Blue Angels Retire Current Fat Albert Airlines
The United States Navy Blue Angels have officially retired their current C-130T Hercules, affectionately known as Fat Albert. Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Lt. Col. Mark Montgomery and Captain Beau Mabery, along with the rest of the all-Marine crew, completed their final flight aboard the C-130T Hercules, BUNO 164763, flying from NAS Pensacola to Fort Worth, Texas. The C-130 will spend the rest of its life in Fort Worth as a ground trainer for new C-130 crews.
The team’s C-130T was delivered to the team in 2002, and made its debut at the 2002 Blue Angels’ Homecoming show at the end of 2002. Since then, it has been responsible for carrying the team’s crew and equipment to each and every show site year in and year out.
Since mid-2016, Fat Albert has had a decreased presence at shows as well as in the team’s demonstration. In August of 2016, Fat Albert went to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma for a chemical de-paint process and a depot maintenance period. It then spent time at Hill AFB in Utah for a complete maintenance overhaul before being delivered back to the team.
In July of 2017, Fat Albert was once again grounded after a KC-130 crash in Mississippi. Fat Albert remained grounded through the end of 2017, and after an accident investigation was completed, a new set of props were ordered for Fat Albert and installed prior to the 2018 Pensacola Beach Air Show. Even then, Fat Albert has flown for the public on very few occasions, and will not fly at air shows ever again.
While the current Fat Albert has been down and out over the last few years, it has also been a part of several special occasions. In 2009, it became the last aircraft to use the Vietnam-era JATO bottles, a fan-favorite. Additionally, it flew under callsign “Blue Angel 6” in June of 2016, when it carried home the body of Captain Jeff Kuss following the fatal accident in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Currently, it is unknown when the team will acquire a newer C-130 for permanent use, but it is likely that the team will borrow active-duty C-130’s for logistic use until then. Stay tuned to our website and social media for the latest updates.
Order your limited edition Fat Albert challenge coin commemorating the 2019 team by clicking here.