The Société Pour
L'Aviation et ses Dérivés, commonly known as SPAD, was a French aircraft
manufacturer responsible for producing a number of significant fighter
aircraft during the First World War. Originally called Société Pour les
Appareils Deperdussin, the company was virtually bankrupt before the war
when it was rescued by Louis Blériot who changed the name while retaining
SPAD began by building the "A-series" of pusher two-seat biplanes. In
early 1915 SPAD began development of a tractor biplane designated the "S.V"
which went into production as the SPAD S.VII. Improvements in the S.VII
led first to the S.XII and then to the development of the definitive SPAD
fighter, the S.XIII which entered service in May 1917 and equipped French,
British and American squadrons. Over 8,000 S.XIIIs were eventually built.
The SPAD was most notably flown in American service by Capt. Eddie
Rickenbacker, America's highest scoring ace of WWI with 26 victories (20
aircraft and six balloons). Capt Rickenbacker flew with the 94th Aero
Pursuit Squadron, known as the "Hat in The Ring" gang. It was also flown
by most French aces, including Georges Guynemer, one of France's most
Taken over by Bleriot just before World War I, SPAD is
famous for the SPAD XIII fighter.