A LIFEBOAT crew member took to the skies yesterday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Phil Stuart, a crewman at Hamble Independent Lifeboat got to complete a lifelong dream of his when he took off on September 15 from Solent airport in a World War 2 Spitfire.

Phil was in the plane with a chief pilot and took off at 2pm on their 45 minute journey around various locations across the Solent.

Daily Echo:

Following the flight Phil said: "It all went absolutely to plan and we did a couple of things that I didn't expect to do as well.

"It is absolutely knackering, I don't know how they fly six times a day.

"I think it is going to take a few days to sink in."

The journey took Phil up the Hamble River, over the lifeboat station where he is based, as well as over locations such as the disused RAF Hamble airfield, the old RAF Calshot Station, The Needles on the Isle of Wight, the D-Day museum in Southsea, and Southwick House.

Over the course of the flight, they performed several aerobatics including 360 degree turns and Aileron Rolls.

Phil added: "There were loads of people outside waving as we did aerobatics.

"It was a buzz, you've got all of the engine noise and you can communicate with the pilot through your helmet, and also the smells of oil and fuel as well all bring it to life.

Daily Echo:

"I had a dozen friends and family down for it.

"My brother followed me on Plane Finder to track the flight with that so he can have that as a memory and see where I was.

"My family said for them it was one of the best days they've ever had as well."