Fat Albert, the Blue Angels Lockheed Martin C-130T Hercules support airlifter and performer, has been grounded along with all 12 operational Marine Corps KC-130T tankers. The decision by the Marine Corps was reportedly made out of “an abundance of caution” during the investigation of the Marine Corps VMGR-452 KC-130T (BuNo 165000) that crashed earlier this month in Mississippi killing 16. The Blues decided to ground Fat Albert because the investigation is being conducted into the crash of the tanker model (KC-130T) of the same basic airframe as Fat Albert (C-130T). There have been no other C-130 Hercules groundings announced by Lockheed Martin or the military as of this time. Here’s short video of Fat Albert in action posted by DoD News & Videos
The KC-130T is the oldest model of the Hercules still operational with the Marines, averaging nearly 25 years of service. Only the Marine Reserve squadron VMGR-452 still flies the KC-130T- the same squadron that was flying the KC-130T that crashed in Mississippi. Many of the Marine Corps and Navy Hercules tanker variants are the much newer KC-130J models. The groundings are, at least at this point, the result of caution resulting from no clear cause of the Mississippi KC-130T crash having been determined. The grounding of Fat Albert was initially announced by the Experimental Aircraft Association via Airshowstuff. The KC-130T groundings were reported by Defense News.