New Details On Blue Angels’ Fat Albert Replacement Process

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Fat Albert Replacement Confirmed

In a statement to NewsRadio 1620 in Pensacola, Naval Air Systems Command, commonly known as NavAir, confirmed that they are looking to the Royal Air Force for a replacement for a new Fat Albert.

The new report sheds a little more light on the situation after the original news that the RAF was listed in a contract to replace the current Fat Albert.

The biggest take away from the new post is that acquisition of a C-130J from the Royal Air Force would serve as a permanent replacement for the Blue Angels. The aircraft’s primary role is to transport the team’s equipment, and there is no confirmation yet whether the new C-130J will perform at airshows or not.

“High operational tempo and current in demand nature of Navy assets” was listed as the reason for the Navy looking to the Royal Air Force for a replacement instead of just taking one from the fleet. In addition, the current Fat Albert air frame is “nearing its structural end of life and the United Kingdom MOD C-130J presents an economical solution for its replacement.”

The Royal Air Force currently has a surplus of C-130J models in storage, making them an ideal source of a new Blue Angel support aircraft.

Fat Albert and the rest of the C-130T fleet has been grounded since last summer’s crash of a C-130 in Mississippi that killed all 16 service members. Before that, Bert missed airshows while undergoing an extensive overhaul.

At this time, the acquisition and delivery of the new C-130J is still in the planning stages. It is unknown when the new Fat Albert will be obtained by the team, let alone resume flying. It is also yet to be confirmed that the aircraft will don the famous blue and gold colors once acquired, but the fact that this is a permanent solution is promising.

We may very well be in for an entire show season without Fat Albert. Although disappointing for the fans, it is even harder on the team as they need to rely on other transportation. It may even lead to more broken jets as the team struggles to get spare parts in time to perform.

Stay tuned to AirshowStuff for updates on this developing story, and add your own thoughts in our forums!

Also take a look at the Blue Angels 2018 airshow schedule!

Blue Angels Look To Royal Air Force For Replacement Fat Albert Aircraft

posted in: Jet Teams | 3

Blue Angels Look to RAF for C-130J

“Fat Albert” could soon be traveling with the Blue Angels, thanks in part to the Royal Air Force.

FBO.gov, the Federal Government’s Contracting website posted a contract notice looking for an urgent replacement for the Blue’s current Bert.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to negotiate and award a sole source contract with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD), Whitehall, London, United Kingdom for the procurement of one (1) C-130J under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, “Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements.” The Government requires a suitable replacement aircraft, which must be delivered in an expeditious manner, to avoid a gap in logistical support of the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. The aircraft being procured from the UK MOD has the requisite amount of life and technical capability to support the Blue Angels mission.

The Blue Angels have been without their famous “Fat Albert” since last summer, when the crash of a KC-130T aircraft grounded the fleet. The Navy and Marine Corp’s fleet of aircraft remain grounded. Recently, the Blue Angels announced new pilots for Fat Albert.

The Royal Air Force currently has a surplus of C-130J models that have been placed in storage.

The acquisition of a new C-130 for the Blue Angels brings several benefits to the squadron. First, it permanently fills a gap left by their current aircraft being grounded. In recent seasons, the team has had to rely on trucks or borrowing a KC-130T (mainly when Bert was undergoing maintenance) to fly in Bert’s place. The second thing a new aircraft offers is a chance to potentially change Bert’s routine.

No timeline has been given for this replacement aircraft, but the fact one is potentially coming is a step forward in this saga of trouble for Bert. Hopefully we’ll see her flying in the skies at an airshow soon!

Add your thoughts on this surprising news in our forums!

See the Blue Angels 2018 schedule

Information from TheDrive.com contributed to this story

Fat Albert Grounded As Part Of C-130T Safety Stand Down, Not Expected To Appear In Oshkosh

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels - C-130 Hercules Fat Albert

Fat Albert is grounded once again. All KC-130T Hercules aircraft, used by the Marine Corps, have been grounded as a precaution after a KC-130 crashed earlier this month in Louisiana, killing 16. This includes Fat Albert, the support aircraft of the US Navy Blue Angels demonstration team that is performing at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this weekend. Unfortunately she is not expected to fly in to Oshkosh or perform in the show. The team’s F/A-18 Hornets will still perform as planned.

Bert actually remains on the ground in Idaho Falls, ID, where the team performed last weekend. A US Navy C-40 Clipper (737) flew in to Oshkosh to deliver the team’s support staff and some equipment. There is no word on how long the stand down will last, but it indicates that there are concerns stemming from the crash that require further analysis. Fat Albert returned to airshows from a nearly year-long overhaul earlier this month.

EAA initially announced (and later reaffirmed) that all C-130s in the US military were grounded, but this was later proven to be false. Although we updated our posts as more information became available, we apologize for any confusion due to what should have been a reliable source.

Fat Albert Loses Famous Blue Angel Paint Scheme As Part Of Maintenance Overhaul

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US Navy Blue Angels - Fat Albert C-130 Hercules - Paint Stripped
Photo Credit: Tinker AFB

Fat Albert has lost the famous blue and gold colors of the Blue Angels as part of a maintenance overhaul currently underway. The aircraft was flown to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, where crews worked in three shifts to remove the famous paint scheme and check for corrosion. The base Facebook page posted a photo of this work in progress, and today another photo was posted by the Fat Albert Twitter account showing the end result; a naked Bert!

US Navy Blue Angels - Fat Albert C-130 Hercules - Paint Stripped
Photo Credit: FatAlbertUSMC

As you can see, only the bright yellow nose remains. The aircraft will be flown to Hill AFB in Utah for major maintenance and repair work. Indications are that severe corrosion is behind the effort that will keep Fat Albert grounded for the rest of the 2016 airshow season. In the mean time, the team will fly a regular ‘fleet’ C-130 for transportation and logistics, but will likely not perform in it.

Blue Angels’ Fat Albert Will Reportedly Not Fly Again Until After 2016 Airshow Season

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 10

US Navy Blue Angels - C-130 Hercules Fat Albert

Fat Albert, the famous C-130 Hercules that serves as the transport for the US Navy Blue Angels, appears to be done flying for the season. As we reported last week, Bert was forced to miss the Seattle Seafair airshow this past weekend due to unspecified maintenance issues, and unconfirmed reports began circulating that it would not be back to flying status any time soon. A tweet by one of the three Fat Albert pilots, USMC Captain Katie Higgins, seems to confirm the news. She mentions that Bert is in depot-level maintenance, and that she will not fly that airframe (164763) again during her time with the team.

The team will likely utilize a normal Marine Corps KC-130 for its transportation needs for the remainder of the season, but it remains to be seen whether that aircraft will perform in shows or not. From what we have heard, it seems doubtful. This puts a further damper on the current Blue Angels performance that remains a five-jet routine following the crash of Blue Angel #6, Captain Jeff Kuss, earlier this year. The sixth jet will rejoin the performances once Commander Frank Weisser is fully proficient in the routine.

We have reached out to the Blue Angels for comments and official confirmation. In the mean time, those needing their Fat Albert fix can take a ride in the cockpit during an airshow flight earlier this year:

US Navy Blue Angels’ Fat Albert To Skip 2016 Seattle Seafair For Maintenance

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels - Fat Albert

The US Navy Blue Angels’ famous C-130 Hercules transport known as “Fat Albert” or “Bert” will not be performing with the team in Seattle this weekend. The team, which arrived in the area yesterday, announced that due to mechanical issues the aircraft will have to undergo maintenance instead of making the trip. Bert is operated by an all-Marine crew and serves to transport the team’s equipment and personnel to each show site. Traditionally when Fat Albert is down for any reason, the Angels’ transport needs are met with a standard fleet C-130 that is dubbed “Ernie”. The Seattle Seafair airshow will still showcase the five F/A-18 Hornets of the team, which performs at the event every year. Hopefully Fat Albert will be back soon!