An Air Force veteran is set to return to the skies today after after being gifted a flight in a war plane by a motorcycle club and the RSA.

The ride in a New Zealand Warbird military plane was the first prize in the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle club's annual fundraiser, but the winner passed it to the RSA to find a deserving recipient.

Air Force veteran, RSA welfare officer and Waitakere Hospital volunteer Ray Claridge, 85, was chosen to take part in a Battle of Britain commemoration flight.

Claridge said he was looking forward to being back in a military aircraft again: "It's been some time since I've been on a flight, having done 6000 rides on other aircraft, dropping supplies, dropping troops, dropping passengers around the world. So it's making me very excited to go around and look at Auckland.

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"Just getting in that aeroplane, sitting down, strapping myself in, hearing the engine start, rolling down the runway and getting airborne — it'll be just like old memories."

The NZ Patriots bring together people of a service background and a love of motorbikes to ride together and give back to their communities.

When they approached the RSA to find a winner, the group wanted a person strong enough to get themselves into the plane, and someone who had a military background.

Neville Swann, president of the Pt Chevalier RSA, said Claridge fitted the criteria "like a glove".

"He's as agile as they come, we had him in a couple of months ago at our club and he was up singing and dancing and chasing the girls around. He's a real bundle of bloody dynamite actually."

Claridge grew up in Burma during the Japanese occupation, but moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in the RAF.

After initially wanting to train as a pilot, he was told he was too short and went on to become a navigator instead.

In 1971 he and his wife — they've been married over 60 years — moved to New Zealand where he still contributes to his Mt Eden community.

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Percy Wooton, vice-president of the Auckland Chapter of the NZ Patriots, said the original winner thought gifting the prize would be a great way to celebrate their partnership with the RSA.

"We really wanted to foster a relationship between ourselves and the RSA, to promote RSAs and what they represent because they are not just old gentlemen and ladies."