Food & Flight: Olive Ann Beech's Supper Nachos

Posted on Mon, August 29, 2016
  • by: MaryCate Most, Digital Experiences Intern

Black and white photo of Olive and Louise pose in front of airplane.

Louise Thaden stands with her hand on the shoulder of Olive Ann Beech in front of a Beechcraft Model 23 Musketeer in July 1963. Image: NASM 83-2143

Olive Ann Beech is proof that some milestones in aviation occur with two feet firmly planted on the ground. Olive Ann co-founded Beech Aircraft Corporation with husband Walter Beech and became the first female executive of an aircraft company when she took the reins in 1940.

Olive Ann started working as a bookkeeper and secretary at the Travel Air Manufacturing Company (which Walter also founded) and then served as Beechcraft’s first treasurer when she and Walter founded the company in 1932. When World War II struck, Beechcraft grew exponentially. Over 14,000 Beechcraft employees produced approximately 7,400 airplanes for the U.S. and Allied armed forces.

Walter passed away in 1950, making Olive Ann the president of the company. In her time serving as the executive of Beechcraft, the company’s sales tripled.

In Famous Personalities of Flight Cookbook, Olive Ann shared a recipe for supper nachos and a little insight into her early years in the aircraft industry.

In the Travel Air days, Mr. Beech and the pilots wanted to teach me to fly. Their idea of instruction was to take me up and then stunt the airplane. In those days, you know, a plane was no good unless it flew upside down.

Hopefully, the instruction that Olive Ann provided for her Supper Nachos will be a little less hair-raising.

Supper Nachos

Snapshot of a plate of super nachos.

Olive Ann’s Supper Nachos are fantastic and super filling. Image Courtesy: MaryCate Most, Digital Experiences Intern

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cans refried beans
  • 4 ounces whole California green chilies or green chili sauce
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar cheese (or a combination of both)
  • ¾ cup prepared green or red taco sauce


  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup pitted ripe olives
  • 1 cup guacamole or ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 mild red pickled pepper
  • Fresh parsley sprigs


  1. Fry meat until brown and add salt and pepper to taste. Push meat to one side. Add onion and brown.
  2. Spread one or two cans refried beans in a shallow 10 x 15-inch oval pan or oven-proof dish. Top evenly with meat and onions.
  3. Chop 1 can green chilies and spread over meat. Cover evenly with shredded cheese and drizzle taco sauce over cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered at 400º for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese melts. Remove from oven and garnish with any or all of the items listed.
  5. Serve with nachos, corn chips, tortillas, or tacos. If used as a main dish, serve with tossed salad. Good as an appetizer, but filling.