12:03 PM

Silvered Wings: Cessna U-3B 'Blue Canoe'

Cessna U-3B “Blue Canoe” N5215G

  • Capacity: four to six
  • Length: 27 feet
  • Maximum speed: 238 mph
  • Cruise speed: 180 mph
  • Range: 900 miles
  • Service ceiling: 22,000 feet

Popularly known in the U.S. Air Force as the “Blue Canoe,” the U-3 is the military version of the Cessna 310 light twin-engine transport. The U-3B variant was delivered in 1960-1961 as an all-weather type with more powerful engines, a longer nose, and a swept vertical tail.

With its older-style “tuna tanks,” N5215G served Civil Air Patrol’s Alaska Wing in the 1970s following service in Vietnam. It was later discovered and purchased by the Alaska Wing’s Capt. Tim Maynard and his wife, Maj. Deb Maynard, who have restored and repainted it with a Kennedy era-inspired livery.

Maj. Ron Finger is a freelance illustrator and member of the Minnesota Wing’s Crow Wing Composite Squadron. The longtime military and aviation history buff’s earliest aviation painting assignments appeared as covers for in-flight magazines.

Later, Minneapolis defense contractors like 3M, Control Data, Honeywell and Unisys kept Finger busy with painting assignments for aircraft, submarines, ships, and tanks. In 2012 he joined the Air Force Art Program, where a select pool of artists are assigned “art missions” to document specific U.S. Air Force Operations.

Painting “to honor those who serve” is the motto on the art program patch and defines Finger’s continuing efforts as an aviation artist. His new staff position as CAP’s national artist feeds his passions for researching and creating art that portrays historical emergency service. A pet goal is to complete paintings documenting every aircraft type Civil Air Patrol has flown. 

This is the fourth painting in Finger's second series of depictions of vintage CAP aircraft.

More of Finger’s CAP artwork can be seen at redpine.net.

Silvered Wings No. 1 – Fleetwings Sea Bird F-401

Silvered Wings No. 2  Curtiss-Wright 15-D Sedan

Silvered Wings No. 3 Rearwin Sportster 7000