Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

The SPAD S.VII Fighter Plane

The SPAD S.VII was a revolutionary new aircraft introduced by the French in 1916. Originally designed for a rotary engine, it seems ironic that due to a shortage of engines, a Hispano Suiza water cooled V-8 was utilized. This was the beginning of the end for rotary engines. The SPAD was an excellent aircraft and very sturdy. When fitted with a 180 h.p. engine it could fly at almost 22000 feet and attain nearly 120 mph. The only shortcoming of the Spad was a single machine gun instead of two. This aircraft at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is painted in the colors of the French ace Georges Guynemer. He shot down 34 German aircraft with a SPAD S.VII. Guynemer was part of the elite Storks squadron. All his aircraft were named "Old Charlie" (Vieux Charles). The pale yellow color of the aircraft is called "Ecru" and was the color of unbleached linen.Thirty years ago Cole Palen had an original SPAD S.XIII and bequeathed it to the Air Force Museum. I had the privilege to see this aircraft fly again at Cole Palen's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in the Fall of 2000. 


1916 SPAD S.VII Taking off.


SPAD in the Skies

The SPAD and Sopwith Camel in the skies over Old Rhinebeck.

1918 Fokker DVII Biplane
The SPAD landing.
All photos İFred Sgrosso 2000 and were taken on October 1st, 2000.

You may have noticed that I use the upper case when referring to the SPAD aircraft. That is because SPAD actually is S.P.A.D.; an abbreviation of the company name that Louis Blériot renamed when he took over the original bankrupt SPAD company(Deperdussen) in 1914. He managed to keep the same abbreviated SPAD name even thought the actual name was different. This was done because the SPAD name was well known. Over 6000 SPAD's were produced with Britain , Belgium, Russia, and the United States utilizing this aircraft. The Spad S.VII evolved into the SPAD S.XII which Eddie Rickenbacker flew to become our American ace in WWI.

This page was created on 8November2000.

To visit the next page: Click here  
To go back to the Warbirds Home Page: Click here