'Fat Albert' is in town for air show - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'Fat Albert' is in town for air show

Fat Albert Blue Angels Crew Fat Albert Blue Angels Crew
Captain John Hecker Captain John Hecker
When Fat Albert levels off, it achieves zero gravity When Fat Albert levels off, it achieves zero gravity
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

He is the opening act to the big headliner of the Kaneohe Bay Airshow this weekend.

These Blue Angels could not perform without him. We're talking about "Fat Albert".

"Welcome to Fat Albert Airlines," the Blue Angels' crew exclaimed.

I got to jump on the chance to ride in Fat Albert for what these Marines call 'America's most exciting roller coaster.'

"It was like a giant roller coaster. Little butterflies in your stomach, everlasting feeling, and it was quite the experience," said Alejandro Acosta of the U.S. Marines.

"Are you guys ready for this?" asked Captain John Hecker, one of the pilots of Fat Albert.

Hecker says Fat Albert isn't like any airliner out there.

"From that point I am going to pull my nose up at about 45 degrees, that is about 3 times as what you would experience in a normal airliner," Hecker said.

And boy do you feel it! You feel two times the force of gravity, which is twice your weight (for a few seconds). Once the pilot levels off...zero gravity. For a moment in time you feel weightless!

He has been part of the fleet for more than 60 years. In the 1950s, Fat Albert was designed by Lockheed Martin before  computers were even around.

"We've been flying Albert for about 66 years, and we can likely flying him for another 60," said Hecker.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft carries all the necessities for this show to go on the road, and for the show to be taken to higher heights.

"You know it is not possible to do without Fat Albert, because it is a team effort," said Hecker. "Everyone works together to put on a show."

This big guy flies 100-thousand miles during each season as he's loaded with 45 maintenance and support personnel, along with all of tools needed to help make the headliner of the show... "The Blue Angels".... a success. This year, marines say it will be extra special with the celebration of 100 years of flight for the Marine Corps.

"I am about to complete my one year (with the Marines), and this is something that has been going on for 100 years," said Acosta. "It is great to have the opportunity not everyone gets to be a part of an organization like this."

Acosta also rode on Fat Albert and he said it was a once in a lifetime experience he is thankful to have during the centennial celebrations.

For more information on how you can see Fat Albert this weekend, click here.


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