Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to take a Hawaii helicopter flight?

All times of day are great for helicopter tours in Hawaii, with the hours between 10am and 3pm having the most neutral lighting. Earlier and later flights often have enhanced views in some areas of the island as shadows and highlights appear, and possibly rainbows!

If it is raining, do you fly tours?

The bottom line here is that we only fly when the conditions are safe and meet FAA Regulations. Hawaii's climate is always changing and Safari pilots are tuned into finding the best views and flight pattern in various weather and lighting situations. Passing rain showers are very common in Hawaii and often delight passengers with colorful rainbows and waterfalls. Specific to the Big Island: Overcast conditions are desirable because they cause the red lava to appear brighter. If a tour is canceled due to weather we will either re-schedule the flight or credit the passenger's account. There is a saying in Hawaii, "wait 30 minutes and the weather will change."

What type of helicopter do you fly?

The 6-passenger A-STAR B2 helicopter with all forward facing seats and no obstructions blocking the passengers' panoramic views – with floor to ceiling Mega Windows on Kauai.

Does everyone have a window seat?

Safari's custom helicopters are designed for maximum visibility. The center seats are not technically window seats but still offer amazing visibility as the passenger sits within 18 inches of the window, especially with the Mega Windows.

What is Safari's safety record?

Safari Helicopters maintains the highest of safety standards. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides information regarding aviation safety records for helicopter companies. You can see the Hawaii helicopter safety and accident report from the FAA reprinted on Aloha-Hawaii.

What kind of helicopter maintenance is provided?

Safari has 3 full time A&P Aircraft Mechanics for 2 helicopters on Kauai, and 1 full time A&P Aircraft Mechanics for 1 helicopter on the Big Island. Our Director of Maintenance has 20 years experience working as the Director of Maintenance for an Authorized Eurocopter Service Center. All of our mechanics are factory trained.

Will I get motion sickness in the helicopter?

Our air-conditioned helicopters and experienced pilots help reduce the chance of motions sickness, and most flights are extremely smooth and comfortable. If you are particularly prone to motion sickness, however, then you should be prepared with oral medications such as Dramamine or an alternative such as a motion sickness wristband. As an added caution, do not to eat or drink pineapple prior to a flight. Note: Air conditioned helicopters reduce the tendency for motion sickness unlike helicopters with doors off and no air-conditioning.

How experienced are your pilots?

All of our pilots meet and exceed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements under Part 135.

How low can you fly?

Rules aside, our objective is to fly for a great experience while not disturbing residents and ecosystems. Safari has deviation authority from the FAA to fly at the lowest altitude allowed at 500 feet above the ground at site specific locations. We can also transition at 1,000 feet while going to and from various sightseeing locations avoiding residential areas. Under new FAA Regulations (Part 136, Appendix A), all operators are required to fly at 1,500 feet above the ground unless they have deviation authority to fly at a lower altitude as we are authorized. Questions about flight regulations can be answered by the Honolulu FAA office at 808 837-8399.

Do you fly with the doors removed?

No. We do not think it is safe to fly non industry or non crewmember passengers with the doors off, and companies who do this without offering safety harnesses for their passengers may be taking an unnecessary risk. Our Mega Windows are like flying without doors but much safer.