Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, April 14, 2014

1916 — France Introduces Two Great Aircraft


Breguet XIV (A2) at the French Air and Space Museum

The Breguet 14 was noteworthy as the first aircraft in mass production to use large amounts of metal —rather than wood—in its structure, allowing the airframe to be lighter than a wooden airframe of the same strength, in turn making the aircraft very fast and agile and able to outrun many fighters of the day. It would see its most notable use as a bomber through the end of the war.

Guynemer's Spad VII at the French Air and Space Museum

The SPAD VII single-seat fighter was introduced and eventually equips squadrons of eleven nations. It was renowned as a sturdy and rugged aircraft with good climbing and diving characteristics. It also had a stable gun platform. It had a maximum speed of 119 miles per hour with a range of 225 miles armed with a single Vickers .303 machine gun and a service ceiling of 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), which it could reach in 4.5 minutes. Some of the aces who flew it were Georges Guynemer (France), Francesco Baracca (Italy), and Alexander Pentland (Australia).

Source:  The Windsor Historical Society Website

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