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1918 SPAD XII

Please contribute and help the Golden Age Air Museum achieve its goal of completing this aircraft.

Photo courtesy of Alan D. Toelle

SPAD XIII Specifications

Country: France Wingspan: 26'-3"
Year: 1918  replica Length: 21'-0"
Engine: Hispano-Suiza    Maximum Speed: 126 mph
Horsepower: 220 Gross Weight: 1947 lbs.
Quantity Mfg: 8500+ Originals Armament: (2) Vickers .303
 

In late 1916, French WWI ace Georges Guynemer lobbied for an improved version of the successful but quickly outdated SPAD VII fighter.   The Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés developed the SPAD XIII and it first flew on April 4, 1917. The XIII featured a geared Hispano-Suiza 8B 220 horsepower engine.  With a water cooled V-8 engine the aircraft had a unique sleek appearance that featured a radiator with cooling shutters just aft of the propeller.  The construction was all wood with wire and turnbuckle bracing.  They were produced by many different manufactures across France and featured subtle differences between manufacturers.  The color schemes were multicolored green and brown camouflage from the factories and then personal markings were applied by the pilots.

Many pilots became aces while flying the SPAD XIII.  The aircraft that the museum is recreating was flown by Charles J. Biddle, commander of the 13th Aero Squadron, the Grim Reapers. The squadron insignia, which was painted on the sides of all of the aircraft, was called the “Oscar” and was a skeleton swinging a scythe. Each pilot displayed a different number on their aircraft for identification, Biddle’s aircraft carried the number "0" to signify that he was the Commanding Officer.

The project underway in the workshop will offer a true and correct outward appearance as the original, but it will differ significantly internally.  The wood and wire braced fuselage is being replaced with a lighter and stronger welded steel type.  An original Hispano-Suiza engine is very difficult and expensive to obtain so a more modern Continental O-470 six cylinder 230 horsepower engine was acquired.  The aircraft will be much more reliable than the original and will be very capable of flying to away locations very safely.  The current goal for completion is the fall of 2015. 

 

 

GAAM SPAD XIII project forum thread

 

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Grimes Airfield , 371 Airport Road, Bethel, PA 19507
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Last modified: May 06, 2014