French Fighter Aircraft in World War I

Design, Construction & Innovation

Mark C Wilkins

A fully illustrated examination of the design and manufacture of French fighter aircraft through World War I.
Date Published :
August 2023
Publisher :
Series :
Casemate Illustrated Special
Illustration :
B/W and color
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636241449
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 10 X 8 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


During the first decade of the 20th century, France led the way in aircraft design and achievements. After the outbreak of World War I, France produced trailblazing designs early—the Morane Saulnier monoplanes, Nieuport fighters, and then the Spads—clearly leading the way in terms of trends in aviation. Although the Fokker Eindeckers were the first “point and shoot” aircraft, the Nieuport 11, while lacking interrupter gear, was the first maneuverable and cleanly designed fighter that featured ailerons and responsive controls on all axes. The Nieuports were so successful that Germany co-opted the sesquiplane with their Albatros line of fighters. The Spad VII was the first Allied fighter to employ an inline engine, and by extension influenced the design path of the S.E.5a and the Dolphin.

French construction methodology was eclectic—the Nieuports were straightforward in their construction, as were the British, but the Spad was a labor-intensive yet rugged and finely built aircraft—requiring many different skill sets to produce. Moreover, Spads were built under license by many companies in France as well as in Britain. Finally, French engines were in demand for not only their own aircraft, but for much of the British aviation industry as well. This fully illustrated book will complement the author’s titles on the German and French fighter aircraft.

About The Author

Mark C. Wilkins is an historian, writer, lecturer, and museum professional. He has been director & curator of both the Cape Cod Maritime Museum and The Atwood House Museum (Chatham Historical Society), and has worked for the Smithsonian Institution & Mystic Seaport. Mark is a published author of books and articles relating to maritime and aviation history. Mark is a contributor to Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine and Aviation History magazine. Mr. Wilkins has an A.L.M. in history from Harvard University, and is the historical consultant and producer of aerial effects for the Lafayette Escadrille Documentary Film.

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