The earliest airfield in McBride was located on Adolph Jeck’s farm but was several miles from town. By 1962, work had begun to replace the old airfield with a new airport less than a mile from town. In addition to being more conveniently located, the new airfield had an 830 meter air strip to accommodate small aircraft.
The new field was named after locally born and raised Colonel Charles “Snarley” Leake of the Canadian Air Force. Until his retirement, Leake served with distinction and had several accomplishments: he took part in the first air to air refueling in Canadian airspace, he was the Commander in Charge of Air Security for the 1976 Montreal Olympics and trained the Argentinian Airforce on the F5. Leake retired after commanding the 408 Helicopter Squadron. Charlie Leake is one of the few pilots who was just as proficient in a plane as he was in a helicopter, which require very different skill sets.
Top: Dr Geoff Cowburn and Charlie Leake preparing for flight, 2010. Photo by Erik Hoogstraten
Bottom: Dr Geoff Cowburn and Charlie Leake in front of Cwburn’s 1938 De Havilland “Tiger Moth” biplane. Photo by Erik Hoogstraten