Tuesday, October 11, 2011

United States - 1918 SPAD S.XIII

The SPAD S.XIII In American Service.

Before the United States declared war in 1918, Americans had served unofficially in both French and British service. When America entered the war the pilots who had been in combat helped create a capable fighting force. Although these pilots flew many types of planes, most of them had flown the SPAD S.XIII. When they were inducted into the United States Air Service they took their aircraft to use in A.E.F.C. Aero Squadrons.

This is a fairly representative example of a SPAD serving in the 22 Aero Squadron. It is painted in a fairy standard 5 color scheme. The insignia is the iconic shooting stars design. The nose color varied according to the pilot's preference. Most examples have red block style numbers bordered in white.

The swooping eagle identifies the SPAD XIII as plane flown by the 27th Aero Squadron. Most examples have black block style numbers bordered in white. The camouflage is a variant of the 5 color scheme. The black and white checkered nose and red white and blue stripe is unusual. The wheel cover is seen on several different aircraft.

When America entered the war most American aviators served in the the French Escadrille SPA 124 also known as the Lafayette Escadrille. They were reassigned into the 103rd Aero Squadron. The unit insignia of an Indian in a head dress became the official insignia of the 103rd. The unit used the number forms favored by the French and not the new block style used by many U.S.A.S. Aero Squadrons. The circle Tee is most likely a pilot's personal marking. As usual the 5 color scheme is used and the nose is not given an accent color.

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