SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The C-130J Super Hercules may not be the first plane that comes to mind when you think of the Blue Angels, but the aircraft is essential to getting San Francisco Fleet Week off the ground. KRON4’s Stephanie Lin flew with the Blue Angels C-130J Super Hercules during Fleet Week.
“Highest I’ve seen this particular air frame go is 35,000 feet,” said Flight Enginer Lauren Song, who started flying with the Blue Angels this year. “Max it can carry is 164,000 lbs normally. We can extend to 175,000 if we needed to.” Fat Albert can fly at speeds upwards of 270 knots (about the equivalent of 310 mph), and has a wingspan of 132 feet.
Known more affectionately as Fat Albert, the C-130J opens the Air Show for the Blue Angels every Fleet Week. Fat Albert gets its name from a children’s cartoon character, because of the aircraft’s rounder shape and size.
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It takes a crew of eight people to fly Fat Albert. Uniquely, while most people may associate the Blue Angels with the Navy, the C-130J is flown by an all-Marine crew.
“I think a lot of people don’t know Fat Albert is all United States Marine Corp owned, flown and maintained plane,” explained Song.
The C-130J is responsible for picking up and carrying all the staff and gear for the Blue Angels from show to show across the country. It also performs during Fleet Week, thrilling audiences with maneuvers seen in combat zones.