PILOTS have been taking the plunge in a Hampshire lake as they train for an international competition.

Crews have been practising ditching their light aircraft in the water and escaping from the submerged plane at Andark Lake in Southampton.

On Saturday they were pictured training in “Dunkers” – similar to commercial helicopters – on a course comprising three simulated ditches.

After ditching their planes in the water, they practised drills including getting into and out of life-rafts on their own and in groups, and learning how to right an inverted raft.

This training is taking place in preparation for the "gruelling" Greenland Air Trophy (GAT2021) contest next month.

The competition starts on the northern edge of Scotland on June 21, and involves the teams flying via the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland to the remote north-east of Canada by July 3.

Pilots will face two challenges on the way, including concentrating throughout a long flight over cold water with limited fuel and unpredictable weather, followed by a precision flying-skills test using a very short or sometimes no runway.

GAT2021 will also see the teams, who are from Europe and North America, landing at remote former Second World War US Air Force bases which have only been visited by a handful of aircraft in the past 80 years.

The competition is organised by VintageAirRally, which arranges aviation events around the world.