Clear Lake man's airfield inspires Disney animated movie 'Planes'

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When Minnesota audiences are watching the new Disney movie "Planes," little might they know that they are actually watching an animated version of place in the state that helped inspire the movie.

KARE 11 reports that Bob Leaders was working at his Leaders Clear Lake Airport in Clear Lake a couple years back, when a pair of men stopped by to ask if they could look at his collection of airplanes. They said they were doing research for a movie, and little did Leaders know, his airfield would go on to inspire the movie "Planes."

The 80-year-old Leaders -- who owns somewhere between 32 to 35 planes -- found out about his indirect involvement in the movie when a neighbor recently brought over a magazine article from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association that told the story of the connection of his airfield and the movie.

In fact, one of the characters in "Planes," the green tow truck Chug (pictured, above right), was inspired by an old tow truck that sits on Leaders' farm.

Released earlier this month, "Planes" tells the story of a crop-dusting planet that leaves behind the corn fields to become an air racer. The film also features the voices of Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Brad Garrett, who voices Chug.

Bob Leaders was shy about admitting to KARE that he saw the movie, but says his grandchildren liked it.

His son, Chase Leaders, however, is proud to talk about it.

"It was cool. I could see some similarities between the movies and here," Chase Leaders said.

Before the movie was released, the Leaders family told the St. Cloud Times that they were planning to celebrate their connection to the movie by packing the theater.

See KARE's interview with Bob and Chase Leaders below.

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