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Blue Angels Fat Albert temporarily replaced by Ernie
PENSACOLA, Fla. - The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, will be temporarily replacing their C-130 affectionately known as Fat Albert with another C-130 on loan from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452) starting July 16.
The temporary aircraft on loan from VMGR-452, nicknamed Ernie, will serve as a replacement transport aircraft for the team, but will not be performing any flight demonstrations while on loan to the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels utilize a C-130 each year to transport both maintenance and support team members, as well as equipment to each air show. The aircraft also serves as the opening act of Blue Angels flight demonstration performances, demonstrating the tactical flight characteristics of the C-130 aircraft.
Fat Albert has been out of operation since June 2014, due to maintenance issues caused by a bird strike. Since the bird strike, the Blue Angels have relied on utilizing fleet assets including temporary assistance from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252), commercial truck transport, and Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO) flights in order to move equipment and personnel to air shows.
The back-up C-130 Ernie will augment the team as the transport C-130 aircraft until Fat Albert is cleared safe to fly.
The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.
Since its inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 484 million fans.