The engine kicks in and the propellers start to spin.
Fuel burns down the exhaust and the wheels begin to move the aircraft down the runway.
The pilot waves out the window indicating the DC-3 warbird is ready for take-off.
It is a special flight at Tauranga's Classic Flyers, marking 65 years since New Zealand's original Special Air Service (SAS) squadron first fought communist terrorists in the Malayan jungle.
Onboard the DC-3 passengers are some of the last surviving members of the NZSAS.
Buckled in is 93-year-old Graham Boswell.
He says the reunion with his fellow soldiers is "very special" to him.
"These are the remaining members of our family. Our family was 133 and it's now 27. And of course, we know each other extremely well."
But he says they are not interested in swapping stories about the past and more worried about the wellbeing of his fellow soldiers more than 60 years since the NZSAS was disbanded.
"This was the most terrible thing that could ever have happened."
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NZSAS originally formed in 1955 as a single squadron for service in the Malayan Emergency. But the NZSAS Squadron was disbanded on leaving Malaya in 1957 only to be reformed in 1959.
"I won't say any more. But most of us are very saddened by that happening," Boswell says.
"Especially since we had been very successful and we were if not the best sub-unit in the strategic reserve at that stage, we were well in the tops, and then to come home and be just dismissed was very hurtful."
Boswell was a Regular in the unit and says he "saw it all the way through to the finish".
He had been involved in the New Zealand Army for 10 years before joining the NZSAS.
He remembers seeing the men come off the train in Waiouru on June 7, 1955, and being involved in training the troops. He also recalls receiving people off the aircraft in Singapore and taking them to Kuala Lumpur where they were attached to the 22 SAS.
Boswell came back on the last aircraft and remembers putting the troops on the plane for one final time and not seeing them again until their first reunion.
He was then in charge of writing the establishment for the replacement in 1959 - the year he left the New Zealand Army.
"It is very difficult going from the sort of thing that we did going back into civilian life. It is so different.
"Lots of people in New Zealand think anyone in the Army can only go one, two, right turn sort of thing. Whereas we have some of the most complex operations on occasion to organise."
A Givealittle page was launched late last year to help fund the reunion. Grants were also received from 14 RSAs throughout New Zealand as well as BayTrust, NZ Community Trust, Pub Charity Ltd, Hugo Charitable Trust, Malayan/Vietnam Vets, Lotteries and Veterans Affairs.
Boswell was grateful to everyone who helped bring the squadron together for the reunion.
The NZSAS is a special forces unit of the New Zealand Army and has always been highly regarded as an elite military group.
Only 28 members of the original 132-strong squad are still alive and many of them and their families attended Saturday's reunion.
As well as the DC-3 flight, the men rode in vintage cars from the BOP Vintage Car Club, watched a parachuting demonstration, and gathered for a dinner celebration where the current Commanding Officer and Regimental Major from the NZSAS spoke.
Reunion organiser David Ogilvy said reunions allowed veterans to re-forge that "unbreakable bond", rekindle past friendships and heal from past experiences together.
"We're all aged in our late 80s and early 90s now so who knows if we will ever have another one?
"This is probably our last opportunity to get together and reminisce."
The DC-3 scenic flight is operated by Air Chathams, which now fly regular scenic flights from the Classic Flyers Museum at Tauranga Airport during the summer and selected NZ events and air shows.
Air Chathams Ltd airline commercial manager Adrian Ali said the classic plane was once under the command of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was subsequently used as a passenger plane for the National Airways Corporation.
Ali said it was a privilege to carry the valuable military servicemen on Saturday so they could "once again experience the type of aircraft they worked with during their yesteryear".