The story of the Morane-Saulnier MS.760 ‘Paris’
While it is not uncommon for the military to use business jets like the Gulfstream V, military aircraft used as business jets are rare. During the 1950s, the French Air Force was looking for a jet aircraft to use as a trainer.
In response to his request, Parisian aircraft manufacturer Morane-Saulnier offered the MS.755 Fleuret, a two-seat jet trainer. However, the French Air Force preferred the Fouga CM.170 Magister and chose it as their primary training aircraft.
Morane-Saulnier redesigns the plane
Although he did not win the military contract, Morane-Saulnier decided to redesign the MS.755 to allow it to operate as a four-seat liaison aircraft called the new “MS.760 Paris”. To achieve the conversion, Morane-Saulnier got rid of the aircraft’s armament and ejection hatch down and repositioned the rear cabin bulkhead farther aft. Despite all the changes, the aircraft retained its positive flight characteristics, which meant that it could still be used as a training aircraft.
When promoting the plane, Morane-Saulnier said it could climb to 22,900 feet in 18 minutes and had a top speed of 400 mph and a range of 930 miles. The main fuel tank could hold 220 gallons of fuel with an additional 55 gallons in each wingtip tank. As a safety measure, the wingtip tanks were fitted with a valve that allowed the pilot to jettison fuel in an emergency.
Activation of the aircraft’s flaps and landing gear was done using electric motors, while the aircraft’s nose contained most of the avionics and electrical systems. Power for the aircraft was provided by a pair of Turbomeca Marboré turbojet engines which could easily be worked on by detaching the tailplane. The wings could also be easily separated from the aircraft without the need to remove the landing gear. A single molding was used for the canopy of the fully pressurized and air-conditioned cockpit.
The French Air Force and Navy liked the plane
The decision to redesign the aircraft paid off after the French military placed an order for 50 aircraft. They intended to use the liaison functions while replacing the Noralpha and Nord Norécrin, a re-engined version of the Messerschmitt Bf 108.
Early Morane-Saulnier Paris aircraft were fitted with four seats, two forward and two directly aft, and retractable tricycle landing gear. For a time in the mid-1950s, Morane-Saulnier Paris was the only twin-engine civilian aircraft, with no direct competitors available.
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Beech was interested in building the aircraft in the United States
This generated considerable interest from the Beech Aircraft Corporation. Beech thought he could build the aircraft under license and sell it to the United States Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force as a training aircraft. Failing to attract enough interest, Beech abandoned the idea in 1961 following the arrival of more sophisticated business jets like the Lockheed JetStar and the North American Sabreliner.
The same year, Morane-Saulnier declared bankruptcy and was taken over by fellow French planner Potez. The new company continued work on the Paris, and in 1964 a prototype six-seat version called “MS.760C Paris III” was built but never entered production. A total of 219 Morane-Saulnier MS.760 Paris aircraft were built and used by the French Air Force, French Navy, Argentine Air Force and Brazilian Air Force.