Deperdussin aircraft

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The earliest airplanes produced by Armand Deperdussin before the Bleriot consortium acquired SPAD are known as Deperdussins rather than SPADs.   Aéroplanes Deperdussin, abbreviated SPAD.  Relatively quickly, Deperdussin and Bechereau hit upon a design formula that has come to be synonymous with Deperdussin aircraft, although the earliest Deperdussin designs did not conform to it.  This was a highly streamlined monoplane layout with a smooth, hard-skinned fuselage of wood monocoque, relatively small wings and a bat-shaped tail group.  This basic format was strong and very fast, and the visual advance from the uncovered wood frames of Bleriot, Farman and others made an immediate impression.  Deperdussins began winning races and setting speed races in 1912, and they remained more advanced than most military airplanes well into the First World War, although the monocoque Deperdussins were never developed into a successful combat aircraft.

A handful of original Deperdussins survive, and several replicas have been built, although its method of construction makes building a good replica difficult.  One 1910, pre-monocoque Deperdussin is still airworthy in Britain, and some of the monocoque replicas fly from time to time.


The Musee Air et Espace displays an original Deperdussin Monocoque racer. 

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Monocoque replica N8448

The crew at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome constructed this beautiful Deperdussin racer replica.  I don’t know whether they ever flew it.

Monocoque Floatplane replica

Planes of Fame has a static replica of a float-equipped Deperdussin which won the first Schneider Cup seaplane race in Monaco in 1913. 

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Modeling Notes (with links to targeted eBay searches):  I don’t know of any plastic model kits of any of the monocoque Deperdussins.  The only Deperdussin type easily found as a model is the Lindberg 1/48 1911 Deperdussin, which is one of the company’s earlier fabric-over-frame machines.


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