The SPAD S.XIII was developed from the S.VII, and was probably the finest French fighter of World War I. Major changes from the S.VII were a more powerful (200 hp) engine, which allowed for the mounting of a second machine gun and improved performance. Strong, tough and fast, the S.XIII became a favorite of American pilots serving in the early Army Air Service as well as French aces. First flown April 4, 1917, a total of 8.472 S.XIII models was built. Leading pilots of these machines included the French aces Georges Guynemer and Rene Fonck, Americans Edward Rickenbacker and Frank Luke, and Italian Francesco Baracca. The type was also used by Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Soviet Union, and after the war, by several other countries around the world.
Six original SPAD S.XIIIs are preserved, one of them airworthy, and there are also many replicas.
This SPAD is preserved at the Musee de l’Air et l’Espace.
S.XIII S7689 “Smith IV”
American pilot Raymond Brooks flew this SPAD in 1918, naming it after his girlfriend and wife-to-be. He achieved one of his six air-to-air kills in this plane, and it was also used to shoot down five further German aircraft in the hands of other pilots. It was sent on a war bond tour of the U.S. after World War I, and was passed to the Smithsonian in 1919. In the 1980s, it underwent a complete restoration and is now one of the proudest World War I exhibits at the National Air & Space Museum.
S.XIII, Composite Restoration
Displayed at the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, this SPAD S.XIII was built up from parts of three original aircraft. It is painted to honor Frank Luke, an Arizona native.
S.XIII replica, Museum of Flight
This SPAD replica is displayed at the Museum of Flight.
S.XIII replica, Owls Head Museum
The Owls Head Transportation Museum maintains this airworthy, Lycoming powered SPAD XIII replica. It is in the hat-in-the-ring markings of the 94th Pursuit Squadron, wearing one of the colorful paint schemes applied to the unit’s aircraft immediately following the end of the war.