Spartan 7W Executive
Spartan Executive Old Warden 7 Oct 2013 1.jpg
Spartan Executive NC17633
Role Personal luxury transport
National origin United States
Manufacturer Spartan Aircraft Company
First flight March 8, 1936[1]
Introduction 1936
Produced 1936 - 1940
Number built 36
Variants Spartan 12W
Spartan Executive at Sun 'n Fun 2006
Spartan Executive at Sun 'n Fun 2006

The Spartan 7W Executive is a cabin monoplane aircraft that was produced by the Spartan Aircraft Company during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The 7W features an all-metal fuselage, as well as a retractable undercarriage. The 7W Executive was popular with affluent buyers worldwide.[1]

Design and development

Designed expressly for the executive market, the Spartan Executive was configured for both performance and comfort. Built during the Great Depression, the 7W was the brainchild of company-founder William G. Skelly of Skelly Oil who desired a fast, comfortable aircraft to support his tastes and those of his rich oil-executive colleagues.[2] Through a series of acquisitions, J. Paul Getty took over ownership of the Spartan Aircraft Company in 1935, and directed its fortunes from that point to 1968.[3]

The interior of the 7W is spacious and features 18 in (46 cm) of slide-back seat room for front-seat passengers, arm rests, ash trays, dome lighting, deep cushions, cabin heaters, ventilators, soundproofing, large windows, and interior access to the 100 lb (45 kg) capacity luggage compartment. The interior can be configured for four or five passengers.[4]

The 10th airframe in the production run was modified into a military demonstrator, the Spartan 7W-F, incorporating two forward-firing .30 calibre machine guns mounted on the port side near the firewall and firing through the propeller arc through a synchronized mechanism. A further modification was to provide a gunner's station at a dorsal hatch on the roof with a windscreen and machine gun fitted. Provision was also made for bomb racks under the wings.[5][6]

The military experiment was short-lived and the aircraft was reverted to a stock model and sold to aviatrix Arlene Davis who entered the Executive (NC17605) in the 1939 Bendix Air Races.[5] Davis was the first woman to complete the race flying solo, and took the high-performance aircraft to fifth place.[7]

Including the 7X prototypes, 36 7W Executives were built before production was halted in 1940. Following up on a modified Spartan Executive military demonstrator, a two-seat military variant of the 7W Executive, named the Spartan 8W Zeus, was developed. The aircraft featured a greenhouse canopy covering a tandem cockpit and was powered by a more powerful 600 hp (447 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine.[1] A small production run of four or five examples was made but with no official interest, the project waned.[8]

In 1942, a total of 16 7W Executives were impressed into military service with the United States Army Air Corps. The 7Ws served as executive transports for military staff as the UC-71.[4]

A post-World War II effort to rekindle interest in the Executive series, under the re-branded Spartan 12-W designation, failed to gain interest.[4] Only one Model 12 was completed, and today is part of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium collection.[9]

In August 2018 a total of 17 model 7Ws were still registered with the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.[10]

Notable owners

Notable owners of 7Ws included aircraft designer and aviator Howard Hughes, wealthy industrialist J. Paul Getty, [Note 1] and King Ghazi of Iraq. King Ghazi's Spartan Executive was designated "Eagle of Iraq" and was outfitted with his Coat of Arms, an extra-luxurious interior and customized features.[11]


Spartan 7X Executive
(also known as Standard Seven) The first prototype, fitted with a 285 hp (213 kW) Jacobs L-5 radial engine. One built - identifiable by the very small vertical tail.[citation needed]
Spartan Executive
Spartan Executive
Spartan 7W-P Executive
Second prototype, indistinguishable from 7W. Sole example exported to China in 1937.[12]
Spartan 7W Executive
Production version powered by a 400 hp (298 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp SB radial engine. 34 built[12]
Spartan 7W-F
A two-seat armed version with two fixed forward firing guns and one flexibly mounted machine gun in the rear cabin, as well as provision for 10 x 25lb bombs on wing racks. One built which was later converted to 7W Executive standard.[12]
Spartan UC-71-SP
Spartan 7W Executives impressed by the US Army Air Corps.[12]
Spartan 8W Zeus
Two-seat fighter version.[12]
Spartan 12W Executive
Postwar tricycle gear-equipped variant.[12]

Specifications (Spartan 7W Executive)

Data from EAA Spartan [13]

General characteristics


Military operators

An Executive 7W arrives for the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England
An Executive 7W arrives for the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England

Three examples based in Montreal, formerly Royal Air Force examples used in California.[12]


The second prototype was exported to China and serialed 1309. It was damaged beyond repair and captured by the Japanese who displayed it along with other captured Chinese aircraft.[12]

 Spanish Republic

At least one example was received by the LAPE (Líneas Aéreas Postales Españolas) to be used as an airliner marked as EC-AGM until requisitioned by the Spanish Republican Air Force and marked as 30+74. It was later captured by the Nationalists. Several others were purchased by the Republicans.[12]

 United Kingdom

One example (AX666) was built for King Ghazi of Iraq. Used by No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit RAF. Three examples with serials KD100, KD101 and KD102 were used in California for flight training.[12][14][page needed]

 United States

16 examples impressed from civil owners. All but two survived to return to civil service.[12][14]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Getty was the president of Spartan Aircraft Company.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "American airplanes: Spartan." Aerofiles. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Davisson 1971, p. 48.
  3. ^ a b "Spartan History.", 2003. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Taylor 1989, p. 983.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Frank. "Spartan Executive." Sport Flying, Volume 8, No. 12, December 1974, p. 31.
  6. ^ "Spartan Executive Converted to Military Fighter". Aviation. Vol. 37, no. 11. November 1938. p. 8. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  7. ^ "1920–1951 National Air Races." Aerofiles. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Donald 1989, p. 853.
  9. ^ Stewart, D.R. "One-of-a-kind Spartan Model 12 plane comes home to Tulsa." Tulsa World, September 28, 2012. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (21 August 2018). "Make / Model Inquiry Results". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Spartan Executive FS Review & History." Farmboyzim's Flight Sims. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Berry, Peter. "The Spartan Executive: Research Project 7233." AAHS Journal (American Aviation Historical Society, Huntington Beach, California), Volume 25, Summer 1980, pp. 145–153.
  13. ^ "1937 Spartan 7W Executive - NC13993." EAA Museum. Retrieved: August 27, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Peek and Goodhead 1994


  • Davisson, Budd. "Spartan Executive." Air Progress, March 1971.
  • Donald, David. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada: Prospero Books;, 1997. ISBN 978-1-8560-5375-4.
  • FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet TC628. Washington, D.C.: Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Peek, Chet and George Goodhead. The Spartan Story. Norman, Oklahoma: Three Peaks Publishing, 1994. ISBN 0-943691-16-8.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 978-1-8517-0324-1.