Blue Angels Perform First Functional Check Flight of Its New C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ Aircraft

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron has performed their first functional check flight (FCF) in new C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft, the squadron announced.

The new Fat Albert is an Ex-Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft and had undergone modifications at a facility of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group  in Cambridge, UK under a contract awarded last year.

Blue Angels C-130 pilots arrived in UK last month to conduct a series of maintenance tests, which include an aircraft systems operational check out and the functional check flight, prior to completing the transatlantic flight to the United States.

Fat Albert serves as the Blue Angels’ Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) logistical support aircraft. It takes part in the display team’s flying performances, as well as being a crucial support aircraft, carrying the Blue Angels’ tools, spare parts and engineers. “Fat Albert Airlines” was flown with an all-Marine crew of three officers and five enlisted personnel.

Beginning in 1975, “Bert” was also used for Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and short aerial demonstrations just prior to the main event at selected venues, but the JATO demonstration ended in 2009 due to dwindling supplies of rockets.

The last dedicated Fat Albert, a C-130T Hercules, was retired May 2019 and now serves as a ground-based training platform in Fort Worth, Texas.

The new C-130J has a new livery compared to the C-130T ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft. The flight surfaces now have yellow tips, similar to Blue Angels’ F/A-18s, two stripes run down the side of the aircraft and the iconic white top has been changed to a tear drop design.

The C-130J model will provide improved logistics support to the squadron and will eventually join demonstration.

Blue Angels C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ Photos:

Blue Angels C-130J 'Fat Albert'
The C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron takes off for the first functional check flight (FCF) in Cambridge, UK. Photo Credit: Blue Angels.
Blue Angels C-130J 'Fat Albert'
The C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron takes off for the first functional check flight (FCF) in Cambridge, UK. Photo Credit: Blue Angels.
Blue Angels C-130J 'Fat Albert' aircraft
The C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron takes off for the first functional check flight (FCF) in Cambridge, UK. Photo Credit: Blue Angels.
Blue Angels C-130J 'Fat Albert'
Blue Angels C-130J ‘Fat Albert’ aircraft. Photo via Blue Angels.



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