When they were 21, Richmond and Heather Harding would fly a Fletcher from Taumarunui to Whanganui to do their washing at Richmond's mother's place.

And the couple are still flying high.

On Saturday, Richmond took Heather up for her first flight in his replica spitfire to celebrate her 80th birthday.

"I hadn't been up for a while and I couldn't figure out quite where we were," she said.

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"[But] it was wonderful to have a fly and I had a great day."

Richmond, a former topdressing pilot, has been flying since the late 1950s, clocking up close to 28,000 hours.

He said Heather hadn't yet been in his spitfire so decided to make it a birthday treat for her.

"I think she did it more to appease me, it was brave of her really," he said.

"We went to the north. We were sort of up between the end of the Parapara and the river," he said.

"It was beautiful day."

Richmond Harding has been flying his wife around for nearly six decades. On Saturday they celebrated Heather's 80th birthday with a spin in a replica Spitfire. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Richmond Harding has been flying his wife around for nearly six decades. On Saturday they celebrated Heather's 80th birthday with a spin in a replica Spitfire. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Heather said "taking off was exciting" but the 20-minute flight was more than enough.

Her great grandson was on the ground to see his great grandparents take off.

"He's only a fortnight old so that was a bit of a highlight of the weekend, having him about," Richmond said.

"He was there yesterday and saw her get in the plane."

Richmond has only been flying the replica Spitfire for about four years after he had it built.

Heather Harding was all smiles after her flight in a replica Spitfire for her 80th birthday. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Heather Harding was all smiles after her flight in a replica Spitfire for her 80th birthday. Photo/ Stuart Munro

"I think every pilot likes the idea of a Spitfire. They were an outstanding aeroplane weren't they?"

For Heather's 80th, the couple also took their motorcycle trike out for and spin, spent time with family and friends, and went out for dinner.