Introduction

This rugged, well-built World War I biplane fighter, SPAD S.VII, was well- known for its climbing and diving abilities.  The unique diving ability of this plane, combined with its high speed, allowed the Allied pilots to choose between engaging in, or leaving, combat.  Many WW I pilots were, however, disappointed in the planes inability to perform tight maneuvers.

Additional Information on the SPAD

Despite the SPAD’s impressive operational ability, initial problems, such as heating, became apparent when production began in May of 1916.  This delayed service of the WW I SPAD S.VII and significant numbers would not arrive on the front until almost a year later in February of 1917.  However, within a few short months, over 500 were serving in the front line.  While the impact of the introduction of this plane was insufficient in making a notable change in the remainder of the air war, it did provide pilots and mechanics with an opportunity to become familiar with this newer World War I fighter.

Many Allied services used the SPAD S.VII, the first being The Royal Flying Corps of Britain.   Other countries who used this plane were Russia, Germany, Belgium, Italy and even the United States Army Air Service.  Various other countries continued to use the SPAD S.VII late into the 1920’s, well after the end of World War I.

Specifications for the SPAD S.VII

Basic Features:

·   Crew:  One
·   Length of the plane:  19 ft. 11 in
·   Wingspan of the plane:  25 ft. 8 in
·   Height of the plane: 7 ft. 2 in
·   Wing area:  192 ft²
·   Empty weight:  1,124 lbs.
·   Max takeoff weight:  1,632 lbs.
·   Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 8Aa inline engine,150 hp

Performance

·   Maximum speed:  119 mph
·   Range:  360 - 225 mi
·   Service ceiling:  17,500 ft.
·   Time to altitude:  4.5 min to 2,000 m (6,560 ft.)
·   Armament:  1 x .303-cal. Vickers machine gun