The Mach Loop also known as the Machynlleth Loop consists of a series of valleys in the United Kingdom in west-central Wales, notable for their use as low-level training areas for fast jet aircraft.
In addition, The system of valleys lies 8 miles east of Barmouth and is nestled between the towns of Dolgellau to the north and Machynlleth to the south, from the latter of which it takes its name.
Low pass flybys are cool but they are very dangerous pilot put him and his million dollar Aircraft in huge risk while performing them
The training area is within the Low Flying Area (LFA) LFA7, which covers most of Wales.
Furthermore, Aircraft which use the training area include Royal Air Force Airbus A400M, Tornado, Typhoon, Hawk jets and C-130J as well as U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles, F-15E Strike Eagles, F-22 Raptors, and F-35A Lightning IIs, which are based at RAF Lakenheath in eastern England.
In the below video, you can see the fighter jet Flying low in the Mach loop (The Awesome “CAD WEST” Low Flying Jet Site In Wales “Mach Loop”.)
What is low flying?
Low flying means:
- fixed-wing aircraft flying down to 250 feet from the ground
- rotary-wing aircraft (for example helicopters) flying down to 100 feet from the ground
Low flying isn’t usually allowed in areas around airports, or towns and cities with populations of more than 10,000.
What is Military low flying?
Although military low flying is an essential skill for military aircrew. It allows them to undertake various roles like:
- search and rescue
- transporting troops or humanitarian aid
Related ARTICLE: RAF Operational low flying training timetable
It also provides military aircrews with one of the best chances of survival. Whatever missions we ask our armed forces to undertake, the aircrew must be able to fulfill the task as effectively as possible, often without time for ‘work up’ training. They are only able to do this through specialist training gained through the use of the UK low-flying system.
Low Flying Training
Flight simulators are also used as part of our training programs; however, there is currently no acceptable substitute for actual low flying. At present simulators do not provide the scope to safely further reduce the volume of low flying.
Some training is carried out over the sea, but the sea is flat and featureless and does not provide the realistic training that is necessary to prepare aircrew for operations.
Operational low-flying training In the UK
The UK is divided into 20 separate low-flying areas (LFAs). 3 of these areas are also known as Tactical Training Areas (TTAs). These are in:
- a small area of mid-Wales
- part of northern Scotland
- the borders area of southern Scotland and a small part of northern England
TTAs are activated at specific times throughout each day and when a TTA is active, fixed-wing aircraft can fly as low as 100 feet AGL. This is not the case with routine low-flying training, which is conducted across the UK on a daily basis. Outside the published TTA times the airspace is classed as a normal low-flying area where fixed-wing aircraft routinely fly at a minimum height of 250 feet AGL and helicopters are authorized down to ground level.
The MOD publishes a monthly Operational low-flying training timetable for the 3 TTAs.
The MOD is unable to provide a timetable for all low-flying activities as the information can very quickly become outdated due to weather conditions and training requirements.