As some of you have read in the past posts, The Beech Aero Club has been working hard to get a representative of our beloved Musketeer on display at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum. This goes back to the late Mike Rellihan. The long wait is over. After tonight’s Board of Directors’ meeting, the club has agreed to the purchase and acquisition of Beechcraft Musketeer N2303Z.
The Beechcraft Heritage Museum, tucked away in its idyllic Tullahoma, Tennessee setting, has set out on its goal of preserving examples of all Beechcraft airplanes. Starting with a Beech Staggerwing in 1973, the museum now has 36 different Beechcraft aircraft on display. In addition to the Beech Staggerwing, the museum includes a Beech Travel Air, a Twin Beech, a T-34, a King Air, a Baron, a Duke, a Beech Starship and of course, a Bonanza. What they are lacking is an aircraft from the Musketeer line.
With Beechcraft abandoning the Musketeer line many years ago, Beech Aero Club (BAC) remains as the only official organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Musketeer line. As members of BAC, we are now the defacto custodians of all things Musketeer and, as such, we have a significant responsibility to protect and preserve the type – now and into the future.
From the vision and work of several BAC founding fathers, some of whom have now gone on to bluer skies, a long-held goal is about to be realized. The Beech Aero Club is preparing to purchase the third Musketeer to roll off the assembly line over fifty years ago â€”Threezie (N2303Z), a 1962 Model 23 Musketeer. 3Z is a historic aircraft and thus an important piece to the heritage of Beechcraft aviation.
A half century ago, Beechcraft announced the development of an â€œentry-level airplane that would launch a new way of life with the Beechcraft Musketeer.â€ In 1962, the first three of those Musketeers off the line were used to carry Beech sales teams across the nation to demo this new aircraft to pilots and dealers everywhere. Threezie was one of those â€œThree Musketeersâ€. It even gets better! BACâ€™s own Gene Nora Jessen piloted 3Z on that historic mission covering 48 states in 90 days. Her book, The Fabulous Flight of the Three Musketeers, chronicles her participation in that mission and presents a fascinating look into the very early days of our beloved Musketeers.
This historic aircraft will be acquired by BAC. It is airworthy, in reasonably good condition and carries the original logs from day one â€” showing all of those early flights, signed off by PIC Gene Nora Jessen. The aircraft will remain an asset of BAC and will be on loan to the Museum for display.
The Beech Aero Club, through all of its members, past, present and future, serves to protect the Musketeerâ€™s legacy. We are quite literally all that the Musketeer type has left to help ensure that legacy carries on well into the future. We can all be very proud to have been a part of making this happen, and to have played a major role in assuring that our piece of aviation history is secure.
This aircraft is the perfect choice to represent our Musketeer line … And what a perfect place in history it will assume, at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum.