Single-Seat Carrierbased Biplane Fighter Prototype
One flyable SPAD S.XXIV biplane fighter was completed as a prototype before the end of World War 1 in November of 1918.
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The SPAD line of biplane fighters witnessed during World War 1 (1914-1918) were some of the best fighters of the period. French aviation pioneer Louis Bechereau was instrumental in evolving the series and the last biplane to bear his signature design lines was the SPAD S.XXIV (he left the company in the spring of 1917). The S.XXIV was to become the wheeled undercarriage, carrier-based version of the dedicated S.XIV seaplane fighter which appeared in 1918 to the tune of forty examples. These served with the French Navy for their part in the war. The S.XXIV, however, would not encounter the same level of success for, after a first-flight on November 5th, 1918, the series saw an abrupt end coinciding with the end of the war on November 11th.
The major departure for the S.XXIV was in its new "tail-dragger" undercarriage which replaced the S.XIV's floatplane undercarriage arrangement. The single pilot sat in an open-air cockpit and, like other SPADS of the period, a Hispano-Suiza 8Bc series engine of 220 horsepower was used to drive a two-bladed propeller at the nose. The wing mainplanes, an upper and lower section, were joined by parallel struts and cabling, producing a double-bay arrangement for the wings. The tail unit was traditional with its single fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. The fuselage maintained the typical SPAD slab-sided approach and tapering towards the tail. Dimensions included a wingspan of 32.1 feet, a length of 21.3 feet and a height of 8.4 feet. Empty weight was 1,433lb.
Development of the S.XXIV was slow and this hampered its ability to come online any sooner. It was officially done in by the fact that the war was now officially over and a new breed of fighting biplane was no longer in demand. While there are no official performance figures for the S.XXIV, it can be assumed that they would have followed the numbers of the floatplane equipped S.XIV with some increases.
Also, it can be assumed that the S.XXIV would have carried similar armament in service: 1 x 7.7mm Vickers machine gun, set to fire through the spinning propeller blades by way of synchronizing gear, and 1 x 37mm Puteaux cannon firing through the propeller shaft.