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Rare visitors flying in the Sidewinder low level military flying area
Filmed by our friend Dafydd Phillips the cool video in this post feature some unusual military aircraft flying through the Sidewinder low level military flying area.
A huge C-17 Globemaster III
‘Five days spent hunting fast jets in the Sidewinder, US, came up with a great variety of aircraft. As ir can be seen, some rare visitors included a Fouga CM-170 Magister, Vandy 1 (the gloss black F/A-18F Super Hornet operated by VX-9), as well as some RAF F-35B’s and my highlight, a C-17 Globemaster III which dropped in twice just to be sure.’
A jointly operated AV-8B Harrier II
Among the aircraft featured in the video (at 0:41) there’s also a cool US Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B Harrier II+ (although the aircraft could be operated by VX-9 “Vampires” or by VX-31 “Dust Devils,” joint US Navy/USMC Squadrons from Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake).
The Sidewinder low level route
The Sidewinder low level route is a massive low altitude military training complex in the California desert, of which the famous and now defunct Star Wars Canyon was just a small part.
Rainbow Canyon, nicknamed “Star Wars Canyon,” was closed in 2019 due to a fatal accident involving the crash of a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
The Rainbow Canyon, officially called “Jedi Transition” is located at 282km (more or less 3h drive) from Las Vegas International Airport.
It was one of the most famous “low-level” flying training areas in the world and was mainly used by the US military aircraft. The traffic came from Nellis AFB, NAWS China Lake, Fresno Air National Guard Base, Edwards AFB and NAS Lemoore. The area was used by foreign air forces too.
Photo credit: Dafydd Phillips