The SPAD XIIIc.i (representation) and Eddie Rickenbacker, top American ace of WWI with 26 victories, are inseparable in aviation lore.

The colors on the Museum’s replica are those used by Rickenbacker when he commanded the 94th or “Hat in the Ring” Squadron, the first U.S. air unit in combat in World War I.

Originally representing Société de Production des Aéroplanes Deperdussin, named after founder Armand Deperdussin, “SPAD” came to stand for Société Anonyme Pour l’Aviation et ses Dérivés (Society for Aviation and its Derivatives) when Louis Blériot became the director of the company. At the time of the XIIIC.I’s design, rotary engines were making their exit as the reigning engine, and SPAD designer Louis Béchereau applied a light-weight, aluminum block V-8 engine designed by the Hispano-Suiza automobile company. The trailing edge of the wing is wire, strung along the ribs, which is pulled tight when the fabric is tautened, providing the unique scalloped shape. The XIIIc.i was tricky to handle at low speed, but proved a fast, strong and stable gun platform.

Specifications: Span 26’ 11”, length 20’ 8”, takeoff weight 1,807 lbs., engine 200-235 hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled V-8 (original); 180 horsepower Lycoming air-cooled flat four (representation); maximum speed 138 mph. Armament: two Vickers .303 caliber machine guns.

Accession no. 1992G37

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