Potez 43

In one of the last hangars there was what appeared to be a Potez 43, owned by Guy Bougarel, also owning the MS.505. The Potez was found not long ago resting in a barn in Normandy.


I was introduced to a retired craftsman, a real aircraft carpenter, who was in the process of completely rebuilding all the wing parts and flaps of this Potez. As there seems to be a dispute between the owner and the French Air Regulatory on the issue of airworthiness, it remains uncertain if this Potez 43 will ever fly again. When it does, it will be the only one in the world. A non flying example, F-APXO, is part of the collection at the Museum at Le Bourget.

The man was at work in a small room in the back of the hangar, scattered with old aircraft parts. In another space in the hangar, a kind of attic, I was shown the original left wing (see picture). It was completely stripped bare. As there are no original drawings surviving, the only way to rebuild these wings and flaps is by meticuously measuring all that is left from the original. In the picture you see him posing with this original wing.

The Potez 43 was a prewar training aircraft, in use with the French Airforce, and also with many pre-war aeroclubs. One anecdote is on Mr. Mignet, the designer of the Pou du Ciel. Once on a flight in a Potez 43, he became so depressed by the difficulty in flying he decided to build something much easier. Hence the origin of the Pou du Ciel.

LFPZ: Saint Cyr-l’Ecole

Next visit was to the aèrodrome of St.Cyr-l’Ecole. A small airfield almost in the back yard of the palace at Versailles. There is a direct RER to St.Cyr, but as I missed that I took the next one, to Versailles, which has a far more frequent link. I couldn’t find a bus to St.Cyr, allthough there must be several. I knew it was approx. 5km from Versailles to St.Cyr, so I decided to walk. After all, it was a sunny, though cold day. A long but pleasant walk, just alongside the fence of Versailles. No spectacular scenery by the way.

Just arrived at the airfield had F-GINR, a Bell 47. I was very happy to be granted permission to enter the field and went for a long, cold stroll. See the full log.

After some minutes I came to a hangar from which two man were pulling the airplanes. So I offered my assistence which was gladly accepted. It seemed they had to reshuffle some airplanes to other hangars. After pulling and pushing F-BOPH outside one pilot offered me a seat to “fly” this plane to a hangar on the other side of the airfield. Unfortunately he was unable to get it started, so after some ten minutes we descended the Mousquetaire. I then went on to investigate the remaining hangars while the Mousquetaire was now tugged to the other side of the field.

F-BOPH, a Jodel 140E Mousquetaire IV

One of the last hangars at St.Cyr held quite a bit of treasures. First of all I noted a MS.505 Criquet, F-BAVB, better known as Fieseler Fi-156 Storch. Then there was a fuselage of a Gardan GY80 lying in the corner, F-WREI. It had been used by its owner Mr Hirch in turbulence absorbing experiments.

F-WREI, Gardan GY 80 Horizon 180

The owner of Pulsar F-PSDQ was working on his radio system, and pointed me towards the old fuselage in the back of the hangar, a Potez 43.

Although I saw many airplanes, during my stay I saw none flying. Of the airplanes I spotted, many were under maintenance. When I left the airfield, F-GIGL landed, and went into the air again. It was the same Robinson 22 that I had spotted on the heliport in Paris, earlier that day. Unfortunately still no chance for a proper picture.

During this visit I was able to log many interesting planes, with as an absolute highlight a Potez 43 under restauration.

LFPI: Héliport Paris – Issy

While for a business meeting in Paris I had a day off. What better to do then to visit some airports? There are many of them surrounding Paris, most under supervision of the ADP, Aèroports de Paris.

I travelled by underground to Balard, the end station for line 8. It’s only a few minutes walk then to the Héliport Paris, which lies next to the Péripherique, in the suburb Issy-les-Moulineaux. See the full report. F-GIGL was just coming in.

When asked for permission to take pictures on the field itself, the friendly officials told me I had to ask each individual owner. The only entrance open to me that day was at Heli Paris. There I got kindly permission to shoot some pictures.

The other entrances were not accessible. So unfortunaty I was unable to shoot proper pictures from SE-HSF, a Bell 222A which was departing just as I was heading for the RER station. Probably on delivery after a lease in France. I also couldn’t get a good picture of F-GMHZ, apparantly a brand new EC.120. Both helis are visible in the background of some pictures, see the report. From behind the fence I was able to take a picture of F-GECM, a white bodied AS.350.

While at the RER station of Issy, around 12.05 p.m., a heli arrived. Allthough it passed over low, I was unable to spot its registration. I even didn’t identify the type. What kind of a spotter am I anyhow…


  • ADP Aeroports de Paris