Mauna Loa Helicopters is closely monitoring the information provided by the WHO and CDC regarding the COVID-19 virus and guidelines from these agencies.
Mauna Loa Helicopters has always shut down the helicopter after each tour for a safety & maintenance inspection and cleaning of all headsets, mouthpieces and areas touched by customers – even before this recent virus outbreak.
We have also implemented the following procedures to further keep our customers safe when we return to daily tour operations:
-Additional sanitizing of all communal areas shared by guests
-Minimized physical contact between pilots , staff and customers
-Additional sanitizing of headsets and common areas
There is no short answer. Although Hawai’i enjoys plentiful sunshine year-round, we do experience summer and winter seasons. Precise flying weather conditions are often impossible to predict, especially in winter, because of the interplay of dynamic weather patterns and the island’s unique topography. Due to the combination of high mountainous peaks and shoreline throughout the islands, each hour of the day shows each island, literally, in a different light. Wind speeds and cloud formation also change throughout the day, resulting from variations in temperature. Ultimately, the time of day you book depends on your preference and itinerary, but we recommend choosing a tour date early on in your stay. This allows you more opportunities to find a different tour time with us should the weather not cooperate for the original flight.
All bookings are private tours allowing 2-3 passengers of the same party. For groups of 2 passenger; the third seat will be left vacant.
Yes, the requirement is to pay for the minimum seat requirement of the specific tour looking to book. You would have the entire aircraft to yourself as all tours are private and different parties are not combined.
Both options allow for optimal viewing, as each window seat has wide windows extending from the top of your head to your waist. The choice to fly with or without doors depends on your priorities and comfort level.
In a closed aircraft, you are shielded from wind exposure and you will hear music and narration clearly. It is a very serene way of taking in the scenery through the large windows. If you are game for a more visceral experience or photography is important to you, our doors-off adventure is for you. Floor-to-ceiling openings allow you to look straight down into waterfalls and sea caves, and glare from windows in your photos is no factor. Because the helicopter is open to the elements, you will be exposed to wind and cooler temperatures caused by airspeed and altitude.
For your comfort, please follow our recommendations on how to dress appropriately for your doors-off helicopter flight. The airframe does protect you and your camera equipment well during light showers or mist. If some members of your party would like the extra comfort of a door, we can remove some doors and leave others on. However, all seating arrangements are subject to weight and balance calculations.
For doors-on and doors-off tours, please abide by our recommendations on how to prepare for your flight so you can make the most of it. We don’t charge any more either way you choose.
If the pilot determines that prevailing visibility, cloud cover, or wind speeds do not allow for a good air tour, or if it is not safe to fly, we will of course cancel the flight. Because weather conditions can change dramatically day to day and hour by hour, we often cannot make a determination about your flight prior to your check‐in time.
If you purchase your reservation online, full payment is collected at the time of the booking. If we cancel a flight due to weather, there is naturally no fee for you whatsoever, your payment will be returned, and you are not required to rebook your tour. We are happy to reschedule your flight based on availability.
Tours may be canceled or changed up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled flight time without incurring a fee. Tours canceled less than 24 hours before the scheduled time, or passengers who fail to show up or are 15 minutes late for check in, will be billed the full price for the tour.
We do offer a variety of military discounts. 10% discount for military personnel, 50% off third seat for children of military personnel, and free third seat for wounded warriors. Please bring a military ID in order to receive your discount.
Total weight per seat is restricted to 275 pounds. We do not impose any weight surcharges for individual or combined passenger weights. Per FAA regulations, all passengers plus carry-on items will be weighed at check-in.
You are most welcome to fly with us through the seventh month of your pregnancy, providing you feel comfortable with the motion of the helicopter in the air, as well as wearing a regular (three-point) seatbelt across your body.
For everyone’s safety, we do not permit lap seating. Each passenger, including your child, must be secured with a regular-sized seatbelt in his or her individual seat. For this reason, our minimum passenger age is 7 years to fly with the doors on or 12 years to fly with the doors off.
On our aircraft, other than the R66 on the Big Island and Oahu, there are no middle seats, so each passenger can enjoy the scenery to the fullest from his or her guaranteed window seat. Your pilot sits in the front right seat, which leaves the front left and a rear left and right seat for passengers.
Our pilots are skillful in selecting a flight path that affords passengers on both sides of the aircraft the same amazing views.
In terms of seating arrangements, our first priority is safety, meaning we seat people in the best spot for the weight and balance of the aircraft. Our next consideration is where passengers would like to sit and what seat will be the best for their experience.
We will be happy to accommodate your individual preferences, weight and balance permitting. Most couples like to sit together in the back of the helicopter so they can better share the experience, lean over and see both sides, and point things out to one another.
There is emotional value to sitting together, which for most people is higher than any added viewing value obtained from the front left seat. The open cabin design also allows rear passengers viewing ahead through the cockpit window.
Your check-in time is 35 minutes prior to your flight time.
Per FAA regulations, we need to determine each passenger’s exact weight including shoes, all clothing, and personal belongings such as camera equipment and purses. It is therefore necessary that you bring to your check-in everything that you would like to wear and have with you on your tour.
You do not need to actually wear your warm layers at check-in, but you do need to hold them when stepping onto our scale. On a doors-on flight, we recommend that you wear dark outer layers to minimize reflection in the windows during photography. Because you are not exposed to the elements, whatever clothing you are comfortable with at sea level is adequate for your flight.
An open-door experience is exciting and fun and we want you to enjoy your flight without being distracted by wind or chill. A warm outer layer that you can zip up, such as a windproof jacket, is ideal. We strongly advise against wind-susceptible clothing such as dresses and hooded items. In winter, long pants are highly recommended. To keep you and your belongings safe, we cannot permit any loose objects on your doors-off flight. This includes hats, visors, scarves, hair clips, and strapless sandals. Eyeglasses are permissible. Hair that is long enough should be tied tightly with an elastic band. Any equipment must be secured to you via a strap.
If you are particularly prone to motion sickness, we do recommend that you prepare with oral motion‐sickness medication so you can enjoy your flight, free from worry. Our experienced pilots choose the best flight path given prevailing wind speeds and topography, avoiding areas of known turbulence and making gentle turns and altitude changes. Very few passengers experience any queasiness.
Yes. Except during critical flight stages, such as take‐off and landing. Feel free to engage with the pilot.
Flight safety is our principal concern, and we are proud of our impeccable safety record. We have a zero-tolerance maintenance policy, meaning any issue, regardless of its effect on airworthiness of the aircraft, is checked promptly and thoroughly.
With extensive training and flying experience, each of our pilots has acquired expert knowledge on the island’s unique weather and terrain considerations, and this knowledge is a key factor in making sound decisions and navigating the skies safely. For your added safety, we do not practice “hot-loading.” Aircraft are shut-down in between all tours to allow for a thorough pre-flight inspection prior to each and every tour.
Tipping is not required but is always appreciated.
Passenger safety is our #1 priority at Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours