Air Force returns Fat Albert to Blue Angels demo team

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah —The Ogden Air Logistics Complex recently completed an eight-month. depot-level maintenance overhaul on the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels C-130T Hercules aircraft known as Fat Albert.

Fat Albert is used to support the Blue Angels aerial demonstration team and performs its own aerial acts during air shows.

“Although we repair and modify C-130s every day in our group, it isn’t very often that you’re afforded the opportunity to work on an aircraft that is recognized across our nation and the world,” said Col. Jon Eberlan, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group commander. “Our team took great pride in restoring Fat Albert to a mission-capable status and looks forward to the rest of the Blue Angels show season, knowing our men and women contributed to its success.”

With the extra stresses put on the aircraft by the air show performance flight profile, the Blue Angels complete specific maintenance inspections to ensure the aircraft’s safe operation.

During an inspection conducted while the team was in Alaska for the Arctic Thunder Airshow in July 2016, the team discovered structural corrosion and cracking.

As a result, the aircraft was removed from the air show schedule and a few weeks later was flown to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, where the aircraft was depainted and inspected by Tinker’s skilled depot professionals.

Fat Albert was eventually flown to Hill AFB, Utah, where it was inducted into the Ogden ALC on November 2016 for structural maintenance.

Several main structural parts, including three of four rainbow fittings used to secure the outer wings to the center wing section required replacement along with a right side center wing attach angle that joins the wing box with the main landing gear.

Following the maintenance, the aircraft was turned over to the 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron corrosion control flight to get its distinctive paint scheme.

The bright blue, yellow and white scheme took two shifts nearly three weeks to complete and was overseen by a Blue Angels team member, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Stephen Stewart, who ensured the paint was applied in the correct locations.

“Painting Fat Albert required a dedicated team of our most experienced painters. We only paint it every four to five years,” said Tim Randolph, 576th AMXS director.

Earlier this month, Fat Albert returned to the Blue Angels team. Navy officials thanked Tinker AFB and Hill AFB and said the squadron was excited for Fat Albert to begin supporting and flying demonstrations for the remaining air show season.