Fat Albert is a C-130 cargo plane that hauls staff and equipment for the Blue Angels. It also plays a part in the show itself.
The plane has a wingspan of C-130 and is crewed by eight people.
The captain told the riders about all tricks and turns Fat Albert does during its demonstration. He had to explain because when you're inside, you can only feel what's happening, not see it.
Fat Albert is the only Blue Angels plane crewed only by Marines (though these guys were just along for the ride).
A shot inside the belly of the beast
One rider got to sit on a cross bar at the top of the cargo hold. He had to climb a ladder to get up there. Surprisingly, he didn't get sick.
During its demonstrations, Fat Albert reaches a speed of 375 miles per hour. It banks hard, twists, turns, and flies close to the crowd. But the riders can only see what's happening out of small port hole windows.
All the riders were given air sick bags, just in case. Thankfully, no one had to use them.
For the takeoff, Fat Albert simulates an emergency situation, like when an aircraft has to takeoff while under fire. It rises 1,500 feet in 2 to 3 seconds.
KKCO 11 News web producer Andie Adams and reporter Brian Shlonsky prepare for takeoff.
Besides demonstrations, Fat Albert also hauls around all the Blue Angels gear. It also offers support for the F-18s, flying across the country to pick up parts when something breaks.
Physics teacher Caleb Hicks was honored by the crew for his inspirational service at Fruita Monument High School.
The crew posed for pictures after the ride. Here, reporter Brian Shlonsky joins them.
The Grand Junction Air Show starts today. The Blue Angels perform at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tiffany Hinely Welch shot this picture during the practice session on Sept. 21. She shared it with us via Facebook.
Andrea Talbert snapped this picture on Sept. 20.
Thanks, Dorothy McCammon Wilkerson, for this photo!
KKCO 11 News was invited to ride in the belly of Fat Albert, a C-130 cargo plane that flies with the Blue Angels. Click on the photo to the right to see a slideshow from the trip.