The man behind the real ‘Propwash Junction’

August 15, 2013 by Sarah Brown

Billed as coming “from above the world of Cars,” Disney’s Planes gives an imaginative glimpse into the world of general aviation. And while the animated film, which hit theaters Aug. 9, takes a few liberties with the story of a cropduster turned international air racer (it is, after all, an animated children’s film), it’s grounded in the real world of small airplanes.

I wrote an article for the August issue of AOPA Pilot about the research that went into the film and the airport, Leaders Clear Lake in Minnesota, that inspired Dusty’s hometown of Propwash Junction. Bob Leaders, the owner of the airport, hadn’t known that the airport he carved out of a farm would help shape filmmakers’ portrayal of small airport communities. Recently, Craig M. Lieberg wrote to me after reading the article to tell me more about the man behind the real-world Propwash Junction.

“We had just walked home down one of the two driveways of the airport, which has been our home for the last 35 years,” he wrote. “We looked at the picture of the old gas truck, which was the inspiration for ‘Chug’, we are very familiar with that sight.”

Lieberg shared the impact that Leaders has had on pilots in the local community:

The human interest side of your article, is a story of a man who selflessly has dedicated his life to his love of aviation, and helping his fellow man find pleasure in their love of flying. In my opinion, Bob Leader has done more for GA than anyone else I know of in this area. He has spent his life helping the common man find a way to pursue their passion of flight. Bob is now over 80 years of age and is on the job 7 days a week, living just west of the runway, on the property, with his wife. Having bought the original farm property around 1968, he carved out this little airport, which is privately owned, but publicly used, averaging about 60 aircraft on the ground year around. Currently operating the business with the help of two of his sons, and a hired A&P, they maintain aircraft from J-3 Cubs to [Beechcraft] Queenairs, float planes, ski planes, spray planes, all matter of anything that flies. At one time years ago, a DC-3 and a C-47 sat under the windsock. Many a poor man has come, swept floors, stripped paint, plowed runway and taxi-ways, repaired equipment, and got his pilot’s license. Only to go on and help the next guy do the same. I wouldn’t be flying today if it weren’t for Bob Leader.

Planes may help get the next generation excited about aviation; translating that excitement to a new generation of pilots will likely involve the pay-it-forward attitude of pilots like Bob Leaders. Disney’s Planes tells the story of a small-town airplane with a dream. How fitting that an inspiration for it offered many future pilots a chance to follow their own dream.

58 Responses to “The man behind the real ‘Propwash Junction’”

  1. jason jensen Says:

    Bob Leaders taught my uncle to fly in the 60’s. For payment, my uncle gave Bob a snowmobile. I stopped in a couple years ago to see Bob and he still had the snowmobile in his buildings! Bob is known all around Minnesota for aviation. I fly in to see him when I can.

  2. Doug Beck Says:

    While going to college at a nearby university, my roommate and I would always sneak down to Leaders to rent his airplanes (sometimes in the middle of the night), which were much more affordable than the program’s airplanes. Everything was on the honor system … just leave a check on the back workbench when you leave for what you flew … nobody even wrote down the Hobbs meter or fuel pumped (the old truck is now a character in the movie) !

    So many of the truly memorable early aviation adventures I lived were in Bob’s airplanes and at his airport. One time we rented a C172 for a week, flew it all over the midwest (including OSH) and when we brought it back and handed him a check he had no idea (nor concern) where the airplane had been for a week!

    That was just the type of guy Bob was. Who knows how many pilots are flying around today who otherwise would not have had the opportunity without Bob’s love of aviation and his generous willingness to share it.

    Now I fly for the airlines and have my own airplane …. it’s still wonderful to drop into Leaders and see very little has changed. Of course, we have all expected to see it plowed up into another corn field by now because magical places like this never seem to last in our modern age – but I am glad to say it’s just as we left it 20 years ago… with his son now carrying on the tradition of offering aviation to the everyman.

    Every pilot should learn to first fly in a place like this. I highly recommend you stop by on your next flight through central MN.

  3. Brad Kramer Says:

    My Leaders experience was awful. About 14 years ago I stopped there in a Hatz, along with a friend in a T-Craft, homeward bound from OSH. We fueled up and both taxied about 300′ before our engines quit… thanks to getting tankful’s of dirty watery fuel from Leader’s old truck. Really, we should have known better, just based on the look of that truck.

    Mr. Leader’s solution was to point to his toolbox so we could then proceed on our own to disassemble and drain our fuel systems, resulting in an extended stay and having to get a hotel room. At our expense, of course. About the only good part is that our engines quit before we took off or else Leader’s airport might have made the news in a much less positive way.

    Safe to say I never flew back there again. I’m glad others apparently had a much better experience than we did. Not everybody was so lucky.

  4. Greg beyer Says:

    I guess Brad Kramer doesn’t sump his tanks after getting fuel out of old rusty fuel trucks.
    Maybe not to smart.

  5. Nine Residenes @ Yishun Says:

    It’s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this
    useful information with us. Please keep us up to
    date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Says:

    What’s up, its good piece of writing regarding
    media print, we all know media is a wonderful source
    of data.

  7. Katharina Says:

    com, a form of gold, in the massively popular Wow game, is
    worth 18 mere cents. I bet you a lot of them will jump into things they’ve always
    wanted to do but never dared. I do not believe social networking can be used as
    an independent medium for employee training or learning and development programs.

  8. hoe geld verdienen Says:

    For most up-to-date information you have to visit the web and on internet I found this
    site as a best web page for latest updates.

  9. Best Retirement Plans Says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written
    article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  10. losing fat in thighs Says:

    It stretches the inner thighs (they need to be flexible when you’re pushing baby out), feels good to
    your back and even helps your baby’s head get into proper alignment in preparation for the birth.
    You then squat downwards, keeping your back straight, until
    your thighs are parallel to the floor. Doing core ab muscles exercises will strengthen
    the muscles in the midsection.

  11. car Says:

    Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to
    check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really
    like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when
    I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone
    .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, very good site!

  12. 廣告 Says:

    I love to disseminate knowledge that I have accrued through the year to assist
    improve team performance.

  13. work from home jobs Says:

    These jobs were created by companies that wanted to cut down on advertising expenses and by doing it this way everyone wins.
    Another good suggestion is to make sure the
    company has been in business for awhile.
    These program usually charge a small fee for their services and in return
    can save you a lot of out of pocket costs on many
    unsuccessful trial and errors on ones part that doesn’t know what they are

  14. My perfil Says:

    If you are going for best contents like I do, just visit this web page every
    day as it offers feature contents, thanks

  15. Sheena Says:

    I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog
    posts on this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site.

    Studying this info So i’m happy to express that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I found out just what
    I needed. I most no doubt will make certain to do not put out of your mind this web site and provides it a look on a relentless

  16. kids umbrellas Says:

    Aѕ the ozone layer becomes evеn thinner, aall available means to protect
    you against skin damage shоuld be considered. ӏ stopped outѕide
    a place called Dry Valley Restaurant, dropping my baсklack doωn at a vending mаchine near the door.

    As it is vinyl, it wіll not dry easily and wipl get stіcky if cloded wet.

  17. Online Fabric Store Coupon Says:

    I take pleasure in, cause I discovered exactly what I was taking a
    look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God
    Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  18. Benito Says:

    I truly love your blog.. Great colors & theme.
    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m
    looking to create my own personal blog and would
    love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called.

  19. crccasia review Says:

    Excellent items from you, man. I have have in mind your
    stuff previous to and you are simply extremely great.
    I really like what you’ve obtained right here, certainly like what you are saying and
    the way in which through which you are saying it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to keep it wise.
    I cant wait to learn far more from you. That is actually a great site.

  20. omega juicer model 8005 Says:

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an
    email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.

    Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  21. laser checks canada Says:

    Right now it looks like Drupal is the best blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are
    using on your blog?

  22. bitcoin mining software cpu Says:

    Hey there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my iphone
    4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

  23. Launa Says:

    Very quickly this web site will be famous among all blog visitors, due to it’s good content

  24. online boutiques australia dresses Says:

    I just like the valuable info you supply in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I’m somewhat sure I will be informed plenty of new stuff
    right here! Good luck for the following!

  25. Matkat ja hotellit Says:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or
    if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Manual Says:

    If you would like to get a good deal from this article then you have to apply such techniques to your won blog.

  27. hypnosis for dummies Says:

    First of all I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and
    clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting
    my ideas out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!

  28. Dianabol Says:

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will
    share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  29. Micheline Says:

    While some may join an online course to save them from embarrassment when suddenly asked
    to sing for an audience, there are some who are already skilled singers and need help to polish
    those skills. There are many people in the world who are born
    with a wonderful voice but there are also a large number
    of those people who don’t have a great voice by birth. If you get nothing else out of this article, make sure your jingle reel is a knock

  30. lainaa ilman vakuuksia Says:

    Good day very nice web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..

    I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?
    I am happy to seek out so many helpful info here in the put up, we need develop more strategies
    on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . .

  31. pikalainat - mistä pikavippiä Says:

    Thank you for every other informative blog. The place else could I am getting
    that kind of information written in such a perfect means?
    I have a challenge that I’m simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  32. Says:

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I
    think that you should write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t speak about these issues.

    To the next! All the best!!

  33. tchatche webcam Says:

    For Terry, experiencing it for herself is necessary, and that
    did happen: “My best friend died and she came to me, she was standing there.
    I was not sure how I was going to accomplish this, but I knew I wanted an alternative route from the bar
    and party scene. Net internet conferencing and web cam chat choices
    have created an online audio-visual instrument that is far superior to primitive video conference

  34. airsoft Says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  35. Brendan Says:

    Thhis paragraph will assist the internet users for creating new webpage
    or even a weblog from start to end.

  36. how many bitcoins can i mine Says:

    The social network gives more or less guarantee Likes when the company an amount in hard cash about.
    Using an address once for a single transaction ensures privacy and anonymity.
    So an entire virtual economy rigged floatting on Linden dollars.

  37. Valerie Says:

    I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself?
    Please repy back as I’m hoping to create my very own
    website and would like to find out wjere you got this
    frrom or what the theme is called. Many thanks!

  38. data center cooling equipment Says:

    What makes an evaporative condensed chiller unique is that it
    relies on an integral evaporative condenser to remove the sensible and latent heat from the system.
    It is implemented in process and cooling water filtration.
    They are mainly used for manufacturing of different products as wwell as

  39. pulau pari murah Says:

    I read this article fully concerning the difference
    of latest and preceding technologies, it’s amazing article.

  40. make online money now Says:

    In order to earn cash from paid writing jobs, adopt any of
    the following options since they are quick, easy ways to make money through content writing.
    Their perspectives and point of views are of a priority in the blogosphere.
    Most people fail to make money online because once they see all they have to learn and
    do, they are simply not willing to put in the effort to work that hard to educate themselves.

  41. mycaa Says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog.
    You have some really good articles and I feel I would be a
    good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in
    exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested.
    Thank you!

  42. kereta sewa Says:

    Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended
    up losing a few months of hard work due to no data backup.

    Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  43. Alonzo Says:

    Greetings from California! I’m bored to death at work
    so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get
    home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb blog!

  44. free riot points league legends Says:

    Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you are even remotely
    interested, feel free to send me an email.

  45. castles Says:

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted
    I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  46. House cleaning mesa az Says:

    Someone necessarily lend a hand to make seriously articles I would state.
    This is the first time I frequented your web page and so far?

    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular put up incredible.
    Great process!

  47. Anna Says:

    Hi, yup this paragraph is actually good and I have learned lot of
    things from it regarding blogging. thanks.

  48. addressing subnetting Says:

    Hey there excellent website! Does running a blog like this require
    a great deal of work? I’ve no understanding of programming however I had
    been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any
    recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off topic but I simply had to ask.
    Thank you!

  49. Says:

    If you focus on exactly what attributes you want in your ring, you will find that buying
    diamonds online can be both exciting and easy. The cut of the diamond will tell you just how much light it will reflect.
    As truly said diamonds are girl’s best friend, diamond engagement rings are the perfect
    one for engagement rings.

  50. Houston Maid Services Says:

    Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the internet the easiest thing to be mindful of.

    I say to you, I definitely get irked whilst folks think about issues that they plainly don’t understand about.

    You managed to hit the nail upon the top as
    well as outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , other folks could take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  51. khloe kardashian Says:

    Wow, this post is nice, my sister is analyzing these things, so I am going to inform her.

  52. Says:

    paralyse paralyze parament paramour paranoea paranoia paranoic paranoid.

    ccullions cullises cullying culottes culpable culpably culprits cultches.
    plumply  plumule  plunder  plunged  plunger  plunges
     plunked  plunker.

  53. convertible cars for sale Says:

    The Australian automotive market is all sset tto strike the top gear with the launch of a huge range of dynamic looking new cars for sale in the
    month of November, 2010. Not to forget the ease with which you travel; you are completely free to stop whereer and whenever you want.
    Don’t let thiss hurry or rush yoou into a purchase.

  54. gt home Says:

    Hello Dear, are you truly visiting this site regularly, if so after that
    you will definitely obtain fastidious knowledge.

  55. hamilton beach wide mouth juicer Says:

    Some expert in raw food movement say that due to heat,
    a centrifuge juicer can destroy all enzymes or a part of them.
    All of the parts are easily removed and are made of an easy-to-clean material.
    Manual press juice extractors are quite difficult to operate.

  56. Pulau Harapan Murah Says:

    Thanks so much for your news

  57. Rochelle Says:

    omgomgomg this is so usefill

  58. Fill N Fly Says:

    i know riteeee

Leave a Reply