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Posted 10/16/2008 Printable Fact Sheet
Blue Canoe
Cessna U-3A "Blue Canoe" S/N 57-05869
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Cessna U-3A "Blue Canoe"
S/N 57-05869

Crew:   One
Engines:   Two Continental O-470-M reciprocating; 240 hp each
Wingspan:   35 ft 8 in
Length:   27 ft 0 in
Height:   10 ft 5 in
Weight:   max: 4,830 lbs
Speed:   max: 238 mph; cruise: 180 mph
Range:   900 miles
Service Ceiling:   22,000 ft
Armament:   None
Cost:   $56,000

This U-3A, S/N 42-90406, was manufactured by Cessna Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas, and delivered to the USAF on July 29, 1957. The aircraft was immediately sent to the 4080th Air Base Group at Laughlin AFB, Texas, and redesignated U-3A in October 1958.

In May 1959, the U-3A was deployed to the 4080th Combat Support Group and one year later to the 4080th Strategic Wing, both at Laughlin AFB. After 1961, the aircraft spent an unknown amount of time at Davis- Monthan AFB, Arizona, before it was acquired by the East Coast Flying Service at Imeson Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 1966.

In December of the same year, the U-3A was transferred to the 100th Strategic Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB. The 161st Aeromedical Evacuation Group (ANG) at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix received the aircraft in October 1968 where it stayed until June 1969, when it went to the 111th Tactical Support Group (ANG) at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania. In March 1971 the 104th Tactical Fighter Group (ANG) at Barnes Field in Westfield, Massachusetts, utilized the aircraft until it was dropped from USAF inventory in June 1972.

In the fall of 1986, the Robins AFB Museum in Georgia was contacted by the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia, concerning two aircraft that were excess to the Army museum, a U-3A Blue Canoe and U-4 Aero Commander. 

Robins contacted Hill Aerospace Museum to see if it was interested in the U-3A, received an affirmative answer, and worked to have the aircraft transferred into the USAF Museum System. The U-3A was transported by Les Chapman Transport, Inc., from Virginia to Hill Aerospace Museum in June 1988, where it was placed on static display.

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