"OLD NUMBER ONE"

BY KEITH FERRIS

50 Artists Proofs. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Print Size: 20" x 30"

Artists Proof Price: $350


America's leading World War I ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, is shown flying his famous SPAD Xlll Number 4523 in October 1918. The aircraft had been the first of these rugged aircraft to serve the formerly Nieuport equipped 94th Aero Squadron. The aircraft carries the squadron numeral "1" and the 94th Squadron insignia signifying Uncle Sam's throwing his "hat in the ring" on America's entry into World War I.

Rickenbacker was to score 18 of his eventual 26 confirmed victories in this aircraft in the remarkably short period between 24 September and 11 November of 1918.

The painting conveys the feeling of flight in the SPAD of those days and shows the character of the aircraft and the precise pattern and appearance of its highly reflective six color camouflage system.

Noteworthy are the round white circular patches which cover enemy bullet holes as a reminder to its pilot of errors made in previous combat.

The SPAD Xlll was a small aircraft with a 26.25 foot wingspan and a 20.3 foot length. The gross weight was 1,807 pounds and it was powered by a 235 hp Hispano-Suiza V8 engine. Armament was two Vickers .303 machine guns. Maximum speed was 138 mph and its service ceiling was 22,350 feet.

"Old Number One", as it was affectionately known to Rickenbacker's squadron mates, served until 27 March 1919 and is believed to have been destroyed in a fire after shipment to the United States.