Introduction to the Mach Loop

The Mach Loop is a set of valleys, situated between Dolgellau in the north, and Machynlleth in the south (and from which the Mach Loop gets its name), which are regularly used for low level flight training, with flying as low as 250 feet (76 metres) from the nearest terrain.
Map of Mach Loop

To the south of the Mach Loop there is an area called Tactical Training Area 7T, in which, at specified times, the aircraft may fly as low as 100 feet (30.5 Metres). The Royal Air Force publish a timetable of when the Tactical Training Areas may be in use, however experience shows this to be of little use in determining whether low level flying will take place on a particular day or time.

Low flying is an vital skill for military aircrew, and the Royal Air Force uses various areas of the United Kingdom for low level flight training. The United Kingdom is split into 18 low flying areas, (or “LFAs”), the LFA’s being numbered 1-19 (strangley there is no LFA15). The Ministry of Defence website has a map showing the location of the low fly areas. The Mach Loop is located within LFA7, which covers the whole of Wales, except for a small section in the north-east of Powys, which is within LFA9.

Purpose of Low Level Flying by Military Aircraft

Some question the purpose and value in Miltary aircrew undergoing Low Level training, yet it is an essential skill for any pilot or navigator.

Some snippets from the MOD outlining the value and reasoning behind Low Level training sorties.


Low flying remains an essential skill for military aircrew.

 

Whatever missions we ask our Armed Forces to undertake the aircrew must be able to fulfil the task as effectively as possible, often without time for “work-up” training. Current Operations around the world see aircrew of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft undertaking operations at low level. They are only able to do this through specialist training gained through the use of the UK Low Flying System.

 

The UK Military Low Flying System covers the open airspace of the whole of the UK and surrounding overseas areas from the surface to 2,000 feet above the ground or mean sea level.

 

Military fixed wing aircraft are judged to be low flying when they are less than 2000 feet minimum separation distance from the ground.
View the full document here: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/AirSafetyandAviation/LowFlying/

Bluebell

Useful guide for visiting ‘Bluebell’ in the Mach Loop. Coming very soon!

Latitude : 52°43’46.70″N
Longitude : 3°44’19.19″W

Approximate climb: Around 300 feet. Please note that this climb is steep and there isn’t a great deal of space when there!
Car park distance: Quarter a mile
Nearest Post Code: SY20 9LX

Photos taken from Bluebell: Coming soon!
If you would like to share your photographs taken from this location, please drop us an email to photos@machloop.co.uk. We will gladly provide acknowledgment and a link to your portfolio for any that are used.

Respect and consideration!
Please remember that the majority of these locations fall on privately owned land, so take care if crossing fences or gates – and please do not leave any litter.
The same should also be said to parking your vehicle in a considerate and unobstructive manner.

Cad West & Cad East

Cad West, in the Mach Loop, is a great location if you want a ‘topside’ or ‘level-pass’ view of aircraft. You also get a decent amount of time to prepare following the initial shout of “incoming!”, as the aircraft approach from your left. If you are lucky, they will sometimes take a left in to Corris Corner, potentially giving you the opportunity for a second pass. There is plenty of room for parking, with a steadily advancing climb as you make your way up the hillside.

Cad West

Latitude: 52:42:31N
Longitude: 3:50:42W
Approximate climb: 300 feet
Car park distance: Half a mile
Nearest Post Code: LL40 2SH

Cad West, mach loop

Cad East

Latitude: 52:42:13N
Longitude: 3:50:38W
Approximate climb: 400 feet
Car park distance: One mile
Nearest Post Code: L40 2SH

Cad East, in the Mach Loop, is a the place to visit if you want a ‘topside’ view of aircraft, stunning views as far as Bala and Mount Snowdon on a clear day. The aircraft pass from your right, with plenty of time to prepare. The ascent is relatively lengthy (in Mach loop viewing location terms), but it is worth the effort.

Cad East, mach loop<img src=

This images above are intended purely as a rough guide to finding your way to Cad West and cad East. The arrows provide you a general flow for the climb – be sure to take care and follow the safest route for you.

Photos taken from Cad West or Cad East: Coming soon!
If you would like to share your photographs taken from this location, please drop us an email to photos@machloop.co.uk. We will gladly provide acknowledgment and a link to your portfolio for any that are used.

Respect and consideration!

Please remember that the majority of these locations fall on privately owned land, so take care if crossing fences or gates – and please do not leave any litter.
The same should also be said to parking your vehicle in a considerate and unobstructive manner.

Finding the Mach Loop

Map of Mach Loop

If you are planning to visit the mach loop and are wondering how to find it, we have compiled a list of the most popular viewing locations that include useful information such as lat/long, nearest post code and car parking. You can find the mach loop guides in the menu under ‘Viewing locations’.

Photos taken from Mach Loop: Coming soon!
If you would like to share your photographs taken from this location, please drop us an email to photos@machloop.co.uk. We will gladly provide acknowledgment and a link to your portfolio for any that are used.

Please remember that the majority of these locations fall on privately owned land, so take care if crossing fences or gates – and please do not leave any litter.
The same should also be said to parking your vehicle in a considerate and unobstructive manner.

Bwlch

Bwlch, in the Mach Loop, is a great location if you want a ‘topside’ or ‘level-pass’ view of aircraft. You also get a few seconds heads-up, as the aircraft approach from your right.

This image above is intended purely as a rough guide to finding your way to Bwlch Middle and Top Ledge. The arrows provide you a general flow for the climb – be sure to take care and follow the safest route for you.

Latitude : 52:44:06N
Longitude : 3:46:30W

Approximate climb:  Top ledge, around 400 feet. Middle Ledge, roughly 200 feet
Car park distance: Under half a mile
Nearest Post Code:  LL40 2SH

Photos taken from Bwlch: Coming soon!
If you would like to share your photographs taken from this location, please drop us an email to photos@machloop.co.uk. We will gladly provide acknowledgment and a link to your portfolio for any that are used.

Respect and consideration!

Please remember that the majority of these locations fall on privately owned land, so take care if crossing fences or gates – and please do not leave any litter.
The same should also be said to parking your vehicle in a considerate and unobstructive manner.

Corris Corner

Corris Corner, in the Mach Loop, is a great location if you want a ‘topside’ view of  aircraft, passing from your right to left.

This image above is intended purely as a rough guide to finding your way up Corris Corner. The arrows provide you a general flow for the climb – be sure to take care and follow the safest route for you.

Latitude : 52:40:44N
Longitude : 3:52:26W

Approximate climb: 300 feet
Car park distance: Half a mile
Nearest Post Code: SY20 9SB

Photos taken from Corris Corner: Coming soon!
If you would like to share your photographs taken from this location, please drop us an email to photos@machloop.co.uk. We will gladly provide acknowledgment and a link to your portfolio for any photos used.

Respect and consideration!

Please remember that the majority of these locations fall on privately owned land, so take care if crossing fences or gates – and please do not leave any litter.
The same should also be said to parking your vehicle in a considerate and unobstructive manner.

Common Mach Loop Searches

Cad West

Bwlch

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Bluebell

Corris Corner

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