These Stunning Shots Show The Blue Angels New Fat Albert Arriving At Pensacola Escorted By The Team’s Delta Formation

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, C-130 pilots and crew arrive at Naval Air Station Pensacola with the team’s new C-130J Super Hercules, alongside the Blue Angel delta formation. 2020 marks the team’s 50th year utilizing the C-130 as its lead logistics aircraft. The Blue Angels’ previous C-130 “T” model served the team for 17 years and was retired in May of 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

The Blue Angels signature Delta formation escorted the C-130 on arrival at the team’s home base at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

The Blue Angels’ new support aircraft, the C-130J “Fat Albert” has finally touched down at the team’s home base at NAS Pensacola. The new C-130J is a former Royal Air Force Hercules C5 ZH885, retired following the reduction in the size of the RAF Hercules fleet to retain only the longer C-130J-30 (Hercules C4) and acquired by NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) to replace the former Fat Albert C-130T Bu.No. 164763 that flew more than 30,000 hours with the Blue Angels since 2002.

The aircraft was refurbished by the Marshall Aerospace and Defence group in Cambridge that performed in-depth maintenance and repainted the Hercules iin the iconic Blue Angels’ livery.

As already reported in detail, before heading back to the USA, the new “Bert” flew two Functional Check Flights (FCF), on July 20 and 28, 2020. On Aug. 4, the aircraft departed Cambridgeperformed two quick fuel stops, one hour each, at Keflavik International Airport (Iceland) and at Bangor Air National Guard Base (Maine), for a total flight time (excluding the time on the ground) of about ten hours. Then, made an unplanned stop at Boston Logan International Airport, to investigate a caution light, before heading to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base (Texas) for scheduled maintenance.

On Aug. 17, the Blue Angels finally welcomed the new Fat Albert at NAS Pensacola. The aircraft was escorted to its home by the team’s signature 6-ship delta formation and flew over the Emerald Coast. In this post you can find some really stunning shots taken during “welcome home photo shooting”.

Another shot of the C-130J leading the Blue Angels formation over Emerald Coast. (All images: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)
The formation from high above.
The formation as seen from the left hand side with the Emerald Coast in the background.
The U.S. Navy retired last year the former “Fat Albert” C-130T Bu.No. 164763 that flew more than 30,000 hours with the Blue Angels since 2002, becoming famous also for the spectacular jet-assisted takeoff performed during air shows until the last JATO bottle stocks ran out (something that sadly we won’t see with the new “Fat Albert”).
The new Fat Albert overflies the six Hornets aligned on the runway at NAS Pensacola.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.