The SPAD S.XIII Biplane History
Designed by Louis Béchéreau and built by Société pour l'aviation et ses dérivés (SPAD), the French biplane fighter SPAD S.XIII was developed from the earlier SPAD S.VII alongside the SPAD S.XII, which was quickly overshadowed by it. It’s structure was mainly wood, with a covering of fabric, and it was fitted with a single Hispano-Suiza 8Be 8-cylinder vee-type engine. Although it’s manoeuvrability was inferior, it’s speed was good, allowing it to outpace both the German Fokker D.VII and Britain’s Sopwith Camel. The SPAD S.XIII made it’s first flight on April 4, 1917, and became one of the most produced aircraft in World War I, with a total of 8,472 being built.

This popular aircraft was favoured by many pilots and used by almost all of the Squadrons of the French Air Force. It was also used by both the Royal Flying Corps and the United States Army Air Force.

The SPAD S.XIII Biplane Operational History
The French Air Force planned to replace their SPAD S.VIIs and Nieuports with the S.XIII, however deliveries, which began in May 1917, were slow with only a third of the planned aircraft being produced by March 1918. They remained in service as a fighter with the French until 1923.

The United States, who purchased a total of 893 of these biplanes, still had more than half of them in service in 1920, however the British replaced theirs with Sopwith Dolphins in April 1918. Other operators of this aircraft included: The Argentine Air Force, Belgium’s Groupe de Chasse, the Brazilian Air Force, the Czech Air Force, the Finnish Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, Italy’s Corpo Aeronautico Militaire, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and several other forces.

Surviving SPAD S.XIII Biplanes
There are several surviving S.XIII biplanes currently on display at museums including: The National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels.

An airworthy example exists with the Memorial Flight Association in La Ferté-Alais, Île-de-France.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.

SPAD S.XIII Biplane Specifications:

SPAD S.XIII Crew: Pilot Only
SPAD S.XIII Length: 20ft 6in (6.25m)
SPAD S.XIII Wingspan: 27ft 1in (8.25m)
SPAD S.XIII Height: 8ft 6½in (2.60m)
SPAD S.XIII Wing area: 227ft² (21.1 m²)
SPAD S.XIII Empty weight: 1,245lb (566kg)
SPAD S.XIII Maximum takeoff weight: 1,863lb (845kg)
SPAD S.XIII Engine: Single Hispano-Suiza 8Be 8-cylinder vee-type, 220 hp (164 kW)
SPAD S.XIII Maximum speed: 135mph (218 km/h)
SPAD S.XIII Range: 171 mi (276 km)
SPAD S.XIII Service Ceiling: 21,815ft (6,650m)

SPAD S.XIII Biplane Armament:

2 x .303-cal. (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns
2 x Marlin M1917 or M1918 machine guns

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