Early Aircraft SPAD XVI


AvStop Magazine Online


The SPAD XVI was a French designed and built fast two-seat reconnaissance type aircraft developed from the SPAD VII. Six of these were obtained by the American Expeditionary Force during the latter days of WW I and used in observation and command roles. At the time of its entry into service, it was one of the fastest and most manueverable two-seaters in combat.

The aircraft on display was used as a personal plane by Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell who commanded the American Air Forces on the Western Front. While Mitchell often flew a single seat SPAD XIII, he used this aircraft when an observer or passenger was carried. The aircraft participated in the battle of Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In the latter battle it served as General Mitchell's forward observation platform and command vehicle.



Span: 36 ft. 9 1/2 in.

Length: 25 ft. 3 in.

Height: 8 ft. 4 1/2 in.

Weight: 1,917 lbs. empty; 2,844 lbs. loaded.

Armament: One 11mm Vickers machine gun and two .30-cal. Lewis machine guns

Engine: One Lorraine-Deitrich of 236 hp.


Maximum speed: 116 mph.

Maximum Endurance: 2 1/2 hours

Range: 286 miles

Service Ceiling: 15,400 ft.