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.