A DISTINGUISHED pilot took to the skies again to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Veteran Royal Air Force pilot Sir John Severne got behind the controls of a Tiger Moth biplane earlier this month to celebrate his landmark birthday.

He took to the air in the craft at Compton Abbas Airfield in North Dorset with DH Heritage Flights.

The biplane is the latest in a long line of aircraft Sir John has flown during his long and varied flying career.

Sir John joined the RAF in 1944 and gained his wings two months after the end of the Second World War.

His first posting was to Number 264 Night Fighter Squadron flying the de Havilland Mosquito.

On a flying instructor's course at the Central Flying School, he flew a Lancaster, Spitfire and the Vampire.

Later he was posted to Germany as a flight commander on a Venom squadron, where he was awarded an Air Force Cross for landing an aircraft that had caught fire.

As a Squadron Leader, he became Equerry to the Duke of Edinburgh.

After this Sir John then became the chief instructor on Britain's first supersonic fighter, the English Electric Lightning.

Later he became ‘Wing Commander Ops' at the joint HQ of Middle East Command where he was involved in counter-terrorist operations in Aden. As Station Commander of RAF Kinloss, he was responsible for the introduction of the Nimrod, a maritime patrol aircraft, in 1971 - at the height of the Cold War when these new anti-submarine aircraft were a vital part of Britain's defence.

Staff at the Dorset airfield said they were delighted to welcome Sir John to fly with them.

Instructor Nick Robinson said that Sir John still flew the Tiger "as though he had last been in it yesterday.”