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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 39 : Spad VII Aces of World War I
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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 39 : Spad VII Aces of World War I

Built by the 'Societe Anonyme Pour l'Aviation et ses Derives' (SPAD), the SPAD VII was the first successful fighting scout design to emerge from the company that had traded as Duperdussin pre-war. The key to its success was the powerful new vee-8 engine built by Hispano-Suiza to a 1915 design by chief engineer, Marc Birkigt. First flown in April 1916 as the Type V, the fighter was a vast improvement over previous lightweight Allied scouts such as the Nieuport 11 and 17 and the Sopwith Pup armed with a single 0.303-in machine gun offset to the right above the engine, the first examples (production aircraft had been redesignated Type VIIs) reached the frontline for the French Aviation Militaire in September 1916. Flown 'from the off' by aces Paul Sauvage and Georges Guynemer, the scouts made an immediate impression. Indeed, the latter pilot was so impressed that he dubbed the type VII the 'flying machinegun'. By the time production of the SPAD VII ended in the final months of 1918, around 6000 examples had been built, and Allied aces on every front had enjoyed success with the type. Text by Jon Guttman with illustrations by Harry Dempsey.

 

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces


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