Top Flite Cessna 310




Although I didn’t know it at the time, my first encounter with a Cessna 310 was back in the 50’s watching the TV show “Sky King”. In those days, I was too young to know airplanes by name, and I couldn’t tell you anything about the show except for the fact that Sky King flew an airplane and he had a cute niece named Penny (Yep, even at that early age it was apparent that airplanes and cute women would be my life-long Achilles Heel).

But in the late 60’s my dad came home one day with the COOLEST model I had ever seen. It was indeed a Cessna 310, and that name has been indelibly etched on my brain ever since. It was not only sleek and sexy, but it was the first twin engine R/C model that I had ever seen. And those wing tanks! TOO COOL!

Now of course, in those days, retractable landing gear and flaps (or for that matter, ANYTHING beyond the basic 4 channels) were unheard of, but nonetheless, this baby was a thing of beauty.

I never got to fly it as it was WAY too advanced for my meager skills in those days. I never even thought of asking. This was dad’s “baby” and in the days before Buddy Boxes, well, the risks were just too great. After a while dad sold the 310, but its memory will linger as long as there’s a breath left in me.



Now Top-Flite has introduced its own version of this incredible airplane. But with technology where it is today, this 310 is a few notches above dads (to say the least!). Some of its features include a beautiful gel-coated fiberglass fuse, flaps, a pre-installed (and pre-wired) light system, and optional retracts. It is designed to fly on two OS .46AX engines, although some RCU members have successfully shoe-horned the new OS .55AX in there without having to hack up the cowl.

Since the .46AX is the recommended engine, that’s what I’m going to use. I am also going to add the optional Robart Retracts because? Well, a plane this beautiful really deserves retracts.

Ok, enough talk. Let’s get down to brass tacks.




Name: Top-Flite Cessna 310 ARF
Price: $499.98
Wingspan: 81 in (2057mm)
Wing Area: 914 in 2 (58.9dm2)
Weight (Advertised): 17-19 lb (7.7-8.6 kg)
Weight (Actual): 18.2 lb (8.26 kg)
Engines: Two O.S. .46AX w/ Bisson Mufflers
Battery used: NoBS 800 Series 4.8v
Radio equipment: Futaba 6EXAS 6-Channel Tx. w/ Futaba R168DF Receiver (8) Futaba S9001 Servos and (1) Futaba S3004 Servos

Items Needed To Complete

  • Two .46 -.50 2-Stroke Engines
  • 6-Channel Radio Minimum w/ 8 Servos (9 servos if Optional Retracts are used)
  • Fuel Tubing
  • CA Glue (Thin and Medium)
  • Epoxy (6 and 30-minute)
  • Standard hobby tools




  • MonoKote Covering
  • Fiberglass Fuse, Vertical Fin and Wing Tanks
  • Quality Hardware Included
  • Fully Detailed Manual
  • Preinstalled Light System




  • Instructions for installing cockpit lack detail





The first thing I noticed was the size of the box. This thing is huge! At 16?x 20?x 65 1/2?, this is one of the biggest boxes I?ve seen in a long time. When I opened it, I could see that the parts were nicely arranged, but it wasn?t immediately obvious until I started to unpack it what an outstanding job of packaging Top-Flite had done. Each part had been bagged, and each bag was securely taped in place.

Once the wings, stabs, and several other components had been removed, a cardboard divider completely covered the lower half – everything that is, except for the tip of the fin protruding into the upper chamber. It was an almost ominous feeling. I couldn’t help but think of how Howard Carter must have felt when he was opening Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus!


I removed the partition, and there it was. That sleek, dolphin-like shape neatly tucked between two giant blocks of polystyrene foam, with more boxed parts tucked along the sides. No doubt about it, Top-Flite gets an “A+” for packaging. It really looks like they went the extra mile to ensure their product didn’t suffer any damage.

They also include a nice foam and PVC stand. A small touch that is very nice!


Other goodies include the tanks and engine mounts, and a full cockpit including a pilot figure. The two polished aluminum spinners look great, and to keep them that way in shipping, they were individually wrapped in both plastic and bubble wrap.

For those of you who are not using the optional retracts, a really nice set of standard landing gear is supplied.



Here is a closer look at the Fiberglass wingtips. Aside from their beauty, you can see the light that is installed. What you can’t see is the extra long wire that will later go through the wing to connect to the rest of the lighting system.

Also, all control surfaces are taped in place, and since the fuselage is large enough to fit my camera in, I decided to take a shot down the tail just to get a good look at it.




As soon as I knew the Cessna 310 was heading my way, I downloaded the manual from the Top-Flite website. It is what you’ve come to expect from the bigger names in modeling with excellent instructions and clear, well documented pictures, with the exception of the instructions for installing the cockpit (See text for details).

The website also includes an addendum to the manual.




Assembly begins with the aileron hinges. CA hinges are supplied, and in a matter of minutes, they’re ready.



The next step is to hinge the split flaps, but this time nylon pinned hinges are used. I needed to open both sides of the holes a little to get a good fit. Then, after protecting the pivots with Vaseline, the hinges were epoxied in place.





The nacelles were bagged and boxed separately, and the construction is excellent. All joints are well glued, and each firewall is reinforced with tri-stock.

After cutting the pull strings, the nacelles are put in place and secured up front with an 8-32 cap screw. Then the strings are tied back together for use later.



The rear of each nacelle is secured with two sheet metal screws, and the threads are hardened with thin CA.



Now a control horn is installed “backward” on the top of the flap through an opening in the top of the wing. The flap servo is installed, and the linkage is cut to size and attached.

The cowls will conceal all of this later. The throttle servo is now installed in the underside of the nacelle.



The addendum to the manual now has you epoxy the aileron servo mounting blocks in place and add a screw to each block.



With the servo mounting blocks installed, I found that I needed to remove a bit of material to get the servo covers back in position. Once the servo was installed, a control horn is attached to the aileron and the linkage is attached.



Now comes the part I’ve been waiting for – adding the wingtips! Ah yes, now it’s no longer just a wing, it’s a Cessna 310 wing!

Once the epoxy had cured on the wingtips, all of the wires (3 servos, plus the wingtip lights) are pulled through to the wing root.

A little tip here is to note how I wrapped the connectors with tape to keep sharp corners from catching on the ribs.



Engine Spotlight




If you liked the .46 FX… you’re gonna love the .46 AX!

As the replacement for the high-performance .46 FX, it’s no wonder that the .46 AX shares many of its features. The raw power. A remote needle valve. Mounting bolt patterns. A balanced “D”-cut crankshaft supported by dual bearings. CNC-machining for the piston and other parts. And the same exclusive ABL cylinder liner that has made FX reliability a byword. But all the same, the .46 AX is a different ? and better ? engine. Why? Because times change and technology advances. And because O.S. uses the best of both to make a good engine a better engine.


Key Features

  • Features the .46 FX’s durable ABL (Advanced Bimetallic Liner) plating, as well as a new design that automatically centers, levels and seats the head during re-replacement. Head snugs down with only four screws ? not six.
  • Subtly tapered low-end needle eliminates surging at transition, ensuring exceptionally smooth, consistent throttle control from idle to top speed.
  • Redesigned liner ports and a ball-milled inlet port minimize turbulence during fuel/air mixing, making combustion and power output more predictable.
  • New high-speed needle bracket simplifies horizontal/vertical mounting ? and can be replaced in just minutes.
  • Minimizes vibration-induced “creep” and re-sets with a ratchet spring on the high-speed needle and O-ring seals on both needles. A simple rotor guide screw replaces the throttle stop screw ? and eliminates spring-related movement. Includes a new low-noise E-3010 muffler and 2-year warranty protection.
  • Includes a lock nut and longer crankshaft with more thread length, for better prop nut engagement and greater pilot safety.



  • Stock Number: OSMG0547
  • Displacement: 0.455 cu in (7.5 cc)
  • Bore: 0.866 in (22.0 mm)
  • Stroke: 0.772 in (19.6 mm)
  • Output: 1.65 hp @ 16,000 rpm
  • RPM Range: 2,000-17,000
  • Weight w/muffler: 17.2 oz (489 g)
  • Includes: #A3 glow plug, E-3010 muffler
  • Requires: glow fuel, prop
  • Recommended Props: 10.5×6, 11×6-8, 12×6-7


After a long debate as to which engines to use, I went with the recommended OS 46AX. I really considered using two OS 70 Surpass 4-strokes, but the temptation to keep the cowl intact proved to be too great. I also considered using the new OS 55AX, but I figured as long as I was going to use 2-strokes, I’d see how well the 310 flies on the recommended 46.



With the engine in place, the tank is installed. It was a tight fit, but using a putty knife as a shoehorn I was able to squeeze it in there. Once the tank is in place, two ¼” sticks get glued under it for support.



Now the exhaust stacks on the Bisson Mufflers must be cut down so the cowl can slide over them. I plan to extend these later to help keep the oil off. With the mufflers attached, the throttle pushrod is installed with only a minor bend needed to keep it from rubbing the tank.



Now the top of the nacelle is glued in place and they are ready for the cowls.



With the nacelles completed, I added a DuBro Remote Glow Ignitor. The cowls can now be slipped into place and the nacelle belly pans get screwed down. Be sure to harden these holes with CA because while the two rear holes go into plywood, the two side holes seem to be going into nothing but balsa sheeting.

At this point, the props and spinners can be added. I am using two Graupner 11 x 6 props for both their scale looks and their stump-pulling power. Then the wing gets bolted together for the next step.


Product Spotlight





Several RCU members have mentioned that the short exhaust stacks cause excessive noise and lead to a very messy wing. Lexaire makes a set of exhaust stacks machined from aircraft-grade aluminum that are specially designed for the Top-Flite Cessna 310.

You need to get a 9mm x 1.0 tap (Not found in most tap sets) and carefully tap the muffler holes. If you are not experienced with tapping holes, I suggest you find help – I spent nearly 20 years as a machinist and I got a little nervous at times, as it’s a pretty thin wall. But once the tapping is done, the extensions just screw into the mufflers after the cowl is in place. These things are really slick!

Lexaire recommends using red thread-lock to keep them secure. I didn’t have any handy, but there’s plenty of “meat” in the hex area, so I drilled holes and safety-wired them in place.




The wings are joined with aluminum tubes and held together with a single nylon bolt and then the belly pans finish off the wing. All that is required is for this is to remove the covering underneath and glue the two halves in place.





Fuselage assembly starts off with the tail feathers. Both the rudder and elevators use an internal linkage system, which really makes for a clean-looking installation.

The rudder tiller slides through a hole in the fuse and into a pre-installed nylon bearing. Then the control horn (which has a ball link already attached) is tightened in place.


The elevator torque rod is then slipped through two side holes. Note: Before attaching the elevators, I had to notch one of these holes to get the torque rod closer to the trailing edge of the stab. Not a big deal by any means, but I though it was worth mentioning.

Two tubes are inserted through the rear and the stabs get epoxied in place. Now the control surfaces can be hinged in place, and the empennage is finished.





The cockpit assembly was easy enough; you just lay the pieces in place with a little CA and your done. However, just for my own piece of mind I added a plywood plate to the underside and screwed the pilot in place.



Now comes the tough part – getting the cockpit in. This was the only step that took longer than I expected, and it was made even more frustrating by the lack of instructions and blurred pictures in the manual.

The cockpit is designed to sit in slots on balsa tabs, which are glued to the sides of the fuse. Two things made this particularly difficult. First, one of the slots had a lump of glue obstructing it, which I removed by concocting a special tool form an old hacksaw blade. So I would recommend sliding something into each of them first to make sure they are open.

The next problem was getting the cockpit floor forward enough to seat in the forward slots. The cockpit floor needs to go up and over the forward tabs. The problem is, it is such a tight fit that it doesn’t want to go up. Once I got it passed the tab, the rest was easy. If I had to do it again, I would remove the top of the tabs – at least on the two forward tabs. After all, the cockpit is not going to slide sideways, so as long as they have a base to rest on, the slots are really not necessary. But I do have to admit that the work was well worth the effort. The finished cockpit looks great!





This is one of the few times you need to work with wooden parts. The servo tray is laser-cut plywood and after installing the air tank (if you’re using retracts) you can glue in the two rails which the tray screws to.



The rudder and elevator servo are mounted in place, and the pushrods are connected with solder-on clevises.

Here’s another “slap on the hand” to the manual. The rudder servo in the pictures above is mounted as per the picture in the manual, but later, when it came time to install the nose wheel pull-pull wires, the servo is rotated 180 degrees. It needs to be this way to allow room for the pull-pull linkage, which meant having to remove and re-solder the clevis. This creates a binding issue with the elevator servo arm, so you will need to bend the rudder pushrod right behind the clevis to avoid problems.





While my personal preference is toward mechanical retracts, I have to admit that the Robart gear are outstanding pieces of craftsmanship. The nose gear drops right in, but I did not have the plastic tubes for the control wires in my model, so I added some DuBro antenna tubes for guidance.

Once the servo was rotated, the pull-pull linkage is installed and with the exception of hooking up that air lines, the nose wheel is done.



If you’re using retracts, you need to remove a small section of wood to make room for the retracted struts. Once that is done, the mains are secured in place, and the gear doors and gear covers get screwed on.

Now comes the fun part – Hooking up all those air hoses! I had a few air leaks in the “T” fittings, but a smear of Vaseline seemed to solve the problem.



I installed the air inlet valve on the bottom of the fuse behind the wing, and mounted the servo and air valve in place on the servo tray.

Finally, I installed a “Push on – Push off” switch for the lighting system. This allows me to turn it on and off by inserting any thin wire through a small hole in the side of the fuse.






I often say, “I’d rather be lucky than good”. Well, I got lucky again and during the “photo shoot” a private jet made a short stop-over.



I jokingly thought, “Isn’t it just like those jet guys to want to steal the spotlight?” But one look at the pilots reaction to the Cessna model showed me just how impressive it looks!







Our field was still very soggy, but with the advent of the new airport in town, the taxi strip at the old airport was just sitting there doing nothing (Ya gotta love small-town living). We were having an unseasonably nice day in mid-March. The temperature was up, but unfortunately, so was the wind. A direct cross wind of about 15mph was blowing, and I came close to postponing the maiden flight. But the next few days looked a lot worse, so I decided to risk it.

The OS 46AX’s cranked right up, and in no time, I was taxiing up and down the runway. The steering was a little sensitive so that got changed afterward, but aside from that, all seemed in good working order. The only thing left to do was power up and go.

I don’t often get nervous on a maiden flight, in fact, it’s very rare, but I have to admit that I had to do a few extra taxi runs before I got up the nerve to go for it.

Finally, I powered her up and let her run. The crosswind played havoc with the takeoff roll, but once she got airborne the wind became a non-issue. I needed to make a few minor trim changes, then, once I was satisfied with the trims, I brought the gear up. So far, so good – It’s time to get the feel of it

From about 250 ft, I put her into a steep descending turn in preparation for a low, high-speed pass over the runway. WOW! Ok, now I’ve digested those butterflies and I’m really beginning to enjoy this! The OS 46AX’s give the 310 plenty of speed, and most of the flight was flown at ½ to ¾ throttle. After a second low pass, I climbed out into a victory roll. The roll rate was perfect, not too fast or slow. In fact, all of the controls were responding just right. Only one control left to try – the flaps.

I brought the throttle back on the base leg and lowered the gear. My heart gave a slight sigh of relief to see all 3 of them come down. Then I dropped the flaps. There was a slight ballooning effect, which I was prepared for, but as she slowed down, she adopted a bit more of a nose-up attitude than I liked. I had the flaps set for full deflection, so I aborted the first landing attempt, and brought the flaps up to about ¾. This made flying more manageable, but now that crosswind really came into play. I have to admit that I was totally caught off guard by how much this plane floats in on landing. I mean, who would expect an 18lb plane with a high wing loading to float? But it sure did, and by the time I realized it, my approach was all wrong. Now I was starting to second-guess my decision to take off!

I brought the throttle back on the base leg and lowered the gear. My heart gave a slight sigh of relief to see all 3 of them come down. Then I dropped the flaps. There was a slight ballooning effect, which I was prepared for, but as she slowed down, she adopted a bit more of a nose-up attitude than I liked. I had the flaps set for full deflection, so I aborted the first landing attempt, and brought the flaps up to about ¾. This made flying more manageable, but now that crosswind really came into play. I have to admit that I was totally caught off guard by how much this plane floats in on landing. I mean, who would expect an 18lb plane with a high wing loading to float? But it sure did, and by the time I realized it, my approach was all wrong. Now I was starting to second-guess my decision to take off!

The third approach was much better now that I was a little more familiar with her. I set her down a little harder that I would have liked, but the Robart struts absorbed any shock, or at least I thought so until I got home. A more thorough inspection showed that the plastic wheel center on one of the main gear had broken, so once again, Lex-Aire came to the rescue. They make a set of very nice aluminum wheel hubs for the supplied wheels.

Back at the shop, I decreased the throw on the flaps and mixed a little down elevator into them. I also decreased the throw on the nose gear. Now I get to wait around for good weather.

Waiting for good weather took a lot longer than I had hoped, but finally, I got a good day and brought the 310 back out to the field. The lack of wind really let me see how well it flew – and it flew very well! Solid as a rock with no bad habits at all. The elevator mix was just what the flaps needed, and it only took a tiny bit (4%) to keep the nose level.

But the next day the weather turned nasty again and stayed that way for 3 weeks. Finally there was a break, and I had someone available to shoot video. So we left work and went straight to the field to get some footage. I think you’ll like the way she looks in the video!





The Top-Flite Cessna 310 flies as good as it looks. Two strong .46 2-stroke engines are plenty of power, but for those who want that extra insurance, the new OS 55AX will also fit without having to cut up the cowl. The high wing loading that some people are concerned about is a non-issue, the plane is in no way underpowered or overweight, at least it sure doesn’t fly like it is.

The assembly process is not quick, but then, there’s a lot to this airplane and the manual guides you easily through each step (Except for the cockpit). And although assembly is a little time consuming, the time you put into it is well rewarded.

Overall, it handles like a dream. It’s not something that I would recommend to people with limited flying time, but that’s more because of the advanced nature of the plane than the plane itself. For those of you who enjoy the challenge of twin engines, like a go-where-you-point-it airplane, and want something with plenty of “Wow Factor”, the Top-Flite Cessna 310 is a must-have airplane!



Distributed through Tower Hobby
3002 N. Apollo Drive, Suite #1
Champaign IL 61822
Phone: (217) 398-8970

Futaba Radios
DiDistributed through Tower Hobby
3002 N. Apollo Drive, Suite #1
Champaign IL 61822
Phone: (217) 398-8970

O.S. Engines
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4105 Fieldstone Rd.
Champaign, IL 61822
Phone: (217) 352-1913

NoBS Batteries, Inc..
139 Oak St
Patchogue NY 11772-2844
Phone: 631-610-5169




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