Saturday, March 1, 2014

The SPAD of World War I

In 1916, The French Air Force replaced the Nieuport with the SPAD. Like the Nieuport, the SPAD was a single engined biplane of mostly wooden frame construction with fabric covering. Disadvantaged by poor  visibility below and forward, the SPAD was nevertheless, fast, durable and difficult to shoot down. The plane was a good performer, flown by nearly all the French aces, including Georges Guynemer, Jean Chaput, and RenĂ© Fonck, and by American ace Eddie Rickenbacker.

WWI SPAD, British Roundel

The plane was powered by a Hispano-Suiza water cooled V-8 engine. The new  SPAD could rach a speed of 119 mph. Later engine improvements got the speed up to 135 mph. Armament, eventually two Vickers machine guns with 400 rounds per gun replaced the single gun of the earlier aircraft.

 Hispano-Suiza water cooled V-8 engine