanton, CA

33.79 North / 118 West (East of Los Alamitos AAF, CA)

A 7/21/43 aerial view looking north at “Los Alamitos Field Auxiliary (08303 Horse Ranch Outlying Field)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



The date of construction of this WW2-era Navy satellite airfield is unknown.

Horse Farm was originally one of 5 NOLFs which were closely located between Los Alamitos & El Toro:

the others were Haster Farm NOLF, Mile Square NOLF, Seal Beach NOLF, and Palisades NOLF.

Mile Square was built in 1942, so Horse Farm was probably built around the same time.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Horse Farm Airfield

was a 7/21/43 aerial view looking north at “Los Alamitos Field Auxiliary (08303 Horse Ranch Outlying Field)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted the field as a paved hexagonal landing mat.



A circa 1943 chart of NAS Los Alamitos & several of its outlying fields (courtesy of John Voss),

including NOLF Horse Farm (08303).

Note that the chart also depicted NOLF 13207 (Mile Square), NOLF Haster Farm (11005),

NOLF Seal Beach (21104), as well as two “proposed” fields which were never built.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Los Alamitos Field Auxiliary (08303 Horse Ranch Outlying Field)”

as a 288 acre irregularly-shaped field within which was a 1,500' diameter bituminous hexagonal landing mat

in the center of a 3,966' x 2,911' all-way landing area.

The field was said to not have any hangars.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Horse Farm Airfield

was on the August 1945 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



An 8/14/45 U.S. Government aerial photo (National Archives photo, courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel)

depicted Horse Farm OLF as consisting of a hexagonal landing area, measuring 1,400' across.



The Navy apparently abandoned the Horse Farm airfield immediately after the end of WW2,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the February 1946 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



However, the Horse Farm airfield was apparently reactivated

in some capacity by the Navy at some point within the next 2 years,

as "Horse Farm (Navy) was depicted once again on the September 1948 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It was depicted as having a 1,700' hard surface runway.



As depicted on the 1950 USGS topo map (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell),

the airfield at Horse Farm consisted of a hexagonal landing area, measuring 1,400' across. 

It was still apparently owned by the military in 1950,

but it is not known if it was still an active airfield.



"Horse Farm (Navy)" was depicted on the March 1951 San Diego USAF Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy),

but the Aerodromes table described the field as "Closed".



A 1953 aerial view depicted the hexagonal landing area, but without any sign of current usage.



At some point between 1951-55,

Horse Farm was apparently reused as a private airfield,

as that is how it was described in the "Aerodromes" table

on an early-1955 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of John Voss).

The airfield was described as consisting of a single 1,700' runway,

along with the remarks "Very poor runway."



The Horse Farm airfield evidently closed (for reasons unknown) at some point during 1955,

as it was no longer depicted on the September 1955 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or subsequent aeronautical charts.



In 1956, the property at Horse Farm was reused

as the location for the Nike Ajax surface-to-air missile battery LA-32, Garden Grove,

and the airfield was presumably closed.

The Nike Integrated Fire Control Site was built at the northwest corner of the site (southeast of Patterson & Knott),

and the Launch Site was built at the southeast corner of the site (northwest of Chapman & Western).

Battery LA-32 was upgraded to the more powerful Nike Hercules missile in 1963.



The Horse Farm property in 1964, from the Anaheim Library (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).

The Nike Fire Control Site is visible at the northwest corner,

and the Nike Launch Site is at the southeast corner.

The light colored triangular patch running between the two Nike sites was not a former runway,

but presumably was a swath which was cleared to provide a clear field of view for the Nike radars - ?

There was no trace remaining of the former hexagonal landing pad.



A 1972 aerial view showed that the site of the Horse Farm airfield was still open farmland,

with the Nike installations at the northwest & southeast ends.



The Horse Farm Nike missile battery was deactivated in 1974.



The 485th MASH of the CA Army National Guard later reused part of the Horse Farm property,

at 11751 Western Avenue.



According to Marc Henegar, “This was also where one of the SoCal TRACON terminal radar antennas was located.

It was not on LGB or SNA as one might assume, it was in the middle of an industrial area -

and the old location of the Horse Farm Naval OLF probably explains why it was located there.”



The site of the Horse Farm airfield eventually was consumed by urban sprawl.



The outline of the Horse Farm airfield, as annotated by Chris Kennedy over a 2006 aerial photo of the site.

Not a trace remains of the former airfield.

However, note the same trapezoidal shape around the buildings at the northwest corner,

which is identical to the way it appeared in the 1964 photo.



The site of the Horse Farm airfield is bounded by Chapman Avenue on the south, Patterson Drive on the north,

Knott Avenue on the west, and Western Avenue on the east.

____________________________________________________

 

Naval Outlying Landing Field 11005 / Haster Farm Naval Outlying Landing Field /

Haster Farm Airport,

Westminster, CA

33.76 North / 117.97 West (Southeast of Los Alamitos AAF, CA)

A July 21, 1943 U.S. Government aerial photo looking north at Haster Farm OLF (National Archives photo, courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).



The date of construction of this WW2-era Navy satellite airfield is unknown.

Haster Farm was originally one of 5 NOLFs which were closely located between Los Alamitos & El Toro:

the others were Horse Farm NOLF, Mile Square NOLF, Seal Beach NOLF, and Palisades NOLF.

Mile Square was built in 1942, so Haster Farm was probably built around the same time.



The earliest depiction of the Haster Farm airfield which has been located

was on a July 21, 1943 U.S. Government aerial photo (National Archives photo, courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

It depicted the field as consisting of a hexagonal landing area.



A circa 1943 chart of NAS Los Alamitos & several of its outlying fields (courtesy of John Voss),

including NOLF Haster Farm (11005).

Note that the chart also depicted NOLF 13207 (Mile Square), NOLF Horse Farm (08303),

NOLF Seal Beach (21104), as well as two “proposed” fields which were never built.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Los Alamitos Field Auxiliary (11005 Haster Farm Outlying Field)”

as a 241 acre rectangular property within which was a 1,500' diameter asphalt hexagonal landing mat

in the center of a 3,983' x 2,645' all-way landing area.

The field was said to not have any hangars.



The August 1945 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted "(Navy) Haster Farm" as an auxiliary airfield.



Judy Whilson recalled, “In about 1945 my father bought a 10-acre farm at 9141 Trask Avenue, facing Haster Field.

Mr. Haster lived across the street & a little to the south.

My brother & I spent lots of hours on our bicycles on the abandoned airfield among the weeds.

At about that time my parents divorced & mom took off in her Luscombe to do cropdusting in Tulare with her boyfriend.

She would call before she came to visit & we would clear tumble weeds so she could land.

She landed on Haster Field. It was paved, but the weeds were coming up through the cracks.

Where she landed is approximately where the freeway is now.

Later she & Art bought a ranch in Mexico. When she came up to the states, her cockpit was full of tiny cages with parrots in them.

Once the cages had broken & the parrots escaped as soon as she opened the door.

My brother & I chased them all over Hasters Field.”



The Navy had abandoned the Haster Farm airfield by 1946,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the February 1946 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



The 1947 USGS topo map labeled the field as “Haster Farm”.



The Haster Farm airfield was apparently reactivated

in some capacity by the Navy at some point between 1946-48,

as "Haster Farm (Navy) was depicted once again on the September 1948 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

 

"Haster Field Naval Reservation" was still depicted on the 1950 USGS topo map (courtesy of John Voss),

so apparently the property was still owned by the military at that point,

but it may not have still been an active airfield.

The map depicted the airfield as a hexagonal landing mat.



A 1953 aerial view depicted the hexagonal landing area,

but without any sign of current usage.



Haster Farm was apparently reused as a civil airfield,

as that is how it was depicted on the September 1955 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The Aerodromes table described the airfield as consisting of a 1,400' "All way" asphalt landing area,

along with the remarks "Very poor. Heavy overgrowth of weeds."

 

Bob Cannon recalled, "I have a 1956 LA Local [Aeronautical Chart].

Haster Farm is listed as 'Very poor. Heavy overgrowth of weeds'.

I show in my log book that on 6/30/56 I landed at Haster Farm with the notation, 'into weeds'."



Rick Truofreh recalled, “I flew with my father for the first time in my life at the age of 4 (1958) from the Haster Field,

North of Westminster (17th) Avenue & East of Canery Road (Magnolia Avenue).

There were about 6 various airplanes stored there back then.

We flew in a Piper Cub, with the pilot in the front, my Dad in the second seat tandem, and I was packed into the leather luggage sling behind my Dad.

What a thrill that was! No seatbelt!”

The Haster airfield was evidently closed at some point between 1958-59,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the September 1959 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or subsequent aeronautical charts.

 

As depicted on a 1959 street map (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell),

the Haster Farm airfield was bounded by Trask Avenue on the north, Westminster Avenue on the south,

Brookhurst Avenue on the east, and Cannery Street on the west.



Rick Truofreh recalled, “In 1962, my parents bought a new tract home on the site

adjacent to the open field where they later built the 22 freeway, Atlantis & Garden Grove Park.

In the summer of 1962, a brave pilot set his Piper Cub down on what remained of the old runway,

as my Sister & I watched on from the fence surrounding our housing tract. It brought back memories.”



According to John Voss, Haster Farm NOLF eventually became the location of Haster High School

(later renamed Bolsa Grande High School) and Garden Grove Park.

The 22 Freeway now bisects the northern portion of the site.



A 1972 aerial view showed the high school on the site,

with not a trace of the former airfield.



The outline of the Haster Farm airfield, as annotated by Chris Kennedy over a 2006 aerial photo of the site.

Not a trace remains of the former airfield.

____________________________________________________