Corgi AA37905 US Army Air Service SPAD XIII Fighter - 2Lt Frank Luke, Jr, S15202, 27th Aero Squadron, September 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared."
- Eddie Rickenbacker
The Societe Pour L'Aviation et ses Derivas, commonly known as SPAD, was a French aircraft manufacturer responsible for producing a number of significant fighter aircraft during the First World War. Originally called Societe de production des avions Deperdussin, the company was virtually bankrupt before the war when it was rescued by Louis Bleriot who changed the name while retaining the initials.
SPAD began by building the "A-series" of pusher two-seat biplanes. In early 1915 SPAD began development of a tractor biplane designated the "S.V" which went into production as the SPAD S.VII. Improvements in the S.VII led first to the S.XII and then to the development of the definitive SPAD fighter, the S.XIII which entered service in May 1917 and equipped French, British and American squadrons. Over 8,000 S.XIIIs were eventually built.
The SPAD was most notably flown in service by Count Francesco Baracca and Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, two of the Entente highest scoring aces of WWI with 34 and 26 victories respectively. It was also flown by most French aces, including Georges Guynemer, one of France's most popular pilots.
Pictured here is a SPAD XIII fighter flown by famed ace, 2nd Lt. Frank Luke, Jr.. Sold Out!
Length: 5.25 inches
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Release Date: November 2010
Historical Account: "Balloon Busting" - Frank Luke Jr. (May 19th, 1897–September 29th, 1918) was an American fighter ace, ranking second among U.S. Army Air Service pilots to Captain Eddie Rickenbacker in number of aerial victories during World War I (Rickenbacker was credited with 26 aerial victories, while Luke's official score was 18). Frank Luke was the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. Luke Air Force Base, a U.S. Air Force pilot training installation since World War II, is named in his honor.
Luke's final flight took place during the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On September 28rg, after achieving his 14th and 15th victories, he landed his SPAD XIII at the French aerodrome at Cicognes where he spent the night, claiming engine trouble. When he returned to the 1st Pursuit Group's base at Rembercourt the next day, he was confronted by his squadron's commanding officer (C.O.). Despite being under threat of arrest by the C.O. for being AWOL, Luke took off without authorization and flew to Verdun, where his sympathetic Group commander cancelled the arrest order and gave Luke tacit approval to continue his balloon hunting. That evening Luke flew to the front to attack three balloons in the vicinity of Dun-sur-Meuse, six miles behind the German lines. He first dropped a message to a nearby U.S. balloon company, alerting them to observe his imminent attacks. Luke shot down the enemy balloons, but was then severely wounded by a single machinegun bullet fired from a hilltop above him, a mile east of the last balloon site he had attacked.