Replica aircraft that fly: the Spad XIII

Ewan visited the VAFM today, and discovered their aircraft building and maintenance team hard at work replicating a Spad XII.  They started in 2006 with a welded steel-tube frame (the original was made of wood).  They have to make some minor concessions to modern technology – like brakes – to be able to fly their replicas from modern airports.  But it’ll look pretty much like the real thing when they’re done.

So what were Spads?  From somebody who ought to know – Eddie Rickenbacker:

I hurried to the field.  There they were, three beauties.  [The Spads.]  They were more impressive by far than any other airplane, any other automobile, any other piece of equipment I had ever seen.  This new Spad would mean the difference between life and death.  With it, a little luck and continuing aid from above, perhaps I could attain fame in the skies and join the great aces of the war – Lufbery, Rene Fonck; Billy Bishop, the Canadian, even the great Red Baron himself, Manfred von Richthofen.  Well, at least I could dream.

The Spad was the ultimate aircraft of the war in which aviation was developed….

The British produced several excellent planes, among them the SE-5 and the Sopwith Camel, but I had no personal experience with them.  The best ship I flew in was the Spad, built by the Societe pour Aviation et ses Derives, whence it took its name.  The final Spad could do 130 miles an hour, climb to 22,000 feet and stay together no matter what maneuvers you put it through.

- Edward V. Rickenbacker, Rickenbacker: An Autobiography(Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1967), 137, 138

This entry was posted in Aircraft Maintenance, Red Baron, Vintage Aero Flying Museum, WWI and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Replica aircraft that fly: the Spad XIII

  1. Dale Reimer says:

    I am building an 80% Spad XIII, powered w/ a BUICK 215 CID, 2.17:1 reduced prop drive. Been working on it for 26 yrs…hope to fly it before I pass on to a better place!!! Right now I am rib stitching my wings and it is shear tedium. Span is 21.5′ ,empty wt approx. 875-900# , gross is 1320 # (naturally). Airfoil is 4409, rib spacing 6″ …sooo looks like the real thing.Structure is all wood truss fuselage,tail etc covered in Superflite poly urethane process.I am so close and so far!! So far I have 70+ pages of 11.5″ x 17″ blue prints for posterity.Have a mess of photos. Most people who see the photos only think the plane is the real thing,but I have to tell them “its a home made thingy”.Thanx for listening. ADR.

  2. aeroadmin says:

    Ooooh, wow! Would love to have you post a link to your photos here. If you come through the Denver area sometime, look up the Vintage Aero Flying Museum and visit the maintenance hangar to talk with the Spad restoration team. They like to talk. At least about aircraft.