Watch a C-17 Airlifter Thread the Mach Loop
Big, slow and low
The Royal Air Force has designated some sparsely-populated areas of the United Kingdom as “Low Flying Areas.” At LFA-14 in Scotland, LFA-17 in the Lake District and LFA-7 in northwest Wales, British and allied jets can fly as low as 250 feet.
LFA-7 features a series of valleys with mountains on either side rising as high as 3,000 feet. U.K. aviation enthusiasts have nicknamed LFA-7 the “Mach Loop” after Machynlleth, the small town at the circuit’s most southern point.
In recent months, U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters have visited LFA-7 for the first time. Now the Mach Loop has scored another first. On July 7, 2017, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport belonging to the 315th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina made two low-level passes through the valley area!
Aviation photographer and Mach Loop-regular Paul Williams shot video of the big airlifter maneuvering through the famous loop at very low altitude. Notice the condensation clouds generated by the aircraft as it flies through the valley in front of the photographers.