Plane spotters got a surprise last week when a C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter did a trip through the “Mach Loop” training area in Wales. On July 7th the massive aircraft cruised through the training area, stooping below civilian observers in a beautiful display of pilotry.
The training area is named after the nearby town of Machynlleth and is used by NATO pilots as part of their training in low-level flying. Most of the time the area is dominated by fighter jets so to see the massive transport plane was a sight to behold. Nicknamed ‘Budda’ by air force crews, the huge plane can fit two M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks inside it.
It isn’t the first time C-17’s have been spotted doing these type of training maneuvers, last year another C-17 was spotted racing through the “star wars canyon” in Death Valley.
Plane enthusiasts gather at the Mach Loop to catch a glimpse of specialized planes in practice. Both the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Air Force use this area for low-level training practice. The long narrow valley is perfect for aircraft to test their skills and the accessible mountainside makes it ideal for plane nerds who are often above the planes as they fly.
Other places around the world to see the world’s best pilots hone their skills include the intimidatingly named Death Valley. The desolate canyon in Nevada is used by several different air bases as a spot for low-level training. Generally fighter pilots, but on a lucky day, anything from the US Air Force fleet could pass by.
Via Paul Williams