U-3A “Blue Canoe”

Popularly known in the U.S. Air Force as the “Blue Canoe,” the U-3 is the military version of the Cessna 310 twin-engine transport. The prototype made its first flight on Jan. 3, 1953, and production for the civilian market began in 1954. In 1957 the USAF selected the aircraft for service as a light administrative liaison, cargo and utility transport. The Air Force eventually bought 160 “off-the-shelf” under the original designation L-27A, later changed to U-3A. Thirty-five more were delivered in 1960-1961 as U-3Bs — all weather versions with more powerful engines, additional cabin windows, a longer nose and a swept vertical fin.

Serial Number: 58-2126
First Flight:
3 January 1953
Crew: 1 pilot
Payload: 4 passengers
Powerplant: 2x Continental O-470-B
27 ft
36 ft 11 in
10 ft 8 in
Empty Weight:
3,347 lbs
Loaded Weight:
5,500 lbs
Maximum Speed:
238 mph
Cruise Speed:
205 mph
Range: 850 mi
Service Ceiling: 22,000 ft
AMC Museum Restoration Crew Chief: Bernie Coleman

Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's U-3A “Blue Canoe”, serial number 58-2126:

Date Location
16 Jul 1958 Manufactured by Cessna Aircraft, Wichita, KS and delivered to USAF
Jul 1958 to 1100th Air Base Wing (USAF Headquarters Command), Bolling AFB, Washington D.C. (to U-3A)
Aug 1959 to 4501st Support Squadron (Tactical Air Command), James Connally AFB, TX
Sep 1960 to 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing (TAC), Luke AFB, AZ
Sep 1968 to Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
Jul 1969 to 111th Tactical Air Support Group (Air National Guard), NAS Willow Grove, PA
Apr 1971 to 110th Tactical Air Support Group (ANG), Kellogg Field, MI
Sep 1972 Dropped from inventory and transferred to another agency
Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

My first duty in Vietnam in 1968 was as Crew Chief for two U-3B aircraft assigned to Detachment 1 460th TRW at Tan Son Nhut AFB, Saigon.

These aircraft were used as support aircraft for 7th Air Force Headquarters for transporting reconnaissance information between bases within Vietnam.

my dad flew the U-3b and T-39 1968-69 at Tan Son Nhut AB under the 6250th Combat Support Group