Fat Albert Airlines, the support plane for the Navy's "Blue Angels" Flight Demonstration Squadron and a Navy recruiting enhancement symbol, received a new center wing "rainbow" fitting from the 572nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (C-130).
The center wing rainbow is one of the most critical areas on this aircraft's airframe; it attaches the outer wing to the center wing and endures tremendous stresses.
The Lockheed-Martin C-130T Hercules had developed cracks where the left wing attaches to the aircraft, so the 572nd is replacing the arc-shaped "center wing rainbow fitting" where the wing connects.
The repair involves the removal of the outer wing, then removing and replacing the cracked fitting. The aircraft rainbow fitting involves extensive machining and milling to attach the two together.
The Fat Albert Airlines C-130 spent four weeks at Hill Air Force Base in Building 680, followed by fuel checks, flight and avionics checks prior to the functional check flight.
Named for a character popularized by comedian Bill Cosby, the Marine Corps fleet aircraft is manned by an all-Marine crew and carries more than 40 maintenance and support personnel, gear, spare parts and communications equipment to the Blue Angels air shows. A C-130 has been with the team since 1970 and flies more than 140,000 miles each season.
This isn't the first time the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group has worked on Fat Albert Airlines. The aircraft was given a makeover that included a new coating of its distinctive blue, white and yellow paint scheme in April 2007.
The 572 AMXS has raised the bar from previous years to complete 44 aircraft this fiscal year. The Fat Albert airplane is a drop-in on top of the 44 aircraft already scheduled for maintenance.