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Today in History

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
SPAD VII Specifications
Country: France
Manufacturer: Société Anonyme Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés
Type: Fighter
Entered Service: 2 September 1916
Number Built: 5,600 built in France
Engine(s): Hispano-Suiza 8A, V-8, 150 hp
Wing Span: 25 ft 7¾ in (7.82 m)
Length: 20 ft 2 in (6.15 m)
Height: 7 ft 6.5 in
Empty Weight: 1,102 lb
Gross Weight: 1632 lb (740 kg)
Max Speed: 119 mph (191.5 km/h)
Ceiling: 17,500 ft
Endurance: 1.5 hours
Crew: 1
Armament: 1 Vickers .303 machine gun
Belgian Air Service: 5me, 10me
French Air Service: Spa3, Spa12, Spa15, Spa26, Spa31, Spa37, Spa38, Spa48, Spa49, Spa57, Spa62, Spa65, Spa67, Spa68, Spa69, Spa73, Spa75, Spa76, Spa77, Spa78, Spa79, Spa80, Spa81, Spa82, Spa83, Spa84, Spa85, Spa86, N87, Spa88, Spa89, N92, Spa94, Spa95, Spa96, Spa97, Spa98, Spa99, Spa100, Spa102, Spa103, Spa112, Spa124, Spa150, Spa151, Spa152, Spa153, Spa154, Spa155, Spa156, Spa157, Spa158, Spa159, Spa160, Spa161, Spa162, Spa163, Spa315, N392, Spa531, Spa561, N581
Imperial Russian Air Service: 7, XI, XIX
Italian Air Service: 76a, 77a, 91a
Royal Flying Corps: 19, 23
United States Air Service: 41st, 103rd, 138th, 139th, 141st, 638th
SPAD VII Aces (8)
1 Scotland Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick, William John Charles 18
2 Canada McGregor, Douglas Urquhart 12
3 USA Warman, Clive Wilson 12
4 France Lachmann, Georges Marcel 6
5 Italy Pessi, Giorgio 6
6 Russia Smirnov (Smirnoff), Ivan Vasilievich 6
7 England Young, Wilfred Ernest 3
8 France Dorme, René Pierre Marie  
SPAD Fighters in Action (Aircraft in Action)
John Connors / Paperback / Squadron/Signal Pub 1989
Michael P. Roffe / Unknown Binding / Arco Pub Co
SPAD XIII and SPAD VII (Model Historic Aircraft Series)
Peter A. Zorn Jr. / Paperback / Crown Pub 1982
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