At an antique shop, accidentally hidden by a large metal sign, Team Givan found two paintings. They were, at first glance, nondescript--a sharp looking jet painted in red, white, and blue whisking four well-dressed gentleman past a coastline somewhere/through a mostly clear sky. Chris didn't recognize the jet, an occasion that has been growing rarer. On the back of each picture was:
Gift of Olive Beech
A "Gift of Olive Beech"...we had just seen the total eclipse, and this find still ranks as "memorable," not an easy feat on that day. With Beechcraft as a clue, Chris' instinct was that we were looking concept art of the Jet Mentor a la mode biz jet. That was a particularly exciting prospect as Team Givan's visits to the Kansas Aviation Museum meant we'd seen the sole prototype in person. On reviewing the pictures from KAM though, he realized it was a different aircraft still.
As it turns out, the aircraft pictured was a French-made Moraine-Saulnier MS.760 Paris. An adaptation of that company's losing competitor in a French jet trainer run-off, which resulted in the Fouga Magister, Beechcraft had purchased the North American manufacturing rights in 1955 . There is even crossed French and American flags painted underneath the cockpit in the spirit of the arrangement. The Paris has characteristics common to the Magister, Temco's Pinto, Cessna's Tweet, Canadair's Tutor, BAC's Jet Provost, and, most interestingly, Beech's Jet Mentor.
This story isn't an unending string of surprises—although the Jet Mentor and the Paris were designed in the same time period, with the Jet Mentor taking flight the same year Beechcraft purchased rights to the Paris, there is probably no influence . The similarities that can be seen between the two and between the other aircraft mentioned are probably just the result of prevailing theory and available engines.
Neither the Paris nor Jet Mentor worked out for Beechcraft, with perhaps two Paris' sold  and no Jet Mentors at all. The Tweet's similar 2+2 business jet version (Cessna Model 407) also failed to find success, customers preferring the Learjet and Lockheed models with more conventional layouts. While the Paris didn't excite Beech's customers, the appearance of this pictures in that antique store, and the mention of Olive, certainly excited Team Givan!
(for more on these aircraft and their stories, see Chris' reflections here)
|S/N 3/1043||S/N 005||S/N 006||1959||N776K||1961||N760H||F-WJAB||J.W. Keeney, St. Barbara CA||Henry & Louise Timken, Canton OH||1961||N84J||1963||N760C||1973||N2NC||Beech Aircraft Corp, Wichita KS||1966||N760S||1981||N2TE||1965||N760J||B Air Inc, Alexandria VA||1990||XB-FJO||Ran off runway at Andrau Airpark, 1981||Registered in Mexico||Presumed Scrapped||1996||N2TE||Destroyed in Fatal Crash, 1997||Presumed Scrapped|