The distinct sound of the Iroquois helicopters lets you know they are near.
This sound, for many war veterans, meant safety, relief and home - it was a sound re-lived for about 40 of them in the Bay yesterday.
Three Iroquois made their way to Tauranga Airport shortly after 12.30pm where veterans could ride in them one last time.
The helicopters are to be retired on July 1 after almost 50 years.
I join the veterans for what I can only describe as a breath-taking experience.
Seated between former servicemen 94-year-old Jack Meehan and 92-year-old Bruce Fea, I am the youngest on board at 28.
As Squadron Leader Lyn Coromandel buckles me in between the two men, I cannot not fathom the experiences these men would have had all those years ago.
Veteran Doug Brown tells me before his flight that he served in Vietnam from the end of 1968 for six months with Victor 3 infantry company.
"They used the Iroquois helicopters to deploy us in Vietnam and pick us up," he says.
"They were the most amazing, welcomed sound. It was that beautiful sound you heard when you were lifted out. They were strong, reliable and they did their job."
Mr Brown joined the army in the 1960s and went from mission to mission, and was sent to Vietnam in October 1968.
"Our mission was to sort out the enemy - the Viet Cong and the NVA troops that came into the task force areas and into the province.
"We were deployed out into various areas to what they used to call search and destroy missions - see if you could find them, give them a hiding ... that was the job of infantry."
Hearing the sound of the Iroquois at the end of a mission was the greatest thing, he says.
"You had been out there in the bush and you may have had a few punch-ups and you're always dying to get back in ... and when you hear those choppers, we're on the way home," he says.
"That's why they were an extremely welcomed sound to a soldier on the ground. They take you in but it was that great sound which meant you were coming back out."
The Air Force will no longer fly Iroquois helicopters from July 1, and will replace them with NH-90 helicopters. The Iroquois fleet has six airworthy choppers, seven in long-term storage and one partial training airframe. Two will be taken to Waiouru Army Museum and two will go to the Air Force Museum in Christchurch for public display. The rest will be put up for sale.