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Potez 39
Potez 39.jpg
Role Observation
Manufacturer Potez
First flight January 1930
Introduction 1934
Retired 1940
Primary users French Air Force
Peruvian Air Force
Number built 112 plus prototypes

The Potez 39 was a French two-seat single-engined parasol wing monoplane reconnaissance and observation aircraft of the 1930s.


The Potez 39 was designed to a 1928 requirement for an aircraft to replace the Potez 25 and Breguet 19 machines then in service with the French Air Force in the A2 (Artillerie Biplace - two seat observation aircraft) role. The aircraft was a parasol monoplane of all-metal construction, the first all metal Potez aircraft, with a tailwheel undercarriage. It was powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12H engine of 580 bhp (433 kW) as required by the specification. The crew of two sat in open, tandem cockpits, with the observer being armed with two Lewis guns on a ring mounting, and the pilot being armed with a single synchronised Darne machine gun, while light bombs could be carried in a small internal bomb-bay and on external racks. A fixed camera was fitted, operating through a hatch in the fuselage floor.[1][2]

The prototype flew in January 1930. Although the Breguet 27 was selected as the winner of the competition, both it and the Potez, which was runner-up, were chosen for production.[1] Compared to the Potez 25, of which over 2000 were ordered, production of the Potez 39 series was on a small scale, 100 Potez 390 aircraft being built for France and 12 Potez 391 variants, powered by a Lorraine-Dietrich 12H engine of 700 bhp, for the Peruvian Air Force. A number of prototype and development aircraft, including a floatplane, were tested but no further orders were received.


First production aircraft were delivered in 1934 and the Potez 39 began to be replaced by ANF Les Mureaux 117, Amiot 143 and Potez 540 aircraft began in 1936. At the outbreak of World War II, the Potez 39 remained in service with seven observation squadrons of the French Air Force, but these, along with the Breguet 27-equipped units, were withdrawn from the front in October 1939. The Potez 39 continued to serve in training units until the armistice of June 1940, at which time 41 remained in Metropolitan France. These aircraft were scrapped soon afterward.


Potez 391 photo from L'Aerophile November 1934
Potez 391 photo from L'Aerophile November 1934
Potez 37
Two seat reconnaissance aircraft developed in parallel with Potez 39, with narrow tail boom replacing conventional rear fuselage. Unsuccessful, with only three built, the ANF-Les Mureaux 110 being preferred.[2][1]
Potez 390 A2
Two-seat observation aircraft for French Air Force. Powered by a Hispano-Suiza 12Hb engine.
Potez 39 Hy
Experimental floatplane version.[1]
Potez 391
Variant of Potez 39 powered by 390 kW (520 hp) Lorraine-Dietrich 12H. 12 production versions built for Peru.[1]
Potez 3910 R2
Experimental aircraft with 640 kW (860 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs engine. One built.[1]
Potez 3912
Experimental aircraft with 400 kW (540 hp) Renault 12 Jc engine. One built.[1]
Potez 392
A single prototype initially built with a 380 kW (510 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Kb, later re-engined with a 510 kW (680 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Xbr
Potez 393
A single prototype powered by a 520 kW (700 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Ybr
Potez 49 photo from L'Aerophile December 1932
Potez 49 photo from L'Aerophile December 1932
Potez 49
Sesquiplane conversion of Potez 39. The lower wing was designed to be easily removable, so the aircraft could be configured either as a monoplane or a biplane, according to mission. One built.[1][3]


 Soviet Union


Potez 39 3-view drawing from NACA Aircraft Circular No.114
Potez 39 3-view drawing from NACA Aircraft Circular No.114

Data from L'Aviation française de 1939 à 1942, Tome 2[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 16 m (52 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 35.0 m2 (377 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,492 kg (3,289 lb)
  • Gross weight: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 12H V-12 water-cooled piston engine, 433 kW (581 hp)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 249 km/h (155 mph, 134 kn) at 3,500 m (11,483 ft)
  • Range: 800 km (500 mi, 430 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,000 m (23,000 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 3,500 m (11,483 ft) in 9 minutes


  • Guns:
    • 1 x 7.7 mm machine-gun firing forward, fixed
    • 2 x 7.7 mm machine-guns in observer's position, flexible
  • Bombs: up to 120 kg (264 lb)

See also

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Passingham, Malcolm (1996). "Overtaken by Events:The Potez 39 Family". Air Enthusiast. Stamford, UK: Key Publishing (No. 64, July/August 1996): p.p.42-47. ISSN 0143-5450.
  2. ^ a b c Breffort, Dominique; Jouineau, André (2005). L'aviation française de 1939 à 1942 : chasse, bombardement, reconnaissance et observation. Tome 2, De Dewoitine à Potez (in French). Paris: Histoire & collections. p. 62. ISBN 2-915239-48-7.
  3. ^ "Paris Aero Show". Flight. Vol. XXIV no. 48. 24 November 1932. p. 1111.

Further reading

  • Breffort, Dominique; Jouineau, André (2005). French aircraft 1939-1942 : From Dewoitine to Potez. Paris: Histoire & Collections. ISBN 2-915239-49-5.
This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 21:03
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