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POTEZ 390-391


Technical Specifications
Two-seater of Reconnaissance (A2)
Date first flight
December 20, 1929
10,10 m 
Wing Area
35 m2 
Empty Weight
1607 Kg 
Max. Takeoff Weight
2650 Kg 
Cruising Speed
187 km/h. 
Maximum Speed
222.5 km/h at 3500 m 
Climbing Speed
3500m in 12mn 
Service ceilling
2 Personnes
1 Engine Hispano Suiza 12Hb of 500ch
1 machine-gun DARNE de 7.7mm on hood
1 machine-gun Lewis of 7.7mm in low rear defense
2 machine-gun LEWIS of 7.7mm in rear turret
120 Kgs of bombs



104 Potez 390 were built after the prototype that made its first flight on December 1929.

To date, out of the 104 appareils fabriqués , 66 are listed in the list below :



In 1928, Military Aeronautics issued a call for tender for the supply of an Observation Aircraft for the Army and the Artillery. The company Potez responds with the Potez 39. The prototype, powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Hb of 500 hp is entirely metal construction. It makes its first flight on December 20, 1929. Following the first tests, some modifications are made to correct a problem of stability: increase of the rear lever arm with the lengthening of the fuselage of 10cm and magnification of the drift. The prototype continues its tests until 1932, joined by 3 other Potez 39 pre-series. Different configurations of motorization will be carried out: Hispano-suiza 12Kb, 12Xbr, 12Ybrs, Renault.

Military Aeronautics finally chose Breguet 27, one of the competitors of Potez 39, but in May 1932 commanded 100 copies of Potez 39A2.

The prototype n � 02 was sent in early 1931 to Villacoublay to undergo a series of complete tests.

Peru was the only foreign country interested in the Potez390, in a lightweight Bombardier configuration: the Potez 391 serie. 12 units will be delivered to the country.

The Potez 39 is an all-metal with parasol wings. Covered entirely with duralumin, this is the first Potez series device using this technique. The motorization chosen is the Hispano-suiza 12H of 580ch. The armament consists of a pair of 2 Lewis machine guns of 7.5mm for the observer, and a Darne machine-gun synchronized on the hood, actuated by the pilot. It also has a bomb bay allowing it to carry a dozen bombs of 10kg. And finally, it is equipped with a fixed camera inside the fuselage, with aim through the floor. The Potez 39 has a particularity: Its reservoir, placed between both men of crews, can release during flight, to avoid everything, fire risk: the aircraft being then transformed into glider...

The first Potez 39 series will be delivered from the summer of 1933 to the recent "Air Force". The first units to collect it are GO II / 32 (Observation Group), GO I / 34, GR II / 54 (Reconnaissance Group). In 1937 they were replaced in units by Bloch 200, Amiot 143 or Potez 540 twin-engine aircraft. They were then transferred to the GAR (Regional Aircraft Group), which became GAOs (Aerial Observation Group) from January 1938.

In September 1939, the delivery of the new reconnaissance aircraft, Potez 637, 63-11, having fallen behind, it is with the Potez 39 now outdated that the GAO will enter the conflict. As of September 21, 1939, the first Potez 39 is shot down by the Fighters. It is a GAO 510 aircraft : the crew is killed.

The Potez 39 will however be withdrawn from service sooner or later depending on the delivery of the new devices expected (Pote 637, Potez 63-11, ...). They are donated to the EAA301 (Chateaudun Air Force Warehouse), and some of them will be assigned to the CIR (Reconnaissance Training Center). During the attack of May 10th, 1940, some Potez remained still in service. They will be used for links or some Reconnaissance missions. They will be abandoned on the land as the units move south.

At the Armistice, the Germans demanded a census of the French apparatus present on the different terrains: it will be counted 41 Potez 39. These apparatuses, too old, will all be reformed.



Potez 390
Potez 390 or Potez 39 A2: Observation aircraft delivered to the French Air Force. It is motorized by a Hispano-Suiza 12Hb of 500 ch
Potez 391

Potez 391: Export version to Peru. Transformed into light bomber, it is motorized by a Lorraine 12Hars of 700 ch


1 ) _ Editions ARTIPRESSE ; Revue "AIRMAGAZINE" No 56
- "Les Potez 39 et 390"



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