The Mach Loop is one of the best places in the UK to watch and photograph military aircraft in action. 

The Mach Loop, located around Dolgellau, in mid-Wales, is one of three Tactical Training Areas (TTA) used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for operational low-flying training by fast jets and Hercules transport aircraft.

Operational low flying is practised by fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters between 100 feet and 250 feet according to the MoD website meaning the high cliff faces around the Mach Loop give people an ideal vantage point to catch a glimpse of amazing aircraft doing their thing in scenic surroundings. 

The MoD website says the best time to see aircraft in action through the Mach Loop is "late spring and summer" which "are the busiest times for low flying as squadrons make full use of good weather to carry out their training". 

Hundreds of people from across the country and Europe make their way to the hills between Machynlleth and Dolgellau to capture incredible photographs of aircraft twisting and turning through the valleys.

In the past week alone, members of the public Facebook group Mach Loop for Newbies have spotted everything from F-35s to Atlas C.1 (A400M).

If you are heading to the Mach Loop here are some of the aircraft you can expect to see.

What aircraft can you see in the Mach Loop?

There have been reported sightings of the following aircraft at various times in the Mach Loop

  • Atlas C.1 (A400M)
  • F-35B Lightning
  • USAF F-15 Eagle
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules
  • Puma HC2
  • RAF Texan T1
  • RAF Hawk T2
  • USAF CV-22 Osprey
  • AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter
  • USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • RAF Typhoon
  • The Red Arrows

While it is not guaranteed there will be low-flying aircraft each day you can visit the MoD website to see the TTA schedule as well as any other exercises/drills taking place across the country.

But schedules can be unpredictable and can change at the last minute.

Their website adds: "The MOD is unable to provide a timetable for all low flying activity as the information can very quickly become outdated due to weather conditions and training requirements."

Where is the Mach Loop?

The Mach Loop is a set of valleys located between Dolgellau and Machynlleth in mid-Wales.

The Mach Loop is part of Low Flying Area 7 on the MoD website.