Will we be at a disadvantage taking an airplane tour on the Big Island to see the volcanoes instead of a helicopter? I see that they are much less expensive but what am I giving up?
You're not giving up much! The main advantage a helicopter has over a fixed wing plane is that it can hover. This is a great feature for sightseeing if you find yourself going into a tight canyon or valley and you can virtually stop the motion of the aircraft and view the waterfalls and vegetation. The nature of the volcano area however is that it is wide open. The view from a helicopter or a sightseeing airplane will be from the same vantage point so you won't be at a disadvantage in seeing the volcano below. The planes will usually make a number of passes over the rift zone areas and you will totally get to see it all. If your flight then continues on to the Kohala Mountain area with its valleys and canyons at the north of the island hovering may become a better option but as for viewing the volcanoes, you will see them just as well and save considerable money at the same time.
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