SPA in-line 6
2 – 7.7 mm
Ansaldo A.1 (called Balilla) fighter aircraft were first produced in Italy. They were based on an Ansaldo Co. observation aircraft design, with a larger, stronger wing and more powerful engine.
It is reported that pilots appreciated the speed and directional stability of the A.1 fighter, but found it less maneuverable than other aircraft of the time. While the aircraft had satisfactory performance at higher speeds, its poor slow speed handling and relatively high stall speed kept it from being a pilot favorite.
Although some 100 A.1 fighters were deployed by July of 1918, they saw little action. There is a record of an Ansaldo A.1 downing an Austrian observation plane as the only air combat victory for the fighter during World War I.
Prior to the end of the War, a total of 186 Ansaldo A.1 fighters were produced. All but 47 of the aircraft were retired after the War. The remaining aircraft were used primarily as trainers.
In addition to Italy, Latvia, Poland, and the Soviet Union all operated the aircraft in small numbers after WW I ended.