Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wladyslaw 'Spud' Potocki 1919-1996

Polish born Wladyslaw "Spud" Potocki took over Arrow test flights following Jan Zurakowski's retirement from active test flying in Sept 1958. Potocki served with the Polish Air Force and then escaped after collapse of Poland during the Second War. He then joined the Royal Air Force (Polish Squadrons) in England. After the war, he graduated from the British Empire Test Pilot School. Following emigration to Canada in the early 1950s, Potocki was engaged as a test pilot with "Avro Aircraft Canada Ltd". He accumulated the highest number of hours of the four pilots who flew the first five Arrow aircraft. It was recorded that he reached a speed of Mach 1.9 in one of the Arrows, but it was rumoured that he actually reached Mach 2.0. Following the cancellation of the Arrow program in 1959, Potocki is the only pilot that "flew" the experimental Avrocar. After the closing of Avro Canada he joined North American Rockwell as a test pilot. Then a career-ending accident unrelated to flying, in which he lost an eye, Potocki and his wife purchased and operated a motel complex and business in Columbia, Ohio, where he died in 1996.