Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 20, 2012

Fat Albert

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

To title something “Fat Albert” is to risk being politically incorrect these days.  Yet, those with a less critical nature conjure up several possibilities:  The 1973 comedy album by Bill Cosby, or the 2004 live-action film by that name, or perhaps the best known is Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  This animated series, created and hosted by Bill Cosby from 1972 to 1985, continues with almost daily reruns on television.

But the Fat Albert I speak of has no relationship to any of the above.  Would you believe there is an aircraft known as “Fat Albert?”    The precision flight team known as the Blue Angels is supported by a C-130T Hercules known affectionately as Fat Albert because of its squat appearance.

However, don’t be fooled by its appearance.  This remarkable plane is built for hostile environments.  With eight solid-fuel rockets attached to the sides of the aircraft, it can take off within 1500 feet and climb at a 45-degree angle, and attain an altitude of 1500 feet within seconds.  When landing, it can come to a full stop in less than 1,000 feet.  It is a superb aircraft.

With those descriptions, one tends to see it as a bully.  And although it can cruise at 350 miles per hour, I have seen it as a gentle bear.  It has a gentle side — it can back up!  I am not implying from fear — but its amazing versatility.

For several years, our next door neighbor was the pilot of this aircraft.  He would log more than 140,000 miles annually.  He and the crew would literally circle the globe giving support to the Blue Angels as they performed shows.  Fat Albert was always part of the show.  Demonstrations were given as to the power to take off and land.  But the gentle side for me was when it was on the runway.

John, who deeply loved this aircraft, would lovingly talk about Fat Albert as if it was part of the family.  We would never tire of his tales.  (I am glad he never brought the plane home and parked it in his driveway!)

I remember the first time so well.  Of all I observed in the plane’s capabilities, nothing impressed me as much as this big plane going backwards!

Yes, you read it correctly.  This huge plane had the ability to go backwards!   There on the runway I watched with amazement!  That aircraft was going backwards!  John explained that he could move the propellers to full aft allowing Fat Albert to taxi backwards!

However, he assured me that the plane was not built for that purpose.  There was a more important and strategic purpose.  There would be times it could be an asset in order to turn the plane around to take off, but the plane was built to go forward!

I have thought about Fat Albert.  Designed and purposed to thrust forward with all the force and energy available . . .  just like each one of us.  We were never created to go backwards.  To go forward, we were designed.  We look to the future . . . we don’t back up into yesterday!  What we live for is the future . . . .

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13,14)



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