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Helicopter Tours In Hawaii - Worth It? Safety?  
User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5694 posts, RR: 18
Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4692 times:

Before reading these threads on flyertalk:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=644324

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=681885

and NTSB reports linked in these threads I was determined to buy a helicopter tour (of the Hawaii Big Island) as a birthday gift for my gf during our trip to Hawaii in November. Now I'm not so sure it's such a great idea as I initially thought it was. I don't think I'm easy to scare and I so know that the volume of flights every day is huge but there seems to be too many accidents often caused by human error to just say it's exaggeration.
Your thoughts/experience???

I've done night 'copter tour over Vegas many years ago and absolutely loved it. Is it a better (read safer) alternative to Hawaii? Although boxes from concreete and glass can't even remotely compare with natural scenery that's for sure.

[Edited 2007-06-19 10:24:02]

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2527 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4688 times:

Did a helicopter tour on Maui and it was unbelievable... The company I went on did the filming for the opening scenes of Jurassic Park where they are flying low level over the water and pull up above the cliff and recreated this for us, pretty cool stuff. Stick to the major companies and you should be fine in terms of safety. Try to get a helicopter that has two-way communication on board. On my trip we could hear the pilot, but the pax didn't have mics to talk to him which sucked when you had a question...

An alternative would be to take a catamaran tour of the island. We did this on Kauai and it was incredible. Basically an all day thing with food provided. Great scenery, they take you to good snorkeling spots, fun ride, and great people on board make it a really good time.


User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2388 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4673 times:

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 1):
Did a helicopter tour on Maui and it was unbelievable... The company I went on did the filming for the opening scenes of Jurassic Park where they are flying low level over the water and pull up above the cliff and recreated this for us, pretty cool stuff.

I did exactly that kind of tour on Maui too! Our pilot flew really close to the mountains, so that we were surrounded by the mountains from 3 sides.. there were some strong winds but because of the rotor on the helicopter, you don't feel it so much... it was extremely beautiful!

Big version: Width: 2560 Height: 1920 File size: 1014kb


User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4666 times:

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 1):
The company I went on did the filming for the opening scenes of Jurassic Park where they are flying low level over the water and pull up above the cliff and recreated this for us,

Blue Hawaii Helicopters. Well worth the money plus you get a video of the whole tour. Don't even think about it, you must do it or you will be sorry later.


User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2388 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4651 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Blue Hawaii Helicopters. Well worth the money plus you get a video of the whole tour. Don't even think about it, you must do it or you will be sorry later.

I got a video from my tour too... I think all the companies offer this...


User currently offlineArniepie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4646 times:

I wouldn't hesitate to do it, I took some helo rides in the US and they where always worth it.
So far I've been around the SF bay area, New York city, a ride around the Grand Canyon and a tour over the Hoover dam, every single one of them was more than worth it and I never had any safety concerns whatsoever.

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 1):
Try to get a helicopter that has two-way communication on board. On my trip we could hear the pilot, but the pax didn't have mics to talk to him which sucked when you had a question...

Good advice but as far as I can remember I always had a 2way comm system so maybe you where not that lucky (or I was every time).

Related question:
Has anybody ever taken a tour around Mount st Helens and how was it?
What other tours are worthwhile to take (worldwide)?



[edit post]
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3706 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4639 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):

Blue Hawaii Helicopters. Well worth the money plus you get a video of the whole tour. Don't even think about it, you must do it or you will be sorry later.

I did a tour with Blue Hawaiian on Kauai a few months back and don't have a bad word to say about them. I've done quite a few helicopter tours in various parts of the world and they were the most professional lot I've ever dealt with. I'd have no hesitations when it came to safety. Heck, even if the helicopter did go down I can't think of many other places I'd rather die! Kauai is spectacular.

For some pics from my tour of Kauai go to #114.
http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2094064885



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4600 times:

I took a helo tour of Maui back some time ago-certainly worth it. Furthermore, the helo operations allow tens of thousands of people to enjoy the beauty of the islands with a minimum of impact on the environment. Saying that the helo tours should be curtailed or shuttered due to the number of human error accidents is like saying a major airline like United should be shut down if they have two or three similar accidents, despite their millions of safe flights.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offline4holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 3012 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4561 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Don't even think about it, you must do it or you will be sorry later.

Absolutely!!!
The only way to see it.
I did Kauai and the volcanoes on the Big Island (Where Kilauea is up to something these past few days, BTW) and it was the highlights of my trip, if not my life.
Do it.



Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4557 times:

If you don't do something because it might go wrong, how are you going to get to Hawaii in the first place?

Ships can sink, aircraft can crash, and swimming isn't recommended because of the sharks.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineSJCRRPAX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4517 times:

Just to be contrary here, I did the Blue Helicopter tour of Maui. The company was first rate, the Helicopters were top notch, perfectly safe IMHO, but I thought it was a waste of money. The Helicopter never went down very low, might as well been on a Cessna. The money and time in my opinion would be better spent renting Harleys or snorkling. I felt sorry for the Blue Hawaiian guys, my wife missed the Barf Bag about 1 minute before landing. I had no idea she was air sick, still don't understand that as I normally get motion sick fairly easy and I felt nothing. Blue Hawaiian guys were real nice, even after that, but I felt sorry they had to ground their million dollar Helicopter for awhile to clean it up. I have heard some of the other Islands have better tours, but for me the Maui ride was too expensive for what I got and I'll never take another ride Helicopter ride again unless the price goes way down.

User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4489 times:

Quoting SJCRRPAX (Reply 10):
The Helicopter never went down very low,

Must've been the pilot. I think they were the company we flew with. Our pilot was an ex-West Coast police pilot and we rarely got significantly above treetop level except where required by law.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineHawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3192 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4486 times:

Big Island is definitely worth it, it's pretty much the only way to see the lava coming out of the volcano up close. If that's your main interest, take a flight out of Hilo; since its closer it should be cheaper, though you won't get to see as much of the island from the air as you would if you had to fly out from the Kona side.

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8507 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4468 times:

My parents went to Vegas for their honeymoon and the best thing about it from their perspective was renting a Cherokee and flying over Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon at altitudes that are now restricted.

And any Hawaii helicopter tour is probably safer than taking the really scenic route through the Grand Canyon.



User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5694 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4387 times:

Anyone had a chance to experience and compare quality of tours over the Big Island vs. Kauai and inflight experience aboard A-Star vs. Hughes 500 vs. ECO Star???

User currently offline4holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 3012 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4364 times:

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 14):
Anyone had a chance to experience and compare quality of tours over the Big Island vs. Kauai

I loved both, but I gotta give the edge to Kauai. It truly moves the soul. Volcanoes were way cool, but I still get choked up thinking about Kauai. As someone said before, if the helicopter had gone down there, I can think of no better way to go.



Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2527 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4351 times:

Quoting 4holer (Reply 15):
I loved both, but I gotta give the edge to Kauai. It truly moves the soul. Volcanoes were way cool, but I still get choked up thinking about Kauai. As someone said before, if the helicopter had gone down there, I can think of no better way to go.

Kauai wins by far


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