The large RAF plane circling the Isles of Scilly airport on Wednesday was on a training flight.
The Airbus Atlas A400 was flown by crews on conversion training from the older Hercules aircraft.
Chief Air Traffic controller Russ Schild said that Scilly is ideal for this kind of training as it’s quiet and the runway is short. The Atlas could land on St Mary’s but may have trouble taking off again.
In action, the Atlas flies in low at high speed and drops cargo on parachutes out of the rear. The high speed opens the chutes quickly and the low altitude minimises the speed that the cargo hits the ground.
This type of aircraft is often seen dropping urgently needed supplies into disaster zones. Its short take-off and landing ability allows it to bring troops and military supplies to small remote airports anywhere in the world.