Spartan Warbirds

Most vintage aircraft aficionados think of a Spartan Executive as a rare, high speed, art deco, executive transport.  With a limited production of 34, an impressive cruise speed, a shiny all aluminum exterior and the fact most were initially acquired by oil executives, that’s a perfectly valid viewpoint. What many don’t realize, however, is the military role many Spartan Executives played during World War II.  Twenty  of the 34 built actually served during the war.  Sixteen were impressed by the USAAF and four were procured by the RAF.  All of the USAAF Spartans were operated within the US as light utility transports designated as UC-71’s. The RAF usage of Spartans is a bit more complicated and changed mid-way through the war. One RAF Spartan was originally operated in Europe, but was destroyed soon after arriving there.  The remaining three began their wartime role in a training capacity within the US and then shifted to a light transport role for the RAF Ferry Command in Canada.  The following is the story of S/N 17’s service with the RAF.