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The Blue Angels in Oakland

F-18

Front view of F/A 18

Jet engines

Preflight check

Walk to the aircraft

Fat Albert Airlines

C-130 Fat Albert

Blue Angels' Fat Albert

Rolls-Royce turbo props

Full view of Fat Albert

Side view of Fat Albert

Hey, hey, hey

United States Marines

Flight crew preps

On board

Flying over the Bay Bridge

Looking down on the Bay Bridge

Downtown San Francisco

Sutro Tower

Looking north

Midair selfie

Straight down to the city

Straight down to the water

San Francisco

Strange views

Weightless

Strange angles

Marina Green fly-by

Low flying

A view of the city

Highways

Transbay Terminal construction

Bay Bridge

View of Alameda

Back in Oakland

Group photo

The Blue Angels lined up on the tarmac in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, October 10, 2014, in preparation for their annual weekend performance as part of San Francisco's Fleet Week celebration. CNET photographer James Martin hitched a ride on the Blue Angels' support plane, a C-130 named Fat Albert. The aircraft may be chubby, but it gives an intense ride. You can read his blog about the experience here. For more photos, click ahead.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Blue Angels F/A-18s were parked in Oakland prior to San Francisco's Fleet Week celebration.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Blue Angels currently have 13 jets: two single-seat F/A-18 A models, one F/A-18 B model, eight single-seat F/A-18 C models and two double-seated F/A-18 D models.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

During air shows, the fastest speed the Blue Angels reach is about 700 mph, just under Mach 1.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

CNET photographer James Martin was the only nonmilitary member to fly with the Blue Angels' "Fat Albert Airlines" on the Friday prior to the Blue Angels' weekend shows for Fleet Week. The 10 other riders were all members of the military. The "airline" is named after Fat Albert, the C-130 that follows the Angels from show to show, carrying support crew and gear. You'll see it shortly.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Walking past the Blue Angels F/A 18s out onto the tarmac in Oakland.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Here's Fat Albert, the lesser-known Blue Angels plane, which accompanies the stunt fliers to their performances. It's a C-130 tactical transport.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The C-130 known as Fat Albert, is a tactical transport aircraft built by Lockheed Martin and is flown by an all-Marine crew consisting of three pilots and five enlisted aircrew.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Blue Angels' C-130 known as Fat Albert.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Fat Albert is powered by four Rolls-Royce turbo prop engines producing more than 18,000 horsepower.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Fat Albert crew and those about to take a ride stand at the rear of the aircraft prior to departure.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A side view of Fat Albert showing the Blue Angels logo on the tail.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The tail section of Fat Albert showing the Blue Angels logo.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Under Fat Albert's wing, it reads United States Marines.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Prior to departure, the flight crew, headed by Major Aaron Herrell, runs through the flight demonstration sequence.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Stepping aboard Fat Albert, with its bare-bones interior optimized for utility.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Yerba Buena Island (foreground), Treasure Island, and the Bay Bridge's western (left) and new eastern spans, along with the still-being-dismantled old eastern span.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

As Fat Albert flies out over the bay toward San Francisco, those aboard can look nearly straight down on the Bay Bridge.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Over the bay, and above San Francisco's Financial District.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Sutro Tower pokes up through the marine fog layer that often hovers on the city's western fringes.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Looking north toward Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay and Marin County in the distance.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Two crew members snap a selfie with the bay door open, looking onto the fog below.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

At times, Fat Albert banked so hard the ground filled the windows.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

At other times, Fat Albert made 60 degree bank-turns over the water.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Beautiful views of San Francisco from out over the bay.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Sometimes the plane banked so crazily that the view out the window didn't seem right. Here, the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Steep climbs ended with a few seconds of weightlessness at the apex, when the crew -- and anything else not strapped down -- floated.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

During the wild roller-coaster  flight demo, those aboard experienced uncommon views.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Flying low over the water past the spectators on San Francisco's Marina Green, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

At times, Fat Albert fly very close to the ground and just a few hundred feet from buildings.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A beautiful day for a flight over San Francisco.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A view of the intersection of interstate 80 and highway 101.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A view from above of the under-construction of the massive Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The Bay Bridge that connects San Francisco to Oakland, Berkeley and other East Bay locations.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A view of the island city of Alameda in the foreground, with Oakland in the background.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The beautiful fog layer over the western fringes of the city was too much for the F-18s -- they were grounded. So for the tens of thousands of casual spectators around the bay, trying to catch a glimpse of the Blue Angles before their weekend shows, Fat Albert was the main event.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

As Fat Albert landed, the Blue Angels themselves were headed back to the airport, touching down just moments later.

The passengers and crew of "Fat Albert Airlines" pose for a group photo as the Blue Angels zip by overhead.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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