Published April 07, 2015
DAYTON, Ohio -- SPAD VII at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio -- SPAD VII in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio -- SPAD VII cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The famed American volunteers of the French Lafayette Escadrille were flying the SPAD VII in February 1918 at the time they transferred to the U.S. Army Air Service, becoming the 103rd Aero Squadron. Several other U.S. units also used the SPAD VII, although most American Expeditionary Force (AEF) fighter squadrons were equipped with a slightly improved version, the SPAD XIII, by the time the war ended in November 1918.
The SPAD VII made its initial flight in July 1916. It showed such promise that it was put into production at once, and by the latter part of that year it appeared on the Front in both French and British squadrons. The airplane was an immediate success, primarily because its structural ruggedness permitted it to dive at high speeds without disintegrating. About 189 of the slightly more than 5,000 SPAD VIIs built went to the AEF.
The airplane on display was obtained from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Ill., and restored by the 1st Fighter Wing, Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., 1962-1966.
Armament: One Vickers .303-cal. machine guns
Engine: Hispano-Suiza 8-Aa of 180 hp
Maximum speed: 127 mph
Ceiling: 17,500 ft.
Span: 25 ft. 8 in.
Length: 20 ft. 3 in.
Height: 7 ft.
Weight: 1,550 lbs. maximum
Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.
Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.
Additional information about our COVID precautions available here
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is located at:
1100 Spaatz Street
Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433
(near Dayton, Ohio)