Frequently Asked Tour Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions.
What are the advantages of a helicopter tour versus an airplane tour?
Because of their agility and small turning radius, helicopters can fly you right into the heart of many of Kauai’s geological gems such as the hanging valleys on the Na Pali Coast or the interior of Mt. Wai’aleale Crater, while fixed‐wing aircraft have to circle above. Hence, helicopters allow you a more intimate look at the terrain. And because our pilots can slow down and turn the aircraft around some of the famous highlights, such as Jurassic Falls, you can take a more leisurely look and are given enhanced photo opportunities. Plus, when was the last time you were in a helicopter?
Will there be other passengers on our flight?
At Mauna Loa Helicopters, we feel that you should not have to share your flight with any unknown passengers. Therefore, we fly exclusively private tours for parties of two or three. On our most popular tour for two, we purposely leave the third passenger seat vacant. This way you will not have to share the aircraft with any second party. This is your tour.
What is better for me — a doors-on or doors-off helicopter tour?
Both options allow for optimal viewing as each passenger is guaranteed a window seat with wide windows extending from the top of your head to your waist. The choice to fly with or without doors depends on your priorities and comfort level. In a closed aircraft, you are shielded from wind exposure and you will hear music and narration clearly. It is a very serene way of taking in the scenery through the large windows. If you are game for a more visceral experience or photography is important to you, our doors-off adventure is for you. Floor-to-ceiling openings allow you to look straight down into waterfalls and sea caves, and glare from windows in your photos is no factor. Because the helicopter is open to the elements you will be exposed to wind and cooler temperatures caused by airspeed and altitude. For your comfort, please follow our recommendations on how to dress appropriately for your doors-off helicopter flight. The airframe does protect you and your camera equipment well during light showers or mist.
For passengers with differing door preferences, we can remove any one or all of the doors. We can easily accommodate individual passenger requests on the same flight. However, all seating arrangements are subject to weight and balance calculations. For doors-on and doors-off tours, please abide by our recommendations on how to prepare for your flight so you can make the most of it.
When is the best time to go on a helicopter tour?
There is no short answer. Although Kauai enjoys plentiful sunshine year-round, we do experience summer and winter seasons. Precise flying weather conditions are often impossible to predict, especially in winter, because of the interplay of dynamic weather patterns and the island’s unique topography. Due to the high mountainous spine in the center of Kauai, each hour of the day shows off the island, literally, in a different light. Wind speeds and cloud formation also change throughout the day resulting from variations in temperature. Ultimately, the time of day you book depends on your preference and itinerary, but we recommend choosing a tour day early on in your stay. This allows you more opportunities to find a different tour time with us should the weather not cooperate for the original flight.
I am traveling by myself. Can I take your tour?
While our aircraft can accommodate up to three passengers, we do not seat individual passengers with confirmed parties of two. Because we provide private flights, we will always allow the extra seat to remain empty. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to pay for two seats, we are unable to accommodate a single passenger.
What will we see on our private helicopter tour?
On this magnificent island, there is much to be discovered by air. Certain of the countless remarkable features have, deservedly, garnered special interest and renown and are most popular for aerial viewing. Therefore, all helicopter operators fly a very similar oval route clockwise around the island. Weather permitting, our pilots will explore with you all of Kauai’s most famous geological features as outlined in our tour descriptions. Sometimes, wind and weather conditions necessitate a deviation from the usual tour route. In these instances, our pilots will attempt to show off other spectacular scenery not normally included on the tours as Kauai offers more hidden wonder to please the eye than can possibly be covered on a single flight. We guarantee to showcase spectacular scenery and breath‐taking views that are not obtainable by car or trail.