Blue Angels Preparing Fat Albert For Return To Airshows This Summer

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

US Navy Blue Angels - C-130 Hercules Fat Albert

Could Fat Albert, the US Navy Blue Angels’ C-130 transport, return to airshows soon? There are several indications that say yes!

During an interview with NewsRadio1620 on May 30th, Commander Doyle (Blue Angel #1) said that the team is working on getting the current Fat Albert repaired and operational – potentially in time for the Pensacola Beach airshow, traditionally held in July. This year’s show will be held July 11-14th.

The road to get Bert flying again has been a long one. 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.

We’ve also seen some pictures posted recently on social media that lead us to believe Bert will be back to flying status soon.

The potential return of Bert to flying status isn’t the only interesting thing going on with the famous blue and gold C-130. In March, we wrote about a government contract that solicited a Royal Air Force C-130J to replace Bert. Not many details have come out about the potential acquisition of the airframe to replace the current C-130T model.

AirshowStuff has reached out to the Blue Angels for comment on this.

New Details On Blue Angels’ Fat Albert Replacement Process

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

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

C-97 Stratofreighter “Angel Of Deliverance” Returns To Flight – Watch The Amazing Takeoff!

posted in: Warbirds | 0

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The “Angel of Deliverance”, a Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, returned to flight this week after 15 years of restoration in New York. The aircraft is operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, which also owns and flies the C-54 “Spirit of Freedom”.

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First FlightC-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The C-97 is a large piston-powered cargo aircraft based on the B-29 Superfortress bomber. It first flew in 1944, and was retired from US service in 1978. Some of the airframes, including this one, were used as aerial refueling tankers. “Angel” is now the only flying C-97 anywhere in the world, though one of the related Super Guppy cargo transports also remains in active service with NASA.

She roared off of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on Tuesday, stopped in New Jersey for fuel, and continued to her new temporary home in Reading, PA. Jacob Gentile caught up with the aircraft during the fuel stop, and sent us this incredible video of the takeoff as well as some photos on the ground. The aircraft will stay in Reading through next spring, but the BAHF is actively seeking sufficient hangar space for both of their airlifters. Please consider supporting their cause as they keep these pieces of history active and flying!

Thank you to Jacob Gentile for providing the video and photos!

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

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 Is Ready To Roll: Maintenance Complete!

posted in: Jet Teams | 3

Fat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFB

The Blue Angels’ C-130T Hercules, affectionately known as “Fat Albert” is ready to return to the team after undergoing a maintenance overhaul at Hill AFB! Fat Albert crew members went to Hill AFB recently to check out Bert and take delivery of the aircraft. Bert had been at Hill for several months after a chemical de-paint process was performed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. This process allowed for the removal of the paint to check for any corrosion on the aircraft.

In May, we reported that Bert (minus the famous Blue and Gold paint) was undergoing test flights over Hill AFB.

At Hill, Bert underwent a complete programmed depot maintenance checkout and got a new coat of paint to get airshow ready!

Fat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFB

Fat Albert has been missing from the team’s aerial demonstrations since mid-2016. While Bert was undergoing maintenance, the team borrowed another C-130, always known as Ernie, and the popular airshow demonstrations were not performed. Now that the work is complete, the pilots will begin practicing the airshow routine and finally bring Bert back to the airshow circuit. At this time, we don’t know when during the 2017 season Bert will return to aerial demonstrations with the team, but stay tuned for more updates!

Fat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFBFat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFB
Fat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFBFat Albert Completes Maintenance at Hill AFB

Thunder Over Michigan 2017 To Host North American Airshow Debut Of German A400M Atlas

posted in: Airshows | 0
Airbus A400M Atlas
Photo courtesy of Airbus

Fans at Thunder Over Michigan will have a special opportunity to see Europe’s newest cargo aircraft this summer. The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) will be bringing an Airbus A400M Atlas in for static display at the show. It will be the first North American airshow appearance for the aircraft, which has been in service since only 2014. The show has hosted a German C-160 Transall, which is being replaced by the A400M, in the past.

Thunder Over Michigan is an annual airshow organized to support the Yankee Air Museum. It is held at Willow Run airport near Detroit, MI, and typically boasts one of the strongest warbird lineups in the country. This year’s show will be held on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4, and will feature the US Navy Blue Angels as the headline act. Warbirds and other performers are still in the works.