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Female Spitfire pilot, 92, takes to the skies 70 years after last flying the iconic plane to aid World War Two effort

By Lucy Waterlow for MailOnline | Click here to read the full article.

A female war veteran rolled back the years to take to the skies in a Spitfire again today, decades after she last flew the iconic plane.

Joy Lofthouse, 92, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, was one of only 164 women who were allowed into the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War Two.

The small group of female pilots dubbed the 'Attagirls' were based at White Waltham in Berkshire and were trained to fly 38 types of aircraft between factories and military airfields across the country.

joy lofthouse

Joy Lofthouse, 92, was at Boultbee Flight Academy in Chichester today to fly a Spitfire again.

For Joy, flying the Spitfire was the ultimate thrill and she was delighted to be given the chance to fly the plane again this morning.

Speaking before taking off at the Boultbee Flight Academy in Chichester, she told BBC Radio Five Live: 'I feel excited but aware of my age so hoping that things go ok, I'm not as confident as I was when I used to fly them alone when I was young!

'The Spitfire is such a wonderful plane. It's the nearest thing to having wings of your own and flying.'

Joy was accompanied on her flight by a co-pilot who controlled the take off and landing but allowed Joy to take the controls for a time while they were in the air.

During the flight, Joy beamed with happiness and said: 'It's incredible to be in a Spitfire again after so long. I am so lucky to be given this chance to fly it again. It's hard to describe the feeling.'

She particularly relished coming in to land telling her co-pilot that was 'always the exciting bit.'

With her feet back on the ground, Joy said the flight had been 'lovely'.

She added that the only difference from when she had flown the plane 70 years ago was the use of radio.

When she used to fly there was complete silence after take off with no radio contact with people on the ground.

After the war Joy, now a widow, married and became a teacher.

Her older sister, Yvonne MacDonald, had also been a pilot in the ATA.

The pair signed up in 1943 after spotting an advert in a flying magazine.

As previously reported in the Daily Mail, the women had to show plenty of determination to convince military bosses that females were up to the task of flying military planes.

But once accepted, they said they were treated no differently from the men - except they weren't allowed to fly in combat.

Joy said: 'When the war broke out all our boyfriends would talk about was flying.

'So when we saw the advert we both decided to apply.

'Once we were there was no sex discrimination. In fact, I don't think those words had been invented back then.

'It really was the best job to have during the war because it was exciting, and we could help the war effort. In many ways we were trailblazers for female pilots in the RAF.'

The role of the female pilots was to transport the planes to where they were needed and although this didn't involve any fighting, the job was not without danger.

They often had to fly in challenging weather conditions - which cost the lives of some experienced female pilots including Amy Johnson, who had become famous for setting world records for flying long-distances, but died in 1941 after baling out in cloud over the Thames estuary.

'The weather was our biggest enemy,' said Joy. 'There were a couple of times when I thought I'd lost one of my nine lives.'

Luckily the conditions were good for Joy to take to the skies again today and she loved every minute.

'It was perfect, it made me feel quite young,' she said.