SPAD VII Colours & Markings A Brief Look
The French had two basic designs of fighters during the First World
War the Nieuport sequiplanes, and the SPAD biplanes. If generalities
must be given, than the Nieuports were light, fragile aircraft powered
by a rotary engine. The SPADs on the otherhand were heavy, robust aircraft
which made use of the excellent Hispano-Suiza engine. There are advantages
to both trains of thought, and that both were also heavily used by other
air services speaks volumes to this.
In this little feature I will show the basic colours worn by factory
fresh SPAD VIIs, as well as an interesting marking option for each from
a different air service that made use of them.
Plain varnished overall with the metal areas in a light yellow
to approximate the fabric areas. Used in 1916-17.
Although five colour is more widely know, there were also
some four colour patterns using the same colours minus black.
Shown here is that carried by aircraft built by de Marcay.
SPAD VII B1627
No.19 Sqn RFC
Source: LA Rogers photo
Prior to their adoption of a black (or white) dumbell, No.19 Sqn used
coloured bands as their marking. These may be seen in different combinations
SPAD VII S.11421
138th Aero Sqn USAS
Source: C&C(Int) 25/4
Formed at Kelly field, Texas on 28 September 1917, the 138th Aero Sqn
arrived in Scotland during March 1918 for further training. They then
went overseas to France on 18 August. During September experienced pilots
began to arrive, however these were trained on the SPAD, not the Camel
(upon which the ground crews were familiar) and it wasn't until 28 October
that the 138th was declared operational.
In the postwar period they, along wth the rest of the FIFTH PURSUIT
GROUP - the 41st, 141st and 638th Aero Sqns - formed part of the army
of occupation and were based at Coblenz. Ultimately returned to the
USA and disbanded in September 1919.
The emblem of the 138th was the "Charging Ram" within the
'V' signifying the FIFTH PURSUIT GROUP.
Source: Windsock 11/6
The unit marking of Spa.150 was the condor. As the unit commander
Decaix had his SPAD further marked with black and white checkerboard