New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly dropped in March as civilian aircraft bookings plunged, but recorded their largest gain in more than two years excluding transportation, government data showed on Friday.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 1.3 percent, the biggest drop since August, following an upwardly revised 1.1 percent gain February.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast orders rising 0.3 percent last month from February's previously reported 0.9 percent increase.

New durable goods orders excluding transportation jumped 2.8 percent last month, the largest rise since December 2007, after increasing 1.7 percent in February. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected new orders excluding transportation to rise 0.7 percent.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)