A consortium led by Louis Blériot bought up the Société de Production des Aéroplanes Deperdussin company's assets in 1913 and appointed designer Louis Béchereau to run the business. The new entity, known as the Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés, was better known as SPAD. The first Béchereau-SPAD designs were unusual two-seat biplanes which attempted to provide a forward-firing machine gun in a tractor configuration aircraft, the SPAD A-series of models A.1, A.2 A.3, and A.4, which were built in very small numbers, around 60 each for the French and Russian air forces, and were neither popular nor successful. The subsequent development of an effective interrupter gear rendered the unusual configuration unnecessary. Béchereau's first real success was the SPAD S.VII, which superficially resembled a smaller, neater A.2 - without the forward gunner's nacelle. Some 3,500 SPAD S.VIIs were built in France during the First World War, 120 in Britain, and 100 in Russia. Béchereau's subsequent designs until 1918 followed the basic outline of the SPAD S.VII. The two-seaters, the SPAD XI and SPAD XVI, were built in moderate numbers, around 1,000 of each type. The SPAD S.XIII was essentially the SPAD S.VII redesigned around a more powerful, geared drive Hispano-Suiza engine, as was used on the SPAD XII. This was produced in great numbers, although the exact total is uncertain with figures from 7,300 to 8,472 being quoted in different sources. It is reported that nearly 900 SPAD XIII fighters were eventually to end up in American service. Post-WW1 the company became Blériot-SPAD. With the future uncertain, SPAD was fully incorporated into the Blériot organisation in 1921, and the company effectively disappeared, although a number of Blériot types were marked as SPADs.
SPAD VII B9913
The SPAD VII was one of the best fighter planes of World War I. Designed by Louis Bechereau, it was ...
Seeen at the NASM Udvar-Hazy facility, Washington DC on 23 September 2006 during an all too brief vi...
SPAD XIII replica G-BFYO
Photographed at the American Air Museum, Duxford on 8 February 2004.
This replica is painted in aut...
A French plane in World War I
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
SPAD VII S/n AS 94099
Photographed in the Early Years Gallery at the USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, on 7...
SPAD at museum
SPAD S.VIIC.1 cn 11 583 on display at the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely, Czech Republic.
SPAD S.VII S.153
WW1 fighter photographed at the Italian Air Force Museum at Vigna Di Valle, central Italy, on 12 Oct...