N218U | Cessna 310Q
- Aircraft type: Cessna 310Q
- Construction number: 310Q-0507
- Military serial: n/a
- Civilian registration: N218U
The Cessna 310 is an American six-seat, low-wing, twin-engined monoplane that was produced by Cessna between 1954 and 1980. It was the first twin-engined aircraft that Cessna put into production after World War II.
The first Cessna 310 flew on 3 January 1953 with deliveries started in late 1954. The sleek modern lines of the new twin engined aircraft were backed up by innovative features such as engine exhaust thrust augmenter 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 augmenter tubes, which were considered to be noisy.
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. In 1957, the United States Air Force 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. An additional 36 upgraded 310 aircraft, designated L-27B were delivered in 1960-61. A USAF study after one year of operational service found the aircraft had direct operating costs of less than $12 an hour.
The 310F was a variant of the original Cessna 310 model with a new instrument panel layout, 260hp engines, a swept vertical fin and additional cabin window on either side of the fuselage, re-designed wingtip fuel tanks, and an increased takeoff weight.
N218U was purchased in 2015, and is currently being repainted in to the colours of the Gazelle Squadron Display Team.