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Going for a Ride in “Fat Albert”

The Blue Angels will challenge the limits of aviation with their precision and acrobatic flight, but the team’s maintenance and support crew also takes pride in pushing the envelope.

The Blue Angels will challenge the limits of aviation with their precision and acrobatic flight, but the team’s maintenance and support crew also takes pride in pushing the envelope.

Their C-130 Hercules, affectionately called “Fat Albert,” will be performing zero-g maneuvers. And on Friday, the crew let KPVI climb aboard.

No that wasn’t the plane going down… those were just screams of fear… as “Fat Albert” performed a Zero-G maneuver and gravity was sucked out of the plane. The plane also performs tight left and right turns just feet from the ground.

Maj. Mark Montgomery/Pilot, “It’s fairly nimble for its size. I know you felt and hopefully the crowd saw it.”

“Fat Albert” is the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels’ workhorse and during combat situations it’s just as important. The plane is used for assault support during missions, and many of the maneuvers “Fat Albert” performs during shows replicates what you would see a plane in the Marine Fleet execute.

Maj. Mark Montgomery/Pilot, “What we do in this aircraft is the same exact thing that we do in the fleet. We do high performance climbs, we do push overs to land and high performance turns. It’s all low altitude tactics.”

The C-130 Hercules began flying in the 1950s and it’s the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft. In the eight minute demonstration the 24 year old aircraft is flown by three pilots, engineer and navigator. If equipment breaks down during a show, Fat Albert travels to the nearest supply point to gather supplies, making the big C-130 irreplaceable.

Maj, Mark Montgomery/Pilot, “It’s an honor to perform for crowds and showcase what we can do as a crew. It’s also great to represent the Marines and Sailors in the fleet and all over the world right now.”

You can watch “Fat Albert” and the rest of the Blue Angels this weekend in Idaho Falls during the Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show.

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