The Cessna 310 is an American four-to-six-seat, low-wing, twin-engined monoplane produced by Cessna between 1954 and 1980. It was the first twin-engined aircraft that Cessna put into production after World War II.
Length: 8.23 m
Cruise speed: 330 km/h
Top speed: 354 km/h
Range: 1,609 km
Unit cost: 59,950–59,950 USD (1959)
Engine type: Flat engine
Number built: 5449 (310); 577 (320)
The Cessna 310 was a common charter aircraft for the many air taxi firms that sprang up in the general aviation boom that followed World War II. The advantages of the Cessna 310 over its contemporaries, such as the Piper PA-23, were its speed,
operating costs and after market modifications such as the Robertson STOL kits which made it popular worldwide for its bush flying characteristics. It could use short runways while at the same time carrying a large useful load of 2,000 lb (910 kg). or more, at high speeds for a twin engine piston aircraft.
In 1957, the United States Air Force (USAF) selected the Cessna 310 for service as a light utility aircraft for transport and administrative support. The USAF purchased 160 unmodified 310A aircraft with the designation L-27A and unofficially nicknamed Blue Canoe, later changed to U-3A in 1962.
An additional 36 upgraded 310 designated L-27B (later U-3B) were delivered in 1960–61; these aircraft were essentially military 310Fs and as such equipped with the more powerful 260 hp (194 kW) engines and can be identified by their extra cabin windows, longer nose and swept vertical fin.
A USAF study after one year of operational service found the U-3A had direct operating costs of less than $12 an hour. The U-3 saw active service in a support role when the USAF deployed aircraft to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, where they were used on courier flights between air bases.Some USAF aircraft were later transferred to the US Army and US Navy and the type continued in US military service into the mid-1970s.
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