The Florida Keys Blimp Fat Albert Deflated?

Fat Albert Flying high over the Florida Keys
Fat Albert Flying high over the Florida Keys

Ever since the first time I came to the Florida Keys, I can remember seeing Fat Albert flying high in the sky. The blimp has been based out of the aptly named Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key since 1980. I always thought that it was a weather balloon. But, as it turns out, it is a military surveillance system owned by the US Air Force.

This tethered aerostat radar system is capable of detecting low flying objects. It’s primary mission though out the years has been to help federal officers with counter-drug operations. Just having the blimp present has deterred crime in the nation’s southernmost border. It has also proved a huge help to the US Coast Guard with drug interdiction through the years.

Besides the actually job of the blimp, Fat Albert has become somewhat of an iconic sight. Unfortunately, due to cuts to the federal defense budget, Fat Albert will no longer be utilized; it is being deflated.

Apparently many people, including myself are sad to see this Keys “landmark” go. Not only because of the job it does, but because it is something that we look forward to seeing  up in the sky when we go outside. Someone has already posted a petition on the website requesting that the blimp remain. Hopefully we get the necessary number of signatures to have the president consider the request. As of right now we still need 99,357 more signatures by February 18th to even have Obama look at the petition.

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

And before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my  restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews. Learn from my mistakes, lol.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!


Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

Related Posts