In 1914 Louis Bleriot became president of the aircraft company Société pour les Appareils Deperdussin. He renamed the company Société Pour Aviation et ses Derives (SPAD) and turned it into one of France's leading manufacturers of combat aircraft.
In 1916 the French designer, Louis Bechereau, and the Swiss engineer, Marc Birkigt, produced the fighter aircraft, Spad S.VII. The 175 hp Hispano-Suiza engine was both reliable and fast. The French military officials who watched its maiden flight were so impressed that they ordered 268 straight away.
An improved version, the Spad S.XIII appeared in 1917 and soon established itself as the best fighter plane available. Leading Allied aces such as Rene Fonck, Georges Guynemer, Charles Nungesser and Edward Rickenbacker insisted on using the Spad S.XIII. It has been argued that the Spad S.XIII was the main reason why the Allies gained control over the skies on the Western Front during 1918. A total of 8,472 of these aircraft were used during the First World War.
Performance Data of the Spad S.XIII
235 hp Hispano-Suiza
26 ft 11 in (8.2 m)
20 ft 8 in (6.3 m)
7 ft 11 in (2.42 m)
138 mph (222 kph)
21,820 ft (6,650 m)