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Oahu Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing)

There are 11 tours in this category. Hawaii's Leader in Affordable Tours and Discount Activities

Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing) Sorted by Specific Tour

Oahu Air Tours. Oahu Airplane Tours. Oahu Glider Rides.

The category of Oahu Air Tours has a lot more options for you than simply helicopter rides. For some reason many people don't even consider the option of viewing the island on an Oahu Airplane Tour. Because the areas you will see will be identical to the helicopter flights, and much less expensive, the option of taking an Oahu Airplane Tour may be something you won't want to overlook. Many of these air flights not only tour Oahu but offer fantastic tours form Oahu to visit Molokai and Father Damien's Leper Colony. In addition, one other type of air tour that is not available on any of the other Hawaiian islands are the fantastic Oahu Glider Rides that take off from the North Shore. The experience of flying on one of these glider tours may be the single most unique experience you may have while on your visit to the island.

Is it better to take one of the Oahu Air Tours via an airplane or a helicopter?

The discussion will occasionally come up regarding the relative performance and enjoyment of one of the Oahu air tours as compared to a Helicopter Tour. There are some distinct differences but many don't realize many of the positives that come up on the side of air tours by airplane.

  • First of all, you will you see the island just as well from an air tour airplane flight. Certainly, you will fly over the exact same areas on your fixed-wing air tour and you won't be missing any of the areas you might see otherwise.
  • As far as actually being able to see the spots below from your airplane tour, these aircraft are designed for sightseeing and usually have the wings above the viewing windows to give a greater view of the scenery below and the windows themselves are often enlarged for better viewing.
  • Although Helicopters have the ability to hover, which airplane tours do not, this actually makes fairly little difference on many of the helicopter flights of Oahu. Generally helicopter air flights simply go on at a steady pace and don't use their hovering capabilities to actually stop in mid-air to view a single location, although this can and does happen.
  • Of the many photos that have been taken from the air on Oahu air tours, you would have a hard time discerning whether it had been taken from an airplane air tour or from a helicopter.
  • For all intents and purposes, flying over Oahu on a fixed-wing air tour or a helicopter are both going to give you the "lay of the land" and you'll have essentially the same impression of the beauty of the island below on either.
  • The one big difference you will notice about your flight on an air tour by airplane is that the pricing will be substantially less.
  • Your time in the air will often be longer as well, even at the reduced price point.

Oahu Glider Rides

Oahu Glider Rides are in a word, fantastic! Haven't we all had dreams about flying, silently in the skies above? You can live out this fantasy in one of these glider rides as you soar through the air in a manner much different than an airplane flight. The silence is actually overwhelming and you can feel each and every air current as it lifts your glider higher above the beautiful scenery below. This is a bucket list check-off if there ever was one.

Airplane Flights form Oahu to Molokai and Father Damien's Leper Colony.

The very closest island to Oahu is Molokai and you can very easily take an air tour from Oahu for a flyover or a visit. One of the most popular versions of this flight are the tours to Father Damien's Leper Colony on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. You will be struck by the natural beauty of the island and the actual tour of the colony itself is absolutely heartwarming.

Checkout Tom's Tips and Insights about Oahu Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing)

Tom Barefoot's Tips
  • Tom's Tips - Oahu Air Tours

    I always love it when we have the option of providing activities for our clients that are just one of a kind.  It really does not happen that much, but it does in this category with the sail planes on Oahu.  Of all the islands, this is the only island where it is offered.  I have personally only done it one time but it was quite the experience.  So different.  First to be towed up into the air by another airplane was different, but then to be pulled up to 'altitude' and then watch as the tow cord is released and realizing that we were from that moment forward only propelled by the updrafts and wind currents was amazing.  And the sound, or lack of it was clearly apparent.  The only real audible noise was the sound of wind whooshing past the fuselage.   If you remember flying those little balsa wood airplanes as I did as a child, that was it.  It felt like we had passed through some type of 'time warp' and we were flying inside that toy airplane of my youth.  The big exception of course was that the pilot had complete control so instead of crashing into the hedge by the driveway we landed safe and sound on the runway so far below.  I don't know if you may remember seeing the 1972 classic "The Getaway' starring Steve McQueen but the experience he had in the movie with a sail plane was identical to this experience to be had on Oahu.  Great time.  Very different.

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Original Glider Rides

5 Activity Options

Scenic Flights and Aerobatic Flights, Breathtaking views, Glider Rides of Oahu

Now here's a tour that is just a little bit different! The North Shore on Oahu is well known for its famous surfing and beautiful country vistas and envious lifestyle but few people realize that one of the most spectacular ways to view it is by glider with the Original Glider Rides. These tours depart from Dillingham Air Base located on the North Shore just a couple miles west of Haleiwa.
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Polynesian Adventure Tours

3 Activity Options

Experience the tropical beauty of the Hana Coast and visit O'heo Stream. Polynesian Adventure Tours,

One of the very largest sightseeing tour companies in all of Hawaii is Polynesian Adventure Tours. They operate a large variety of tours on all the islands as well as offer 'same day' interisland tours from your island of origin to the other islands allowing you to see an outer island without having to relocate and move to another hotel there. They operate the finest vans, mini-motor coaches and luxurious full size motor coaches with deluxe, large 'see out windows' for the very best views.
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Makani Kai Air Charters

3 Activity Options

Reserve a trip with Makani Kai Air Charters

Makani Kai Air Charters provides air transportation to Molokai from Oahu and Maui. It leaves conveniently from both Kahului or Kapalua airports on Maui and from it's own heliport near Honolulu International Airport. The Turboprop Cessna Grand Caravan and the twin engine Piper Chieftain aircrafts can accommodate up to 9 passengers. Private air tours can also be booked.
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Video Transcript

Well, this video segment is going to be dealing with air tours on Oahu.

Now, air tours as we relate to them here is only going to refer to fixed-wing aircraft and not helicopters. We have an entire separate section that I'll be doing with Helicopters. There's a lot to talk about here.

We have touring plans, fixed-wing aircraft, that will fly various places on the island of Oahu. A really exciting way to do this is by seaplane. We have one that takes off and lands at Ke'ehi Lagoon near Honolulu. That adds a little extra flavor to your overflight of the areas that you'll be able to see on Oahu. Keep in mind that, although there's a lot of people and a lot of cars and lots going on with population in Oahu, there is so much of it that is still really remote that you can't see really any other way but by fixed-wing aircraft. That's one of the things we have.

There's also some fixed-wing aircraft that we have that leave Oahu and then head over to Molokai here and land at Father Damien's Leper Colony. Then, you get off and you do a full four hour tour there. Then, you get back on the plane and head back. That is a very popular tour that we have from Oahu. Those are also ... We actually have them also from Maui as well.

Those are some of the most interesting of the air tours that we have because visiting Father Damien's Leper Colony is really like stepping back in time, going to the most incredibly beautiful area. This Kalaupapa peninsula is very flat. It's got a huge wall behind it, about 2000 feet, this cliff face that goes all the way along here. It is completely remote, and it was for this reason that it was chosen to be Father Damien's Leper Colony. It was isolated and a place that you could take and put people that communicable disease like Hansen's disease. Anyway, the tours that land there and then give you an opportunity to drive around to see Father Damien's church and the hospital and various aspects of their life during those times, it is quite touching to see. It's a very popular air tour that we have.

Then, the other thing that we have air tour-wise that happens on O'ahu, and this doesn't happen any other place in Hawaii, are the glider rides. The glider rides are up here on this flat coastline, just beyond Kaena Point. You go to Haleiwa and then over to Dillingham, which is here. That's the airstrip. These gliders, if you're not familiar with them, these are aircraft without motors. They just glide. They're towed by another motorized airplane with a long tow line and you're just pulled up. You've got a pilot that's operating the machine, and then it's either you or you and another passenger that are in it as well.

They take you up to a couple thousand feet and you're really looking at the Waianae Mountain Range, which is here. You're able to see this coastline kind of all the way down Haleiwa, and this is the north shore where we have all the Giant Surf and so on. This is not specifically a tour that's going to be taking you a lot of places. You're going to be just kind of in this one area, kind of circulating here, but it is very, very beautiful. It's more for the aspect of being on a glider and understanding what that is and enjoying that.

They take you up to height, and then there's a release. They just release and the rope falls away and you are then kind of in your aircraft alone, just riding the air currents. It is quite the experience. It is very, very quiet, You just hear the rush of the air as it's going by. They can actually stay up a really long time, riding the thermals and so on. You're doing all kind of turning and viewing in this area. These are fairly short, maybe fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, a half an hour. You get that full experience, and then they come back down and they actually just land on that airstrip and you're done.

Those are the three varieties of air tours, not considering Helicopters, that we have on the island of Oahu.

If you have any questions about Tours or Activities in Hawaii, just give us a call or check out TomBarefoot.com. We're here to help.

Hawaii air tours are fundamentally divided into two categories: Hawaii airplane tours, and helicopter tours. Because these two categories of aircraft are inexorably lumped together it is important to draw a comparison between the two because people always want a contrast to determine which might provide a better Hawaii air flight for them.

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When we refer to Air Tours here we are referring to 'fixed-wing sightseeing airplane tours' rather than helicopters tours which we also offer on this list below.

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Less expensive than a helicopter, these fixed wing aircraft visit Maui from above.

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We describe 'air tours' here as sightseeing tours offered on a fixed wing aircraft. These can be less expensive than helicopter tours and still get you above the island to see the sights.

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