Swiss-born Mare Birkigt, chief designer of Hispano-Suiza, who had foreseen that the rotary engine was dose to its limit in development, embarked on the design of a new water-cooled V-8 engine. Designated Hispano-Suiza 8A, it produced 140hp; but even more important was Birkigt's own design for a synchronising gear. Bechereau, therefore, found awaiting him a unique opportunity, of designing a completely new scout around the new engine and gun synchronising mechanism.
This single-seat Spad Scout fighter of 1916 was one of the more successful aircraft of the First World War; 8,472 were built. It was used extensively by French, Italian and American air units and, on the Western front, two British squadrons who flew machines swopped from the R.N.A.S. for Sopwith Triplanes. SPADs equipped the French Cigognes whose insignia was a symbolic stork, and who used the machine's ability to dive steeply without failing to bits to good effect in dog fights.
This evolved into the SPAD V.
Engine One 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
Length 20.7 ft. (6.34 m.)
Wing span 27 ft. (8.23 m.)
Weight empty 1,255 lb. (570 kg.)
Crew 1 pilot
Armament Two fixed machine-guns, firing forward
Max. speed. 130 m.p.h. (210 km.p.h.)
Ceiling 22,000 ft. (6,700 m.) fully loaded
Endurance 2 hours