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Blue Angels pilot excited to have family at the airshow

LYNCHBURG ( WSLS 10) –  The United States Navy Blue angels team has arrived in Lynchburg ahead of their 70th anniversary show in the Hill City this weekend.

The Blue Angels haven’t performed in Lynchburg since 2011.

Thousands are expected to watch as Navy and Marine pilots show off over the Lynchburg airfield.

Thursday, the C-130, affectionately known as Fat Albert, landed.

The jet was carrying Airshow team member, who say they are just as excited for the event as the fans.

Kyle McDaniel is a serviceman on the team.

“It makes me proud,” McDaniel said. “Getting to see them fly, and getting to see the people be excited to see them fly and knowing that I was an integral part of that – it makes me proud.”

For some of the team, like McDaniel, it’s their first stop in the Commonwealth.

But for others, it’s a welcome return to fly over familiar crowds. Pilot Mark Montgomery is the man who flies the beloved Fat Albert.

 “It’s great, every weekend we love to perform for the crowd,” Montgomery said.

This is the Georgia native’s first year as the pilot. He previously spent 5 years learning to fly C-130’s at Cherry Point, then spent a year at Camp LeJune in North Carolina.

He says he was serving in Quantico this time last year.

After a rigorous application process, he was accepted as the pilot into the Blue Angels flight demonstration team.

He travels every week to a new stop across the country.

This weekend, however, he will have a special audience who will show up just for him.

“My wife’s family is from Danville, Virginia, which is right up the
road. So they are coming down,” Montgomery said with a smile.

He says having his mother-in-law Kathy Tarpley Deaner and his wife Brittany watch from below will be special.

“Family coming to see, ya- know it means something,” Montgomery said.

Before he flies he wanted to send them a special message.

“I miss you and I love you,” Montgomery said.