KSWT News 13 soars through the skies of Imperial with the Blue Angels
Reporter Felicia Martinez with some of the Blue Angels in Imperial County
EL CENTRO, Calif. – Cheers and excitement is the best way to describe the sound from passengers inside the belly of the Blue Angels C- 130 Hercules, otherwise known as the "Fat Albert."
Just minutes before take-off, U.S. Marine Corps Captain Mike Van Wyk, who flies the Fat Albert for the Blue Angels, gave a briefing to his crew. "Alright crew attention brief time is plus one, real man at one five for three-zero take off weather is as you see it," says Van Wyk.
He tells KSWT News 13 the aircraft is unique and is the assault support for the Blue Angels. At air shows, Van Wyk says it demonstrates what this military weapon can really do. "At 170 knots, I'm going to pull two G'S and 45 degrees nose up which is about three times what a normal airline will depart at and we'll go up to about 1250 feet and pushover zero G's, zero gravity so it's a weightless sensation just like in space and that's to simulate if someone trying to get at you at the end of a runway we can get up high really fast," says Captain Wyk.
Reaching speeds of 370 miles and heights up to 1250 feet this aircraft repeatedly hits zero gravity during its flight demonstration. Capt Van Wyk tells KSWT News 13 the C-130 isn't just for show it's still used in combat zones like Afghanistan. "This aircraft is a tactical transport refueler. We can take gear into zones we can drop it from the air onto drop zones and we can also drop troops and refuel aircraft while were flying both helicopters and fix wing aircraft," says Captain Wyk.
C-130's are among the longest lived aircraft in American history. Van Wyk says the Fat Albert racks up 100 thousand miles per year and still has a long way to go. He says "a lot of pieces of history with these aircraft so this aircraft could last at least another 25 years probably."
The NAF El Centro air show was the first air show of the season for the Blue Angels. The next scheduled show will take place in Key West Florida.
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