Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

Cessna P210


In 2000, Cessna’s first retractable single turned 40. No doubt, the engineers employed by the Wichita manufacturer would be amazed to learn that their handiwork is prized as the model enters its fifth decade. So much so that pilots with large families and a penchant for speed may want to take this opportunity to face the general direction of Kansas and salute. Although it wasn’t so in the beginning, the Cessna 210, eventually called Centurion, would become an alluring high-performance load-hauler. Its ability to tote a serious load at speeds fully reasonable for the installed power has made the 210 a top seller when new and quite desirable as a used aircraft.

When the pressurized Skymaster was introduced in 1971, quite a few pilots thought a pressurized 210 would follow fairly soon. There were a lot of similarities between the two, particularly in the fuselage.

By then the 210 had evolved considerably from its original version. It already was considered a good combination of performance, load carrying and loading flexibility. The T210 had been introduced in 1967, so operational experience and development had been taking place, in effect, too.

It was not until late 1977, however, that the pressurized single made it to the market. It did not represent new technology or equipment. The engine/turbo system had been well proven. It is, however, a fairly successful marriage or agglomeration of what existed and a concept: all-weather, high altitude, single-engine flight.

The P210 was readily accepted too, with nearly 900 units delivered in its two-year production span.

Is the pressurized model worth the extra money though? If you fly a lot and have schedules to keep, once you have flown a pressurized airplane, the answer will be yes. Noise level is lower. The noisiest part of a P210 from the cabin is the avionics cooling fan. And noise is a large factor in fatigue. So are the physiological factors, such as reduced oxygen, as low as 10,000 ft. The difference in fatigue levels after a long flight is remarkable.

The P210 is almost as much a set of systems that are transported by air as is a turbine aircraft. It is a checklist airplane and one that is operated by a manager. Operational considerations and flight planning are key. The decisions you make before you buy it and fly it will affect greatly the flying you do in it. What it can do and how well it does it are more important than how it flies. It is a set of compromises to achieve a capability.

See the original articles:
Used Aircraft Report: Hail Centurion

-Edward G. Tripp, AOPA Pilot, November 1980

Performance Summary

The P210 is an all metal, six place, high wing, single engine airplane equipped with retractable tricycle landing gear, and a cabin pressurization system. It is designed for general utility purposes.
This airplane is certificated in the normal category. Spins and aerobatic maneuvers are not permitted in normal category airplanes. The airplane is approved for day and night VFR/IFR operations when equipped in accordance with F.A.R. 91 or F.A.R 135.

The airplane is powered by a horizontally opposed, six cylinder, direct drive, turbocharged, air cooled, fuel injected engine. The engine is a Continental Model TSIO-520-AF and is rated at 310 horsepower.

The airplane fuel system consists of two 45 gallon vented integral fuel tanks (one in each wing), a fuel selector valve, a reservoir, and auxiliary fuel pump, an on-off valve, fuel strainer, engine-driven fuel pump, fuel/air control unit, fuel manifold, and fuel injection nozzles. Vapor and excess fuel from the engine-driven fuel pump and fuel/air control unit are returned by way of a separate segment of the selector valve to the wing fuel tank or tanks, as selected by the fuel selector handle position.

The airplane has a 28-volt direct current electrical system powered by a belt-driven 60-amp alternator and a battery.


  1982 Cessna P210N
Pressurized Centurion
1986 Cessna P210R Pressurized Centurion
Model Cont. TSIO-520-AF Cont. TSIO-520-CE
No. Cylinders 6 6
Displacement 520 cu. in. 520 cu. in.
HP 285/310 325
Carbureted Or Fuel Injected Fuel Injected Fuel Injected
Fixed Pitch/ Constant Speed Propeller Constant Speed Constant Speed
Fuel Capacity 90 gallons 90 gallons
Long Range Tanks: 120 gallons
Min. Octane Fuel 100 100
Avg. Fuel Burn at 75% power in standard conditions per hour 17.1 gallons Unknown
Weights and Capacities:    
Takeoff/Landing Weight Normal Category 4,000/3,800 lbs. 4,100/3,900 lbs.
Takeoff/Landing Weight Utility Category N/A N/A
Standard Empty Weight 2,426 lbs. 2,471 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Normal Category 1,574 lbs. 1,629 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Utility Category N/A N/A
Baggage Capacity 200 lbs. 200 lbs.
Oil Capacity 10 quarts 10 quarts
Do Not Exceed Speed 200 KIAS 200 KIAS
Max. Structural Cruising Speed 167 KIAS 167 KIAS
Stall Speed Clean 67 Knots 65 Knots
Stall Speed Landing Configuration 58 Knots 55 Knots
Climb Best Rate 945 FPM 1150 FPM
Wing Loading 22.9 lbs./sq. ft. 22.1 lbs./sq. ft.
Power Loading 12.9 lbs./hp 12.6 lbs./hp
Service Ceiling 23,000 ft. 25,000 ft.