Creation of Louis Becherau who designed Deperdussin monoplanes that had set 9 prewar absolute speed records including first of 100 mph. Early SPADs more hazardous to crew than to enemy; e.g., A-2 had forward gun blister ahead of rotary engine--overcame lack of gun/engine synchronization but was death trap in event of nose-over, a common occurrence of the time. Becherau progressed to sturdy, effective SPAD VII--thanks to advanced Hispano- Suiza water-cooled engine of 150 hp--and single synchronized forward-firing gun. 220 hp Hispano-Suiza engine led to larger and more robust SPAD XII with 2 synchronized Vickers guns. Geared engine produced by several manufacturers and often proved difficult to maintain; at times, more than 60% of all SPAD XIIIs at front down for maintenance.