This Cool Footage Shows U.S. F-35A Lightning II Combat Planes Flying Through The Famous Mach Loop For The First Time

May 03 2017 - 11 Comments

The Joint Strike Fighter has flown through the world-famous Mach Loop Low Flying Area for the first time.

The clip below shows F-35A Lightning IIs belonging to the 34th Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 466th Fighter Squadron, 419th Fighter Wing, deployed to RAF Lakenheath, UK, from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, enter the Mach Loop LFA (Low Flying Area) in Wales for the very first time on May 2.

The aircraft have arrived in the UK on Apr. 15, for the type’s first overseas training deployment to Europe and since then they have been quite active: along with flying several sorties alongside the local based F-15E Strike Eagles (some of them flown without the Radar Reflectors/Luneburg Lenses – as happened on Apr. 26), they have visited Estonia and then Bulgaria.

In this video by Neilb1940 you can see the aircraft maneuvering at low altitude more or less one year after the F-22 Raptors temporarily based at RAF Lakenheath in support of the European Reassurance Initiative visited the Loop for the first time.

Noteworthy, you can also easily spot the pretty distinctive wingtip vortices generated by the F-35.

The flaperon and wingtip vortices have long been debated: GAO claimed that these could affect the aircraft’s stealth performance; others suggest these visible “tubes of circulating air which are left behind the aircraft’s wing as it generates lift” may make the aircraft more easily picked up visually by an enemy pilot in a WVR (Within Visual Range) engagement even though some pilots have explained that they are not a factor because if you are close enough to see the F-35’s vortices, you are probably close enough to see the jet.

H/T @guidoolimpio for the heads-up