U-3A "Blue Canoe"
Popularly known in the Air Force as the "Blue Canoe," the U-3 is the military version of the Cessna 310 light twin-engine transport. The prototype made its first flight on January 3, 1953. Production for the civilian market began in 1954, and in 1957, the USAF selected the aircraft for service as a light administrative liaison, cargo and utility transport. The Air Force eventually bought 160 of the 310s "off-the-shelf" under the original designation L-27A, later changed to U-3A. Thirty-five more were delivered in 1960-61 as U-3Bs--all weather versions with more powerful engines, additional cabin windows, a longer nose and a swept vertical fin.
The Cessna 310 is representative of one of the smaller twin-engine aircraft offered for business use. The aircraft is a low-wing configuration with an engine mounted in each wing on either side of the fuselage. The aircraft can be had with both normally aspirated engines or with turbosuperchargers. The specifications and performance given in table III are for the aircraft without turbosupercharging. The engines are six-cylinder, horizontally opposed, Continental engines of 285 horsepower each that drive controllable-pitch, full-feathering propellers. The aircraft normally has a seating capacity of five but can be configured for six. Maximum speed is 238 miles per hour at sea level, and cruising speed is 223 miles per hour at 7500 feet. The wings are equipped with split flaps which with a wing loading of 30.7 pounds per square foot result in a stalling speed of 77 miles per hour. The gross weight of the aircraft is 5500 pounds. The Cessna 310 has a zero-lift drag coefficient of 0.0267 and a maximum lift-drag ratio of 13. The Cessna 310 was first flown in January 1953. The aircraft is unpressurized and may be thought of as the smallest of a whole line of Cessna twins, both pressurized and unpressurized.
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