This Cool Video Shows A U.S. C-17 Airlifter Flying At Low Level Through The Mach Loop for First Time

A cool footage of the big C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in the Mach Loop low level training area!

Some unpopulated areas of the UK, designated ‘Low Flying Area’ (LFA), as LFA-14 (Scotland), LFA-17 (Lake District) and LFA-7 (North West Wales), have been chosen for training activities of RAF at altitude as low as 250 feet.

LFA-7, used also by U.S. units as well as allied air arms and aerospace industries, has a series of valleys lined by steep sides with mountains either side rising to around 1,000 meters that allows the pilot to do training circuits at ultra-low level altitude.

UK aviation enthusiasts have nicknamed LFA-7 the “Mach Loop” after the small town at the circuits’ most southern point: Machynlleth.

Well, the “Mach Loop”  has just “scored” another first: earlier today a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III (belonging to the 315th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, S.C.) made two low-level passes through the valley area!

Aviation photographer and Mach Loop regular Paul Williams has just filmed the following really amazing video of the big airlifter maneuvering through the famous Mach Loop at very low altitude (notice the “condensation clouds generated by the aircraft as it flies through the valley in front of the photographers.)

H/T Tom Demerly for finding this!



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Way back in the days of the C-141 my wife and I saw one in Hope Valley Calif. We were on the road out of the valley so we were looking down at the plane.

    • Yeah, I crewed 141s (and BUFFs) back in the day and we did a lot of low level stuff, sometimes in the middle of the night with multiple aircraft. It worried me a little even back then and downright scares me now in retrospect. There’s so much that can go wrong when you’re in close proximity to the ground and/or other airframes, with not a lot of margin for error.

  2. So far, if memory serves, I recall having seen video of C-130, C-17 and A400 drive through The Loop. When do we get the thrill of seeing a C-5? : )

    Very nice vid!

    • They’d have to grease the sides of a “Fat Albert” (aka “FRED”) to get him through that valley.

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