Maui Helicopter Tours
Maui Helicopters allow you to see the 75% of Maui that is only visible from the air!
If you haven't taken a helicopter tour on Maui....... you haven't seen Maui.
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When I first came to Maui many decades ago I hiked and traveled just about every place possible. When I took my first of many Maui helicopter tours I was in the air no more than 10 minutes before realizing I had no clue what the island really looked like. Isolated valleys, hidden waterfalls, secluded ridges, triple-canopy rainforests, and mountain summits. Some areas are so dense and rugged they are impossible to traverse on foot. Some species of animal and plant life are so isolated in their Maui habitat they exist only in their own little valley and nowhere else in the world.
Where the Maui Helicopter rides take you.
Hana and Haleakala Crater Maui Helicopter Tours ...................... There are many different Helicopter Rides on Maui that can be taken but the main two are the 45 minute Hana/Crater tour and the 60 minute full Circle Island. The very least amount of time I would recommend to take would be the 45 minute Hana/Crater flight because shorter tours are just not long enough to enjoy what Maui has to offer. The Hana Crater tour departs, as do all flights, from the heliport at the Kahului Airport. It winds its way up to the top of the crater at 10,000 ft. Here you'll be looking down at the crater which descends 3000 ft and is 21 miles in circumference. It is so large in fact that the analogy is often used that you can take the entire island of Manhattan and fit it within the boundaries of Haleakala Crater. The landscape there is strikingly stark in its beauty and looks almost like the surface of the moon. From there you'll move onward to some of the most remote valleys on the island with huge waterfalls and steep drop-offs and finally wind your way into the region of the Oheo Gulch and Hana. From this vantage point you'll be looking down upon triple-canopy rainforests with enormous brilliantly colored African Tulip trees, waterfalls, pools, streams and rugged forest. The Hana Coastline from the air is one of the most beautiful to be found anywhere on the planet, in fact this was the backdrop for much of the footage that was seen on the movie Jurassic Park.
Circle Island Maui Helicopter Tours include Haleakala Crater, the Hana area and the West Maui Mountains................... The second major flight of the island is the Circle Island flight which encompasses the exact same flight as the 45 min Crater/Hana tour but also includes the spectacular West Maui Mountains as well. The West Maui Mountains are a completely different animal then is Haleakala. While Haleakala is considered a dormant volcano that is just at the apex of its growth stage the West Maui's have been extinct for over a million years. They are also the home of the second wettest spot on Earth. The peak of Puu Kukui. The rainfall here is about 370 inches a year and the combination of so much rainfall falling upon such an old lava surface has carved huge valleys and cliffs in the interior. From the top at Puu Kukui there are razor sharp ridges that sculpt their way to the coast. On either side of the upper ridges the sheer walls that have been carved descend literally thousands of feet down to the valleys below. And there are waterfalls everywhere. One particular area we call the "wall of tears" has perhaps 15 to 35 waterfalls all happening at once depending on the rainfall from the previous hours. Though this area is only about 4 miles as a crow flies to the towns of Lahaina, Kaanapali or Wailuku it is so remote that you will not see a road, a town or a person in sight. In fact it is so primordial that the only thing you might expect to see would be a dinosaur. If this is one of your first trips to Maui, this might be the best Maui helicopter ride for you to go on since you'll really have a good understanding of the lay of the land and you'll be able to go back and visit the places you were most attracted to.
West Maui and Molokai flights fly across the channel and visit the eastern half of Molokai as well as seeing West Maui................The West Maui and Molokai helicopter tours are considered by some Maui helicopter pilots to be the very best of all, although there are both positives and negatives regarding these 60 minute flights. Positives include the fact that the regions to be seen on Molokai are spectacular. The northern coastline of Molokai is famous for having the largest waterfalls descending from cliffs into the sea of anyplace in the world. It is also the home of the historic and extremely picturesque Kalaupapa Peninsula which is the home the famous Father Damien's Leper Colony. The views to be seen on Molokai are considered by many as "payback" for what could be considered the one negative on this tour which is the fact that you need to travel about eight minutes or so across the channel from Maui to Molokai each way in order to get there and back. Although the waters can be beautiful during the winter months and can offer spectacular views of the Humpback Whales, it is generally more interesting to spend your time flying over the beautiful scenery to be seen on the islands themselves rather than ocean.
West Maui Helicopter Rides include only West Maui........................ The least expensive of the regularly scheduled Maui flights are the West Maui helicopter tours. These tours range in the 20-30 minute zone and fly either into or around the West Maui Mountains. The West Maui's are unbelievably beautiful and are filled with amazing waterfalls and sheer cliffs but because of the extreme rainfall found there (about 370"/year which makes it the second wettest spot on earth) the conditions can often be too wet and cloudy to see the best that it has to offer and many of these tours end up skirting the periphery of the mountains, which not being as exciting as going into the interior is still beautiful in its own right.
Maui Helicopters consist of a number of different types and models....
The A-Star is generally considered the "gold standard" for Maui helicopter tours. No matter where you sit you'll have 180-degree visibility. The rotator shaft does not come between the front and back seats and there are no visual impediments interrupting your view forward. The back seat is raised to give a better view above the seats in front and there is an abundance of windows.
The Whisper Star is actually the enhanced version of the A-Star and is generally considered the "Cadillac" of the Maui helicopters tour aircraft. These helicopters are wider allowing for all bucket seats for more comfort. They have about 20% more viewing capacity through the larger windows and they produce less noise as from heard from the outside.
The Hughes 500 is small, fast and maneuverable. It seats only 4 passengers so each person is guaranteed a window seat.
The Bell Jet Ranger seats four passengers. It is a little larger than the Hughes and smaller than the A-Star.
With regard to personalize videos of your Maui helicopter tour:
Many Maui helicopter companies equip their aircraft with special video recorders mounted in the nose and along the sides of the helicopter. Some even have camera lenses mounted in the cockpit. As the pilot flies along he directs the taping, selecting the camera offering the best view. The result: at the end of your helicopter tour you're presented with a video tape of your actual flight to take home and enjoy over and over.
"Doors Off" Maui Helicopter Rides
One of the Maui helicopter companies we regularly recommend, Alex Air, offers some flights with the doors off. These flights are fantastic for those wanting to take photographs without having to shoot through glass. These are also quite exciting in the sense that there is nothing between your lens and the ground often thousands of feet below but you soon get used to the fact that you are harnessed securely to the aircraft and in all respects are just as secure as you would be in a helicopter flying with doors. There is no question however that there is an additional wind and possible coolness element that enters the equation but these are among the most exciting of the flights we offer.
First Class Seating on your Maui Helicopter Ride
One of the very best innovations we have ever had on our Maui Helicopter Tours is provided on some of the Whisper Star aircraft flights offered by one of our premium island helicopter companies, Sunshine Helicopters. When flying on the Whisper Star you can choose to pay extra and be guaranteed a front of the helicopter window seat. The way it works under normal conditions on most all helicopter companies is that you are generally seated in the front or back seats based upon the weights of those flying with you and how they relate to the overall balance of the entire aircraft. Because the Whisper Star has more weight capacity it offers the luxury of placing passengers of most weights in the front seats. These seats are a bargain for anyone wishing to enjoy what is arguably the very best seating position on any helicopter but it may be even more of a bonus for people who carry larger weights and the additional pricing is often much less than they would pay in other helicopter tour aircraft who require often one-and-a-half to two times the cost of a passenger who is considered over normal weights.
Discount Helicopter Tickets
Discounted Maui helicopter tickets are sometimes available on all of our helicopter company flights but one company, Air Maui, has made discounted tickets available to our clients on a consistent basis over the course of years. These tickets only become available when purchased on short notice, usually the same day or the following morning of the night before, and can save you money if you are willing to simply fly at a moment's notice. These tickets are not always available by any means but you should call us to check on the availability on any particular day. For those wishing to plan out their holiday itinerary this is not a great option because you can often waste days waiting to see if there are any tickets available for a particular flight you want and often by the time you learn that a flight might not be available on a specific day you will have already missed the opportunity to have done something else with your day. For those who do have the time to spare however, these are the same quality flights at great prices.
Tom's Tips - Maui Helicopter Tours
Maui Helicopter Tour times range from 20 minutes to a few hours. Longer helicopter rides may include touchdowns.
Wear dark-colored clothing if you're going to be taking your own photographs. White or light- colored clothing will reflect in the windows and show up in the image.
Want to see incredible mountain terrain, spectacular sea cliffs and outrageous waterfalls? Try the Molokai tours.
Morning Maui helicopter tours generally have the least cloud cover. These are also the ones that book up first, especially during busy times.
Book early to assure seating on the day you want. Better yet, book a morning tour before you get here.
Air Maui was founded helicopter pilot Steve Egger. Steve was a part owner of a helicopter company on Kauai when hurricane Iniki hit in 1992. The island was demolished from the storm and he decided to move to Maui to start over again. His dedication to customer service and a sense of "fun" has laid the groundwork for the company culture at Air Maui. At Air Maui the pilots are not just pilots, they are personal guides and the staff that greets you seem like old friends. Air Maui's hangar is at the Kahului Heliport. The lehiport is on the other side of the tarmac from Maui's main airport, Kahului (OGG). Air Maui flies ASTAR Helicopters that are specifically designed for sightseeing. The ASTAR helicopter seats six passengers and is designed to allow a full one hundred and eighty degree view from all seats. The ASTAR Helicopters are also equipped with full air conditioning, a Sony/Bose stereo system and five onboard video cameras. The pilot will be controlling the cameras and will make a DVD video of your trip that is available for purchase at the end of the flight. Air Maui offers a variety of flights that cover the islands of Maui as well as Molokai.
(From: $125.00 - To: $230.00)
Owner and founder of Alex Air Helicopters, Steve Alexander, has a history in the business that goes back to the days in Long Beach when his father was a Hughes Helicopter pilot after World War II. Alex Air is the oldest helicopter operation on the island of Maui. The companies A-Star helicopters are equipped with state of the art headsets that allow 2-way communication between pilot and passengers. In addition to the A-Star helicopters that fly six passengers, Alex Air also flies a Hughes Five-Hundred that takes four passengers and specializes in tours where the doors are removed. The open-air Huhes Five-Hundred helicopter is a completely different experience from the closed cabin A-Stars. Instead of being in a still air conditioned cabin you will have crosswinds coming through the cabin at upwards of a hundred miles an hour. Not only will you see some amazing places but you will be able to feel them too. The last time I flew on the doors off tour I remember being able to smell the dank smell of the jungle and feel the humidity on my face that was being emitted from the waterfalls. There is no glass to interfere with your photography so you'll have the opportunity to take some great pictures. Alex Air Helicopters flies all of their tours from the Kahului Heliport. This location is at the center of the island of Maui, on the opposite side of the tarmac from the Kahului Airport (OGG), which is the main Airport on Maui. Tours go throughout the day and many different flights are available that cover the islands of Maui and/or Molokai.
(From: $134.90 - To: $265.90)
Sunshine Helicopter is owned and operated by Ross and Anna Scott. Ross helicopter experience started with his first tour of duty as a gunship pilot in Vietnam. After the war, Ross managed a large aviation company in Alaska with fifty airplanes and thirty helicopters. The Sunshine Helicopter company has the benefit of his vast aviation experience and the company operates helicopter tours on Maui, the Big Island and Kauai using both A-Stars and the advanced Whisper Star helicopters. With any of the trips that are offered by Sunshine Helicopters you will travel in comfort. The perspective of a helicopter is unparalleled for sightseeing and the landscapes of Hawaii are arguably some of the most beautiful to be found anywhere on the planet.
(From: $170.00 - To: $345.00)
Air Tours - Fixed Wing on Maui - Fixed wing air tours on Maui can simply fly over the island of Maui but the most popular of them are those that either include the erupting volcanoes of the Big Island of Hawaii or those that include a tour to Father Damiens Leper Colony on the island of Molokai. The Father Damien trips actually land on the famous Kaulapapa Peninsula and tour the leper colony on land for four hours before your airplane comes back to pick you up on your return trip to Maui.
(From: $355.00 - To: $449.00)
ALL HELICOPTER TOUR AND RIDE PATTERNS AND SPECIFIC SIGHTS ARE SUBJECT TO WEATHER.