Leon de Bouckere (1886 – 1944) made a name for himself at the start of the 20th century as a balloonist. In 1910 he opened a factory in Herstal. In this factory they produced airplane propellers and this is where he designed his first airplane. At the airfield of Kiewit (Hesselt) he opened a pilot school.
When Leon de Brouckere received the license of the French Deperdussin airplanes, he moved his airplane activities and his pilot school to the airfield of Genk.
Due to a Dutch Indies officer, who received his flight instructions at his pilot school, Brouckere received an order of three airplanes for the army of the Dutch Indies.
During the first world war, Leon de Brouckere volunteered and ended up with the observation balloons of the Belgium army. After the war he opened his own engineering company. In this period he registered numerous patents.