There's a freedom in flying that can't be felt on the ground.
It's something about being in the clouds, defying gravity and earthly concerns.
Mike de Winton knows this feeling well. He's just marked 40 years of flying, including 20 years with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Mike said flying with the rescue service was thrilling because "we turn up to work having no idea what we're going to do and where we're going to go".
"Unfortunately when we go somebody's normally in trouble, which doesn't make it good, but it means we can actually use our skills," said Mike, who is chief pilot for the rescue service.
"All our pilots have huge experience. Flying is our passion. We'd rather spend all our time in the air if we could. There is a freedom in flying that you don't experience elsewhere."
Flying at certain times of the day can give pilots a heightened feeling of bliss.
"When you're flying down the coast at sunrise or sunset, it's an amazing feeling."
Much of his flying hasn't been blissful. He flew helicopter missions during the Falklands War and First Gulf War for the British Navy.
He also flew as part of a United Nations force during the Bosnian Crisis and in northern Iraq during the Kurdish Crisis at the end of the Gulf War.
His military experience helped mould him as a person.
"There's stuff that I'd rather forget and there's also stuff I really remember - some of the people I've worked with and the friends I've made have been exceptional.
"Unfortunately, with anything like that, there's a lot of tragedy around it. It's only later in life you look back at what happened and how it affected you.
"Camaraderie is very strong, particularly when things are not going well."
Mike spent time in Norway working on survival and helicopter operations for NATO.
In the Navy, he was part of commando squadrons.
"One of our roles in NATO was to train people for Arctic warfare in northern Norway. We spent a lot of time up there in the winter, teaching people to fly and Arctic survival," he said.
"The NATO alliance always had a bit of a concern with the northern flank [which defends against Russia]."
Extreme cold, treacherous terrain and dangerous conditions made the job particularly difficult.
"It was some of the more challenging flying conditions I've worked in," he said.
"Things can change drastically in a snow storm. It was a very demanding environment, but it helped to develop skills."
His main role when flying troop-carrying helicopters was to support the Royal Marines commando force.
"We used to take the marines wherever they needed to go - amphibious assaults, the desert, Arctic and jungle."
After 20 years in the Navy, he reached the top of his profession. He didn't fancy a desk job. He wanted to carry on flying.
So he came to Australia and joined the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. He's been there ever since.
His most memorable mission with the service was in 2001.
The yacht Loco capsized in a storm off Newcastle. Mike led the mission to save the two crew who were in a life raft.
Sing Your Heart Out
Singing helps everything, don't you think? Except if the singing is bad.
We're pretty sure the group known as Sing Australia Belmont has good singers. But even if they don't have good voices, they do have good hearts.
They've organised an event called Sing Out for Murrurundi to help the Upper Hunter town, which is suffering from drought.
Following recent media coverage of the dire situation in Murrurundi, the group decided to direct its fundraising efforts towards drought-relief efforts in this area.
The group's conductor Annette McEwan said a fundraiser would be held for the cause at Belmont 16s on Sunday, September 29.
The event, titled Sing Out for Murrurundi, will begin at 2pm.
Money raised will go towards the so-called Pop-Up Pantry - a charity working through the Lions Club of Murrurundi to help farmers with financial, practical and emotional support.
About 50 people from Sing Australia Belmont will take a two-day trip to Murrurundi in November.
They'll hand over the money raised and spend some cash in the town on accommodation, meals and shopping.
They'll also spread some "cheer and goodwill" through singing events at the bowling club and St Paul's Church.
"There is sure to be plenty of impromptu singing in the cafes and on the street during our stay," Annette said.
"We want to spread a message of hope and support and let the community know that people on the coast sincerely care about their plight."