Born on 6 June 1919 in Kraków. He passed the final certificate exams in the Bolesław Chrobry Secondary School in Piotrkow Trybunalski. In 1938 he passed the entrance exams to the Air Force Cadet Officers’ School in Deblin, and started his studies in January 1939. Before that, in autumn 1938, he had completed the Divisional Course for Reserve Cadet Officers. Having completed gliding training, he continued training in: RWD-8 in Zajezierze, and PWS-26 in Borowina. He discontinued the studies due to the outbreak of WW II. He got to Romania, and later – to France. In February 1940 he left for Great Britain, where he joined the RAF. In spring 1941 he started flying training, which he continued at 58 OTU in Grangemouth. Having completed it (in the rank of sergeant), he was assigned to No. 306 (Polish) Fighter Squadron City of Torun. During his service in No. 306 Squadron he was promoted to officer rank, he also had many successes in air combats. On 24 October 1943 he damaged a Fw 190 aircraft. On 7 and 23 June 1944 he shot down two Bf 109 aircraft. He also participated in shooting down: a bomber He 111 (1/4 of a kill) – on 18 May 1944, and a fighter Bf 109 – on 17 June 1944. In June 1944 he became a flight commander. On 7 April 1945 he was appointed as the commander of No. 315 (Polish) Fighter Squadron City of Dęblin. He remained at that post till February 1946 (he was the first among cadet officers from 14th promotion who was appointed as a squadron commander). After WW II, and disbandmant of the squadron, he was working in the Polish Training and Deployment Corps HQ. In 1948 he joined RAF. He graduated from the British Empire Test Pilots School, on the second place. He was flying and presenting the most modern British aircraft during the annual World Aviation Exhibitions in Farnborough and Paris. In 1958 he became the chief test pilot in Avro Canada, testing Avro Arrow aircraft. His first flight with the Arrow took place on April 23rd, 1958, in RL-201. After Zurakowski’s retirement, Spud became the chief test pilot for the Arrow program. He piloted RL-204 and RL-205 on their maiden flights, on October 27th, 1958 and January 11th, 1959 respectively. Potocki also has the distinction of being at the controls of the last Arrow to fly, when he piloted RL-201 on February 19th, 1959, one day before the official cancellation. In total, Spud flew 34 hours and 35 minutes in the Arrows. Potocki was also involved with the short-lived “Avrocar” program. On 11 November 1958, during a test flight he achieved speed of 1.9 Ma. This made him become a legendary pilot, not only for Canada, but also for the whole aviation industry. From 1962 he was working for an American firm – North American Aviation. At the beginning he was a test pilot, and then – the head of the missile weapons evaluation department (till 1985). He was also one of founders, and the manager of the Operations Analysis Inc. He died on 23 December 1996 in Columbus, Ohio (USA).
His decorations include:
the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari War Order No.09930
the Cross of Valour and three Bars
and the Distinguished Flying Cross