SPAD XVIII

The SPAD S.XIII is a French biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War, developed by Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) from the earlier and highly successful SPAD S.VII.

During early 1917, the French designer Louis Béchereau, spurred by the approaching obsolescence of the S.VII, decided to develop two new fighter aircraft, the S.XII and the S.XIII, both using a powerful new geared version of the successful Hispano-Suiza 8A engine. The cannon armament of the S.XII was unpopular with most pilots, but the S.XIII proved to be one of the most capable fighters of the war, as well as one of the most-produced, with 8,472 built and orders for around 10,000 more cancelled at the Armistice.

By the end of the First World War, the S.XIII had equipped virtually every fighter squadron of the Aéronautique Militaire. In addition, the United States Army Air Service also procured the type in bulk during the conflict, and some replaced or supplemented S.VIIs in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), pending the arrival of Sopwith Dolphins. It proved popular with its pilots; numerous aces from various nations flew the S.XIII during their flying careers. Following the signing of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which effectively marked the end of the First World War, surplus S.XIIIs were sold in great numbers to both civil and military operators throughout the world.


The initial intent of the 94th Aero "Showbirds" was to paint their "crates" in a way to outdo each other. At some point, some higher-ranking officer decided to use these machines on the Banner Day ceremonies in 1919 to fly past the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, due to typical "military bungling", the flight past the Tower never happened. The first public appearance of these machines was on 2 March 1919, but not long after that the aircraft were detailed to the 138th Aero. After they appeared at the Third Army carnival at Coblenz, not much is known about these machines.