In August 1916, units at the front began receiving the SPAD VII.C1 (C1 indicating the plane was a single-seat chasseur). It replaced the Nieuport 17 as the primary scout for the French Air Service and was soon adopted by the British as well. Although disadvantaged by poor forward and downward views from the cockpit, the SPAD VII was fast, durable and difficult to shoot down. A good performer, it was flown by nearly all the French aces. It proved less successful in the hands of the British, possibly due to the combat tactics employed by the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps. With 18 victories, Irish ace William Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick scored more victories with the SPAD VII and SPAD XIII than any other ace.
"The 150 hp SPAD is not a match for the Halberstadt. Although the Halberstadt is probably no faster, it climbs better, and consequently it has the overall advantage. More speed is needed — possibly the airscrew could be improved." Georges Guynemer in a letter to Louis Béchereau, chief designer for SPAD, December 1916