A Potez 63-11 will soon fly in Texas

As incredible as it may appear, it is in Texas, in Harlingen precisely, that a Potez 63-11 will soon take to the air thanks to a man, a Frenchman established there for several dozen years, Jean-Marie Garric, already known for his modifications of Yak-11 into Yak-3.

Jean-Marie Garric is an exceptional man, an outstanding mechanic able to maintain and restore warbirds, but also to manufacture them. These faculties call for unimaginable technical knowledge, a know-how that very few people possess, and an extraordinary
determination to achieve the goals that he gives himself, abilities that only the greatest can have. However, when one discusses with him,his great humility minimizes his achievements so much so that one has the impression that everything is easy, and that he can produce Yak and Potez airplanes like a magician can get rabbits and doves out of a
top hat !

Don’t be fooled ! The construction of this Potez 63-11 is the result of numerous years of reflection, long and thorough research, and very hard work. It is a love story, a passion for this airplane which began when Jean-Marie Garric was 15 years old. It is then that this kid’s dream took shape and developed gradually until the moment when he made the
decision to manufacture this Potez 63-11, exactly like the original.

The first step – and it wasn’t the easiest – was to find the original blueprints of the aircraft. Jean-Marie Garric naturally contacted the Musée de l’Air in Le Bourget which, by chance, had half of them. He ordered a copy and started to look for the other half by contacting
Louis Coroller’s (the chief engineer at Potez) nephew, Jean-Louis Coroller, co-author of the excellent book “Les Avions Potez”, who unfortunately died on January 25, 2012, at the age of 81.

Jean-Marie Garric discovered that Jean-Louis Coroller was the holder of the missing half of the blue prints he was looking for. Enthused by this project, Jean-Louis Coroller copied
these blue prints and sent them to Jean-Marie Garric who could thus study them and was able to truly start this construction in 2005.

Contrary to what one may think, the plane has been constructed perfectly faithfully to the Potez 63-11 blueprints and follows them perfectly. The only elements which are not like the original are the Pratt & Whitney R985 engines borrowed from a Beechcraft D-18 purchased for that very purpose, and some accessories for the electrical and hydraulic systems. For the rest of the plane, it is perfectly in line with the Potez production line,
which allowed Jean-Marie Garric to temporarily give it the serial number 844.

The reader might have noticed that these engines are less powerful than the original Gnôme & Rhône engines by about 150 HP, but the lighter construction of Jean-Marie Garric’s Potez 63-11 without the armour plates and other accessories that are
not required will allow the plane’s performance to be at least as good as the original.

At the time of the publication of this post, the first engine runs and taxi tests have been accomplished, and Jean-Marie Garric is only waiting for the FAA’s visit in order to get the Certificate of Airworthiness and do the first flight.

The fact that the engines drive twin bade propellers is not too surprising, especially if one considers that, as said above, the first airplanes delivered were fitted with temporary wooden fixed pitch twin blade propellers in replacement of the metallic Ratier three blade, variable pitch, propellers.

The choice of aircraft number 641 of GAO 515, which outlived the Battle of France, has no particular significance, except that it has a nose art on each side of the forward fuselage
of the dwarf “Grumpy” to make it somehow special. The plane’s crew (Above) was Lt Laneyrie, Sergeant Vaillat, and S/Lt Lahaye.

And, as Jean-Marie Garric told us with a great sense of humor, “The choice of the dwarf “Grumpy” is, it appears, representative of my own character…”

An article introducing Jean-Marie Garric would not be complete without mentioning the Yak, of which he produced several airplanes, like the one he owns, painted as the plane flown by Marcel Albert which can be seen on the beautiful picture (above) of the couple Potez/Yak. On the lower photo, the hero of the Normandie-Niemen Marcel Albert, an ace with 23 victories, can be seen in company of Jean-Marie Garric (right), and
Laurent Lecomte (left). What Jean-Marie Garric did for Marcel Albert at the end of his life is exceptional. A story we may tell you one day…

We wish to thank Jean-Marie Garric for the very warm welcome he gave us and for the photos he sent us. We also warmly thank Laurent Lecomte who allowed us to publish his pictures.

Article by Bernard Delfino, excerpted from the February 2012 issue of the Commemorative Air Force French Wing‘s newsletter.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2012/03/02/a-potez-63-11-will-soon-fly-in-texas/


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  1. Bravo! A veritable tour de force!

    • Teresa on May 31, 2012 at 1:16 AM
    • Reply

    My! What a man and what a plane!!! I’ve seen the plane myself at the Weslaco airport. It and it’s canvas cover has since been painted camoflauge green. You can see it from the fence/gate at the opposite side of the airport lobby entrance, on the street that has a firehouse on the corner. See the humongous plane yourself!

    • tardieu michel on June 28, 2012 at 7:19 PM
    • Reply

    je compte aller aux courses de Reno en 2012 j’ai souvent rencontré Jean Marie et Nicolle à Reno qui pourrait me donner son adresse email ou son tel merci

    • tardieu michel on June 28, 2012 at 7:23 PM
    • Reply

    j’ai souvent rencontré Jean Marie et nicole à Reno qui pourrait me donner non email ou son telephone merci

    • jean marie garric on July 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM
    • Reply

    michel, m,on adresse E-mail est : email hidden; JavaScript is required

  2. Bonjour Mr GARRIC,

    j’ai suivit de très loin les maigres infos qui ont filtrés sur votre projet.
    C’est du très lourd et je tiens à vous faire part de toute mon admiration. Les Yak étaient déjà merveilleux mais là c’est tout juste extraordinaire.
    Avez vous tenu un bilan du nombre d’heure pour en arrivé là?
    Quel dommage que vous ayez choisit de vivre si loin de nous pauvres petit français….. j’ai créé une webTV en France qui viens d’ouvrir, objectif aviation loisirs et ancienne, j’ai tourné un reportage à la Ferté en mai autour du MS406 et H75, et je vous avoue que j’ai pensé à vous.
    Quel diorama avec votre potez !….

    Voici un lien ou vous pourrez découvrir le reportage sur La Ferté :
    mot de passe TMTVPR3
    ou bien un hors séries (35 minutes) sur http://www.tmtv.fr

    Bravo pour tous vos efforts, et bons vols avec le potez,
    Marc TAURAN

    • George Armstrong on July 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM
    • Reply


    • BRUNETON Michel on December 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM
    • Reply

    c’est époustouflant !!!!!!!! quel homme extraordinaire vous êtes ….. et effectivement dommage que cela ne se passe pas en France … qui sait … faisons des voeux (;o))))). Merci pour ce reportage qui nous fait partager votre passion

    • manfred meissner on September 2, 2013 at 6:47 PM
    • Reply

    sept.02 2013 have seen mr.garric’s yak 3 at his hanger in weslako tx some year’s ago-but also his one of a kind bugatti royale cabriolet [would be no:7]totally build by himself and driving around harlingen sometime-[mr garric a craftsman like no other!]

    • manfred meissner on September 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM
    • Reply

    looking forward to see the potez63 he build

    • stu on September 29, 2013 at 12:19 AM
    • Reply

    What passionate bravery to be flying these in the air with hostile Me 109’s

    • mgbrv8@yahoo.com on November 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM
    • Reply

    Its in weslaco texas not Harlingen. At weslaco airport to be precise. It has had its wheels off the ground at this point also. Jean is a amazingly talented man that deserves all the respect we can muster I have had the honor of machining many small precision parts for him for all of his projects from time to time

    Dave Hetrick

    • Dan Leidal on December 28, 2019 at 11:12 PM
    • Reply

    Knowing the area, that is in Weslaco, not Harlingen… Weslaco is about 30 minutes west of Harlingen… My dad had one of those older hangars, which housed Spitfire 80 (TZ138) in the late 1960’s, so I know about where on the Weslaco airport this is… Its an awesome project, I wish him well on completion abd flying it…

    • manfred on February 9, 2021 at 9:22 PM
    • Reply

    in the end of 1944 when Germany was at retreat ,German pilot’s where not to engage the yak 3,s because of the superior performance of the yak 3 ,

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