It usually begins with Fat Albert.
The bulky, slow-moving C-130 support plane rumbles through the sky and then there’s a moment of silence before you hear the roar of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the bright blue jets swoop over San Francisco, rattling windows, waking up napping babies, and leading many to feel that same rush of excitement they experience when watching the film Top Gun.
But the plane affectionately referred to by many as simply “Bert” won’t be making its usual circle around the city at the beginning and end of the Blue Angels shows during Fleet Week 2016 in San Francisco.
Lt. Joe Hontz, a spokesperson for the Navy’s flying team, said in a statement, “Fat Albert is undergoing maintenance at Hill Air Force Base to repair mechanical issues. The timetable for repairs has not been determined . . . and Fat Albert will not return for the 2016 season.”
A back-up C-130 is supporting the team, transporting show loads and personnel to each demonstration site, for the remainder of the 2016 air show season, and as of Friday afternoon, Hontz said it’s still unknown whether it will fly in the S.F. demonstration.
According to an article on Airshow Stuff, Fat Albert went out of commission over the summer and also skipped the Seattle Seafair Show in August.