How low/close can you get me to that amazing scenery?
Safari has authority from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly at the lowest altitude allowed under new regulations, which is 500 feet above the surface at site specific locations. We can also transition at 1000 feet while going to and from various points of interest, except when avoiding residential areas. FAA regulations (Part 136, Appendix A), require that all operators fly at least 1500 feet above the surface unless they have the authority to fly at a lower altitude as we are authorized. If you have any more questions about altitude or FAA requirements, call the Honolulu FAA Office. Their number is 800.837.8389.
WEIGHT & BALANCE
What is weight & balance?
For safety, the FAA requires that a calculation of weight distribution be made before any and every flight. We need your participation for accuracy. Getting your accurate weight is for your safety.
How do I participate in the accuracy of weight & balance?
Giving us accurate weights when you place your reservation helps to prevent a rescheduled tour. Rescheduled tours can occur if actual weights are much higher than the weights given. This affects all other Guests scheduled at your tour time.
What are your weight policies?
If you weigh 250lbs or more, you may need to buy an Extra Comfort Seat. If you would like to discuss your personal circumstance contact us at [email protected] or call at 1.800.326.3356.
I don’t know how much I weigh?
Be as close as possible when making reservations. We will still require an actual weight upon checking in at our office with a discrete scale.
How much is an Extra Comfort Seat?
Deluxe Waterfall Safari on Kauai - $179
Refuge Eco Tour on Kauai - $189
Deluxe Volcano Safari in Hilo - $179
Volcano Safari in Hilo - $169
What’s the best day to fly?
The best day to fly is as soon as possible upon your arrival. Two very good reasons: 1. It will give you an overview of the island and allow you to decide what else you want to see by land. 2. If the weather deteriorates it will allow time for a reschedule. We have seen too many people schedule a flight on their last day and must cancel due to inclement weather.
What’s the best time of day to fly?
There is no BEST time of day to fly. It’s all a matter of opinion and perspective. Be open to what Mother Nature decided to bring to your specific tour time & you will have a great time.
Why can’t I select a specific tour time?
We do not publish times because we are an FAA Part 135 Unscheduled Air Carrier. You can choose a time for the morning or afternoon. Your tour time is arranged within a few days. We need to see how you can fit into our current reservations. The things we look at are: commutes from where you are staying, total weights of all potential passengers, and a trial weight & balance calculation. You will receive a "Confirmed" email when we have determined your tour date & flight time. If we need more information before confirming, we will call or email you.
How I do make a seating request?
On your booking page, under ‘Special Requests’. We make a notation of your request. They are not guaranteed. Everything is subject to the actual weights when the customer checks-in at our office.
Why can’t I purchase the front seats?
Safety is our priority. By allowing the sale of fronts seats, we can’t accurately sit you according to weight & balance.
We are flying with kids, will they be sitting by me?
We try to always have at least one parent with children. Children 7 & under cannot sit in the front seats.
What kind of helicopter do you fly?
We fly the ASTAR B2 with special Pilot-In-Command seat location which prevents passengers from interfering with critical flight controls. The owner, Preston Myers, prefers this aircraft for touring because of its overall smoothness and comfort as compared to other helicopters and its reliable 1D1 Turbomeca Engine. All passenger seating is facing forward. We feel that our helicopters have the functionality that delivers the safest ride.
Do your helicopters fly with doors on or doors off?
For Safari, flying with the doors off is a safety concern. We don't like the possibility of cell phones or other debris escaping the cabin thereby damaging the tail rotor blades which can create a very serious safety concern.
Flying with doors off can be very noisy and uncomfortable. Plus, when it rains (which it does daily) the passengers are guaranteed to be wet and cold. See “weather conditions” for more information. We also fly with Boise Noise Cancelation Headsets for additional noise comfort.
How much experience do your pilots have?
Our pilots meet & exceed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements under Part 135. Safety is our #1 priority. All our pilots go through our extensive initial and annual recurrent FAA Approved training program.
What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
We have a 48-hour cancellation policy. Cancellations within 48-hours of your confirmed flight will be charged in full.
What is a no-show?
The definition of a no-show is someone that has received their "Confirmed" email who does not show up for their tour date & time. A no-show has not cancelled their tour with more than the 48-hour cancellation period.
What happens if one of us gets sick with less than 48 hours till our tour time?
First, call us as soon as possible. Again, if we can fill your seat, we will not charge you
if you provide us with a doctor's note from a local doctor we will refund you for the seat. Your party is still obligated to our 48-hour cancellation/rescheduling policy. Even if your party is just your partner.
What if I am booking a tour in less than 48-hours?
You are in the 48-hour cancellation/rescheduling bracket. Review our policies before booking. Understand that you are within that period. We will charge your entire reservation in full if you cancel with such short notice.
What if I need to reschedule within 48-hours because something unexpected happened?
We will do whatever we can to try and help you reschedule. We will still need to fill your seat or seats.
If we are unable to fill your seat or seats we will have to charge you in full. This is to allow the other Guests scheduled on your tour time to be able to fly.
Weather in Hawai’i
Hawaii’s weather is typical for any tropical island. We have rainy windward and dry leeward sides. A typical windward side gets about 80 to 100 inches of rain per year whereas the leeward gets about 20 inches or less. The center of the island of Kauai is considered one of the wettest spots on earth. There will be rain clouds sounding this mountain for about a 5-mile radius and the center is located about 10 miles from any shoreline. Rain enhances the islands with additional waterfalls and rainbows. Remember, no rain, no rainbows! All our flights are subject to changing weather conditions and flights may vary accordingly.
What is my check-in time?
45 minutes before your tour time. We notify you of your check-in time in your "Confirmed” email.
What happens if I’m running late?
Call us right away at 800-326-3356. Communicate with us.
Why do I have a check-in time?
We need to weigh all passengers upon check-in plus provide a safety briefing prior to the flight. We are discrete during weighing passengers. We then verify the weight & balance for each specific tour.
PARKING & PICK-UPS
Where do we park?
Kaua’i - In the front gravel area of our office which is 1 mile from the airport. Please park perpendicular to the road. You can also parallel park across the street on Akahi Street.
Hilo - You will park right at your check-in area. It’s located in the Hilo International Airport Commuter Terminal. This is a small building just past the brown UPS building right before the Main Terminal. Our parking* is directly in front of our office in the paved Commuter Terminal Parking lot.
*NOTE: ALL parking areas are regulated by the Hilo Airport. We recommend $2.00 (coins or dollar bills) for payment to park in the Commuter Terminal parking lot. Please do not park in the Cellular Parking Lot (the gravel lot next door to the Commuter Terminal). A vehicle left unattended in the Cellular Parking Lot may be fined and/or towed away by the Airport towing contractor.
Do you have pick-ups? What’s the charge?
We have a limited complimentary pick-up/drop off service within 5 miles of our main office in Lihue or Hilo. We do not do pick-ups from Kona side of the Big Island.
I’m staying on a cruise ship, do you have complimentary pick-ups? If so, where do you pick us up?
Kaua’i - Yes, we do. Select ‘Nawiliwili Harbor’ as your pick-up selection from the drop-down menu. You will see this drop-down menu during your booking process. Let us know what cruise ship you are staying on in the Accommodations area. We will pick you up at the shuttle station area. Can’t miss our vans with our unique color scheme.
Hilo - At the Port of Hilo Free Shuttle area. This is located in the BIG parking lot in front of the port building. Look for a white Nissan van with Safari Helicopters on the side. Hilo is still a sleepy town.
Why can’t I bring my camera bag?
We have limited interior space on board a helicopter and cannot accommodate any additional baggage of any kind.
Is there a place I can leave my stuff during the tour?
On Kaua’i (Lihue) we have secure lockers that you are welcome to use. You are responsible for the key to your temporary locker. If you are on the Big Island (Hilo), you can leave your items in your hotel or locked vehicle.
What is the safety briefing?
Our safety briefing is a short instructional presentation of how we must conduct ourselves around helicopter. Our drivers/loaders conduct this safety briefing.
What to bring
What not to bring
How to put on a Life vest
How the Life vest works
When to use the Life vest
How to use our motion sickness bags.
How to ask your pilot questions with the intercom.
Most important, we give you your seating arrangements.
Your driver/loader is responsible for looking out for you & any potential hazards. If they need to speak up or repeat themselves it’s only because they need you to hear how to stay safe. And it can get loud on the flight line.
RESTROOMS, LIFE VESTS, SEAT BELTS, INTERCOM (MIC’S) & HEADSETS
On Kaua’i we have a single use bathroom at our office. Be patient. It’s an old plantation house turned into an office. It only handles one at a time. There are also restroom facilities at the heliport.
In Hilo there is a public bathroom available for use. We suggest using the bathroom during your check-in time.
Your Life vest must remain on during your entire tour. Only take them off when the driver/loader has instructed you it’s safe to do so.
My tour is over, why can’t I take off my Life vest?
Your Life vest is a loose article when not attached to your waist. We do not allow any loose articles at the heliport. Leave your Life vests on until you are back at the “waiting area” at the heliport.
In Hilo stay in the shaded area with seats just behind the Commuter Terminal Building. Your driver/loader will instruct you when you can take them off.
When does my seatbelt need to be on?
During your entire tour from loading to unloading.
If your pilot doesn’t answer you right away, don’t take it personal. They may be talking to the Tower, Air Traffic Control or other pilots. Pilots need to be aware of multiple things at any given time. The pilot will instruct you when you can and cannot use the microphone. If you want your pilot to talk more than they are, ask a question. Our pilots do their best to accommodate the passengers.
What is a Lap Child?
A Lap Child is a child that is under 24 months and less than 25 lbs.
Is there a charge for a Lap Child?
There is no charge for a Lap Child. However, we don’t recommend flying with a Lap Child unless you are willing to accept the seating. A Lap Child will sit on a parents or guardians lap for around an hour. They will be wearing an Infant Life vest. The Seat belt will only go around the parent/guardian. Your Lap Child will not be buckled. This is a part of the definition of a Lap Child & how they should sit per the FAA. You need to be comfortable with this.
When do I need to disclose I have a Lap Child?
Upon making reservations.
Is there anything I need to do with a Lap Child?
We need you to sign an “Infant Liability Waiver Release”. We can also email this to you. Let us know during your booking.
Can I go on a tour after I have been scuba diving?
You need to have at least 24 hours between the time you dive & the time you fly. Ask a scuba dive instructor for further advice.
Why should we wear dark solid clothing?
You’re in a helicopter with large windows on both sides & front windows and glare may occur on the windows. This is regardless of which company you choose. We ask our Guests to wear dark solid clothing to help minimize the chances of glare. We recommend our passengers enjoy the tour and not stick their heads in a camera lens. We have professional photos available on a HD Flash Drive for Kauai.
Which lens should I bring?
We recommend a wide-angle lens. We also recommend the camera be set on manual and not auto focus. Auto focus will guarantee capturing reflection. This will give you the best shots from an aerial viewpoint.
Do we get to take a picture with the helicopter?
Yes, after your tour. Listen to your driver/loader. You're still at the Heliport.
Your driver/loader will take a picture of your group with either your camera or phone. You are handing us your camera or phone at your own risk. We are not responsible for your camera or phone. Other Guest's may want a photo too.
Our tour videos include your loading and unloading process, the actual scenic views you saw on your tour and the music in High Definition. You will hear any two-way conversations between you and the pilot on the video.
NOTE: Hilo’s aircraft is being updated right now. That means we currently do not have any video’s available for our Hilo tours. We are pushing to get this done as soon as possible for you.
I already know I want a video, why can’t I purchase that now?
We perform a quality inspection before allowing any purchases. Also, we are in the middle of upgrading some of our helicopters to have the same HD Video System.
What if we forgot to pick-up our video?
We can still ship it to you. Ask a reservationist about any shipping charges.
What if we ordered a video but no longer want it?
We will gladly take it back. Because of the love & labor that goes into these video’s, if one’s already been made for you, we will charge a $10 restocking fee. We will refund you the difference.
What happens if the video of our actual tour doesn’t turn out?
If your specific tour does not pass our quality inspection, we can make a video of a different tour for you if you so desire. The option is yours.
Why does my HD video come in 2 files?
Sometimes the video will appear as 2 files because of the size of the recorded data.
I got my video home but I can’t seem to make it work. Or it works but I’m experiencing no sound. What do I do?
First download the VLC Media Player. You can find it at www.videolan.org. Why? Cause this is an amazing (& free) media player that plays all types of media. Including .avi files which is what the video is recorded. If you are still experiencing an issue, send us back your original video. Shipping charges are not refunded. Write your name, date of your tour, tour time (approximate if you can’t remember) & we will attempt to replace it.