Cad West Archives -

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.

Fly the Virtual Mach Loop in Microsoft Flight Simulator
Flying the Mach Loop virtually is as-close as many of us will ever get to experiencing it. Check out our MSFS Mach loop guide!

Mach Loop Cockpit View from a RAF Typhoon

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 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.

Common Mach Loop Searches

Cad West


Bwlch Exit –


Corris Corner

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