Designation: U-3A

Cessna U-3A

Cessna U-3A (L-27A) Blue Canoe

A picture of the Cessna U-3A Blue Canoe

The U-3A is the military variant of the civilian Cessna Model 310.  The 310 proved very successful in the civil market and was chosen by the Air Force in 1957 for use as a light utility transport.  Initially called the L-25A approximately 160 were ordered in 1957 and 1958, a further 30 were ordered in 1960 with more powerful engines and called L-27B.  The designation of these aircraft was changed in 1962 to U-3A and U-3B.  The planes’ distinctive blue and white paint scheme led to the unofficial nickname “Blue Canoe.” 

One of the more unusual uses for the U-3 was as a chase plane and trainer for the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance plane.  The Cessna’s cockpit is at almost exactly the same height as that of the U-2 and with proper power settings the plane flies almost identically to the U-2 in the landing configuration.  New U-2 pilots would perfect the very precise skills needed to safely land with an instructor in the U-3 before trying it in the single seat U-2.

Wingspan 35 ft 9 in.

Wingspan

Length 27 ft

Length

Height 10 ft 5 in.

Height

Weight 4,830 pounds (loaded)

Weight

Max. Speed 238 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 22,000 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 900 miles

Range

Engines Two Continental O-470-M with 240 horsepower each

Engines

Crew 1 and 4 passengers

Crew


Manufacturer
Cessna

Markings
100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, 1974

Designation
U-3A

Serial Number
58-2107

Cessna 310A

Cessna Model 310A (U-3A)

A picture of the Cessna Model 310A

The U-3A is the military variant of the civilian Cessna Model 310.  The 310 first flew in 1953 with the first deliveries beginning the following year.  The 310 proved very successful in the civil market and was chosen by the Air Force in 1957 for use as a light utility transport.  Initially called the L-25A approximately 160 were ordered in 1957 and 1958, a further 30 were ordered in 1960 with more powerful engines and called L-27B.  The designation of these aircraft was changed in 1962 to U-3A and U-3B.

A number of military surplus U-3 aircraft found their way into the hands of civilians and other government agencies after their military service.  The Forest Service acquired this aircraft for use as a “lead plane” in fighting forest fires.  The job of a lead plane is to fly ahead of the large fire bombers and safely direct them to their drop points.

Wingspan 35 ft 9 in.

Wingspan

Length 27 ft

Length

Height 10 ft 5 in.

Height

Weight 4,830 pounds (loaded)

Weight

Max. Speed 238 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 22,000 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 900 miles

Range

Engines Two Continental O-470-M with 240 horsepower each

Engines

Crew 1 and 4 passengers

Crew


Manufacturer
Cessna

Markings
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1971

Designation
U-3A

Registration
N182Z

Serial Number
58-2183

Pima Air & Space Museum

Creating unlimited horizons in aerospace education through the preservation and presentation of the history of flight.

Charity EIN: 86-6031135

Copyright © 2020
Website by CS Design Studios
Privacy Policy

Contact Info

520-574-0462

6000 E. Valencia Road Tucson, AZ 85756

Open 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Daily
Last Admittance at 1:30pm