Cessna 310

Cessna 310J - 1965 Cessna 310J
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Type: Civilian

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Information on the 310

The Cessna 310 was the first twin-engine aircraft design from Cessna to enter production after World War II.

The 310 first flew on January 3, 1953 with deliveries starting in late 1954. The sleek modern lines of the new twin were backed up by innovative features such as engine exhaust thrust augmentor tubes and the storage of all fuel in tip tanks in early models. In 1964, the engine exhaust was changed to flow under the wing instead of the augmentor tubes, which were considered to be noisy.

The initial test flying was done by E. B. "Fritz" Feutz. He also did the first flight on the Cessna 172 and others.


Typical of Cessna model naming conventions, a letter was added after the model number to identify changes to the original design over the years. The first significant upgrade to the 310 series was the 310C in 1959, which introduced more powerful 195 kW (260 hp) Continental IO-470-D engines. In 1960 the 310D featured swept back vertical tail surfaces. An extra cabin window was added with the 310F. The 320 Skynight was developed from the 310F, which featured turbocharged TSIO-470-B engines and a fourth cabin side-window. The Skyknight was in production between 1961 and 1969 (the 320E was named the Executive Skyknight), when it was replaced by the similar Turbo 310.

The 310G introduced the 'stabilatip' tip tanks, while the 310K replaced the rear two windows with a single unit. Subsequent developments include the 310Q and turbocharged T310Q with redesigned rear cabin with a skylight window, and the final 310R and T310R, identifiable for their lengthened noses. Production ended in 1980.

The Cessna 310-B Songbird, registration N5348A, gained fame from being featured in the popular TV show Sky King during the late 1950s.

Commercial applications

The Cessna 310 was a common charter aircraft for the many air taxi firms that sprang up in the general aviation boom that followed WWII. The advantages to the Cessna 310 over its contemporaries, such as the Piper Aztec, were its speed, operating costs and after market modifications such as the Robertson STOL kits which made it popular world wide for its bush flying characteristics. It could access short fields while at the same time carrying a large useful load of 2000 lb. or more at high speeds for a twin engine piston aircraft.

Other competitive planes to the Cessna 310 include the Raytheon (Beech) Baron, the Piper Seneca and arguably, some models of the Aero Commander.

On October 4, 1975, a Cessna 310Q chartered by Jim Crockett Promotions crashed in Wilmington, North Carolina on way from Charlotte to a wrestling show in Wilmington. This was the infamous plane crash that nearly ended the career of Ric Flair.

As of 2006, many Cessna 310s were in operation in air taxi service world wide.

Military applications (U-3)

In 1957, the US Air Force selected the Cessna 310 for service as a light utility aircraft for transport and administrative support. The USAF purchased 160 unmodified 310 aircraft using the original designation L-27A, later changed to U-3A. An additional 35 upgraded U-3B models were delivered in 1960-61; these aircraft were equipped with the more powerful engines used in the 310C, and can be identified by their extra cabin windows, longer nose and swept vertical fin. USAF pilots often referred to the U-3 as the "Blue Canoe."

Countries known to have operated the U-3 include Colombia, Ecuador, France, Indonesia, Iran, Madagascar, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United States (US Air Force & US Army), Venezuela, Uruguay and Zaire.

Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cessna 310".

310 Specifications

Length: 23 ft 11 in (9.7 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 11 in (11.2 m)
Height: 10 ft 8 in (3.3 m)
Empty weight: 3,347 lb (1,518 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight: 5,500 lb (2,495 kg)
Maximum speed: 238 mph (383 km/h)
Range: 1,440 mi (2,668 km)
Powerplant: 2 Continental IO-470-M flat-6 piston engines
Power: 240 hp (179 kW) each

Additional 310 Photos

Cessna 310N - 1968 Cessna 310N

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