I flew in Blue Angel’s Fat Albert. Life won’t get better for PNJ editor

As I sat strapped into the cargo bench seats of Fat Albert on Thursday waiting for takeoff, I reminded myself over and over I was with the best pilots in the world — the Blue Angels.

Then I remembered it wasn’t fear that anything would happen to Pensacola’s most beloved plane, but the traitorous actions my stomach might take to humiliate me in front of the Blue Angels, military cadets and photographer Tony Gibson, who would never, ever let me live it down that had me terrified.

Three seconds into takeoff — that’s about how long it takes before you go from horizontal to nearly straight up in the air under the force of Fat Albert’s massive engines — I was in heaven.

Excitement took over and I committed to enjoying every second of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Pensacola News Journal Executive Editor Lisa Nellessen Savage prepares for take off in the Blue Angels C130J Hercules flight deck, commonly known as Fat Albert, on Thursday, Nov.  10, 2022. Nellessen Savage and a group of military and civilian guests took to a ride on the transport plane during Thursday's practice air show.

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We buzzed the treetops, rolled side to side and dropped from the sky — our bodies hanging out high above our seats until gravity could catch up — over and over again.

As I got a glimpse of our wings at what seemed like inches from the ground or sideways to the trees, I only had a moment to think this can’t be possible before Fat Albert would once again right itself a few seconds before an abrupt turn would have us looking at a new direction.

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