SPAD VII plans

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Crew: One
Length: 6.08 m (19 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 7.81 m (25 ft 8 in)
Height: 2.20 m (7 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 17.85 m² (192 ft²)
Max takeoff weight: 740 kg (1,632 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Hispano-Suiza 8Aa inline engine, 112 kW (150 hp)
Armament: 1 x .303-cal. Vickers machine gun

Maximum speed: 192 km/h (119 mph)
Range: 360 km (225 mi)
Service ceiling: 5,335 m (17,500 ft)


The SPAD derives its name from the Société Pour L’Aviation et ses Dérivés that produced it.

In July 1915 French officials ordered production of the Hispano-Suiza 8A aircraft engine, a conversion from an established automobile engine design with an excellent reputation. At the same time they tasked plane manufacturers to design new aircraft to use the engine. The SPAD V, later the SPAD VII, was the design from the SPAD company.

The new engine and sturdy construction of the plane resulted in an excellent maximum speed, climb rate and diving ability, though they did lack the maneuverability of the much lighter built Nieuport 17 fighters used by the Allies at the time.

The new design and engine brought with it teething problems, noticeably engine overheating and weak engine mounts. These were solved in the first months of the plane’ s service. Eventual improvements to the engine increased the top speed of the plane to 208 km/h (129 mph).

Production of the SPAD VII was subcontracted to several manufacturers across France, England and Russia. The planes produced in England never quite reached the quality of their French made counterparts and eventually English production was to stop in favor of native designs. The Russians had to put up with inferior and second-hand imported engines and their SPADs never reached the potential of the design.

However with several factories in France producing the plane the SPAD would become one of the most common planes on the western front. Even after it was superseded by newer designs the SPAD VII still  found frequent use in pilot training.

In the Game

The SPAD VII is the fastest plane available in January 1917, obviously benefiting from its advanced engine. It is the only plane on either side with maneuvers that take it three hexes. This extra movement gives the SPAD a whole collection maneuvers not available to its contemporaries.

Its main shortcoming is that it only sports one machine gun, a failing it shares with all allied planes of the time.