Flight Test: Cessna T303 Crusader

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August 2013

One privilege of conducting air tests is that one gets to fly airplanes the like of which one would not normally experience. However, I have no desire to become a professional pilot, and am happy to remain a club-level PPL and react as one in such a situation. So, when an invitation was received from Roche Bentley (a true multi-business entrepreneur) to fly his uncommon and desirable twin, it was accepted with alacrity.

In January 1953 Cessna flew the prototype of one of their most successful light twins, the Model 310. This was at first deemed to be something of a “hot ship,” but with continued improvement over many years it became one of Cessna’s all-time greats. Over 5,730 were built—the most numerous version being the last, the 310R with three-blade props, a lengthened nose and a maximum all-up weight (AUW, or max gross) increased by a massive 65 percent over early 310s

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