A LIFEBOAT crew member is taking to the skies to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Phil Stuart, a crewman at Hamble Independent Lifeboat, is fulfilling a lifelong ambition by flying the iconic World War 2 aircraft, the Spitfire, around various locations around the Solent.

The plane is a two-seater Spitfire and Phil will be joined by a chief pilot who will hand over control at certain parts of the flight.

The pair will be taking off from Solent Airport at 2pm today (September 15), which was active during the Battle of Britain and was the busiest South Coast airfield on D-Day

They will then head north up the Hamble River past the lifeboat station where Phil is based, past Mercury Marina, then west over the disused RAF Hamble airfield which was used to repair aircraft throughout the war.

Following this, they will head to the old RAF Calshot station, as well as the Needles on The Isle of Wight, the D-Day museum in Southsea and Southwick House, which was used as HQ for D-Day, before returning to Solent Airport 45 minutes later.

Over the course of the flight they will be performing various aerobatics including 360 degree turns and Aileron Rolls.

When asked about the upcoming flight Phil said: “I have done quite a lot of aerobatics in the past as I learnt to fly in the States years ago.

“I’ve never been in a Spitfire so it’s a dream come true as I never thought I would do it.

“The Spitfire is my favourite aircraft so it’s just a privilege to get a chance to fly it.

“I’m some what excited.”

Phil will be doing an in-flight video throughout their 45 minute journey.

The flight was originally planned for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place last year, but as a result of bad weather, it had to be postponed.

After a long wait, Phil is finally going to get his chance to fly his favourite plane and hopes it will be a fitting tribute for this important day in the area’s history.

Boultbee Flight Academy will be operating the flight.