Fat Albert May Return to Airshows This Weekend at Pensacola Beach

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Fat Albert Returns to Shows at Pensacola Beach Airshow
Those attending the Pensacola Beach airshow this weekend may get to see a sight that has been missing from shows for quite awhile- Fat Albert!

Earlier this year, we reported on the potential of Bert returning to shows this summer. In an interview with NewsRadio 1620, Major Mark Montgomery said the team has been working really hard to get Bert ready to fly and they are very close.

Fat Albert and the rest of the Marine Corps C-130T Hercules fleet has been grounded since the 2017 crash of a C-130 in Mississippi that killed all 16 service members onboard. Before that, Bert missed airshows while undergoing an extensive overhaul. Ironically, she returned to shows at the Pensacola Beach airshow in 2017.

Major Montgomery says the team was not waiting for the opportunity to return in front of the home crowd- but it just kinda worked out this way with the timing.

Bert’s appearance won’t be a full airshow routine as she’s not been cleared for that, just yet. Since the air frame has not flown in almost a year, the team feels it is best to slowly ease into it, instead of throwing the aircraft through a high G performance without fully evaluating it. However, it certainly will be nice to see Bert back in the skies regardless!

If you’re heading to the show and snap some pictures, share them with us on our forums!

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!

Fat Albert To Miss Start Of Blue Angels’ 2017 Airshow Season

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C-130 Fat Albert Maintenance Overhaul

Last August, we reported that Fat Albert, the famous C-130 Hercules flown by the US Navy Blue Angels, was undergoing a massive maintenance overhaul at Hill AFB in Utah. The rework caused the beloved aircraft to miss the remainder of the 2016 season, and the Marine Corps crew borrowed a standard KC-130 to transport the team’s equipment. They could not perform in the backup, known always as “Ernie”, due to differences in the airframe.

Now, it looks like Bert will still be undergoing maintenance as the 2017 airshow season starts.


In a tweet to a fan on the Fat Albert Twitter Account, “Bert” announced she’ll miss the first show of the season at NAF El Centro in California. Other photos posted to Twitter show the propellers detached from the aircraft and the iconic gold paint on the nose of Fat Albert.

C-130 Fat Albert Maintenance OverhaulC-130 Fat Albert Maintenance Overhaul

At this time, no return date for Fat Albert has been released but we have heard that the team expects to get the aircraft back in March. Once Bert is back in service, it will take the crew 5 or 6 weeks to train up to demo standards, so the first performance may not be until late April or early May. Get well soon, Bert!

C-130 Fat Albert Maintenance Overhaul

Airpower Over Hampton Roads Thunders Back To Life With Excellent 2016 Show

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F-22 Raptor with open bomb bays - Airpower Over Hampton Roads 2016

After a five year absence, airplanes and skydivers once again soared through the skies of Hampton, Virginia at Joint Base Langley-Eustis’ Airpower Over Hampton Roads airshow April 22nd-24th, 2016.

Langley, which was scheduled to hold an airshow in 2013 but had to cancel it due to sequestration. The return of Airpower Over Hampton Roads kicked off Langley’s 100th anniversary celebration, which will last through all of 2016.

Headlining Airpower Over Hampton Roads were the USAF Thunderbirds. Langley is unique because as far as airshows go, it’s one of the very few places where you can see the F-22 Raptor demonstration and the Thunderbirds at the same airshow. However, mother nature wasn’t too kind to the show. The Thunderbirds’ performance on Friday (practice day) had to be canceled due to thunderstorms which blew around objects on the field and brought dangerous lightning. The Friday night show and concert was canceled. Saturday, while starting off beautiful, also turned stormy right before the F-22 demo team was scheduled to begin their demonstration. The rest of the airshow was canceled out of an abundance of caution, leaving just Sunday to see the Thunderbirds fly.

Strike Eagle lands at Langley AFBRob Holland flies at Langley AFB

Sunday was bright and sunny, with the cold front that brought the stormy weather having moved through and to the south of the area. With cool temperatures, it was a perfect airshow day. All aircraft were able to fly, and the Thunderbirds finished off the day with their high show performance.

While the storms caused some trouble, they certainly provided for excellent photo opportunities. Check out what Randy Ball’s MiG-17 looked like against the stormy skies! We’ve also included a few preview pics. Our full album will be up soon.

Randy Ball at Airpower Over Hampton Roads 2016

Thunderbirds Taxi InUSAF Thunderbird Helmet - Airpower Over Hampton Roads

Static displays included a B-1 Bomber, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules, F-15 Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Warthog, EF-2000 Typhoon, NASA Langley aircraft and Langley’s own F-22s and T-38s.

The airshow featured a rare treat – a 3-ship Heritage Flight including a P-51 Mustang, F-35 Lightning and the F-22 Raptor! Check out our video of the entire F-22 Raptor demonstration, including an F-35 afterburner takeoff and the Heritage Flight!

Also check out our other videos from the show in our Airpower OVer Hampton Roads 2016 playlist: