Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Orland Auxiliary Field No. 1

SITE NAME: Haigh Airport. The site was formerly known as Orland Auxiliary Field No. 1.

LOCATION: The site is located in Glenn County, California, approximately three miles southeast of the city of Orland and 13 miles west of the city of Chico.

SITE HISTORY: Orland Auxiliary Field No. 1 was established in 1942 and was used as an auxiliary field to Chico Army Air Field (AAF) for flight training. The field was established on 29 May 1942, when the U.S. Government acquired 558.20 fee acres from the West Coast Life Insurance Co. On 30 November 1946, 558.20 fee acres were turned over to the War Assets Administration.

DETAILED HISTORY: Prior to Army use, the Site was known as the Crocker tract and was agricultural land.

Orland Auxiliary Field was established on 29 May 1942, when the U.S. Government acquired 558.20 acres from the Glenn County and others. The tract of land was leveled and a 3,000 square foot asphalt mat was constructed at an approximate cost of $100,000.

Orland Auxiliary Field was one of five auxiliary fields to Chico AAF. The auxiliary fields supported Chico AAF, and were used to train fighter and bomber pilots. The Site operated under the West Coast Army Air Force Training Command. In 1943, the War Department authorized the repair and strengthening of the Orland Auxiliary Field. The work consisted of resealing of the asphalt mat, relocating fences, and improvement of existing drainage system.

In October 1944, the Site was listed by the U.S. Army as surplus property and eligible for purchase by the county or local agency. The field was deactivated on 30 November 1946 and 558.20 acres were transferred to the WAA. Three structures were present when the Site was transferred to the WAA; an instructor's building, a crash crew shelter building, and a latrine. The instructors and crash crew shelter buildings were portable and were constructed on skids. No other information was obtained regarding the use or removal of the structures. Other infrastructures transferred to the WAA were roads, a five-foot high fence and the asphalt mat.

In May 1947, 480 acres were transferred from the U.S. Government to Glenn County with the following stipulations:

In June 1947, dedication of the Orland-Haigh Airport and formal acquisition of the Site from the U.S. government took place. The Orland-Haigh Airport was named in honor of Melburn G. Haigh, a Glenn County supervisor. In September 1947, acting through the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation, the U.S. Government sold 78.2 acres (the remaining acreage of the Site), located in the southern portion of the Site, to private ownership for agricultural purposes. In 1958, Glenn County sold 60 acres, located in northwest portion of the Site, to the City of Orland to be used as a sewage treatment plant. In 1968, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a parcel in the Orland-Haigh Airport and permitted the sale of 17 acres. Subsequently, Glenn County sold the 17 acres, with FAA provisions, to private ownership.

In 1985, Glenn County sold an additional 51.5 acres to the City of Orland to be used as overflow ponds for the sewage treatment facility.

Presently, the Orland-Haigh Airport consists of an asphalt landing strip and taxiways; an industrial park; five hanger buildings; one aircraft rental, fueling, flying instruction facility; and one aircraft and maintenance facility. The southwestern portion of the Orland-Haigh Airport is leased by Cal-Dry Products as a tomato drying field. Property south of the landing strip and south of the drying site is privately owned agricultural land.

Source: US Army Corps of Engineers



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Updated 8 February 2016