Insider's Guide to Big Island of Hawaii

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Greg

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Quit an adventure without the doors. I highly recommend this to those who have taken closed door helicopter tours. This is a different experience.

Sandra B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Absolutely amazing, cannot recommend this highly enough, definitely an experience of a lifetime!

Joel W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

We scheduled a 45 minute door less helicopter trip over the active volcano. Wow! This was clearly the highlight of our vaction! The entire staff was great. These people really know their stuff. A call the day before helped us know what to wear, bring, and not bring. We received a warm welcome, followed by an intelligent briefing, and then out to the copter. Our pilot Brian was awesome, constantly making sure we all could see, were comfortable, and felt okay. The pilot did a great job finding great stuff for us to see including a fairly large eruption with red hot lava spewing out. The pilot was really knowledgeable about the volcano and the lava flows so we learned a lot as well. All through the flight, the pilot kept turning the copter so everything could be seen from both sides. As we opted for the doors off trip, there was nothing between us and the volcano or lava flows so our visibility was spectacular. My photographs are unbelievable making this the best trip ever.

Margaret Jean M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Very exciting way to view the Big Island..Staff was prompt and courteous. Pilot JORK was cheerful and made you feel that he was part of your group...very informative...Only one thing, I wish that we would have flown over some water since we were required to wear water life vests.

Lisa M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

This is absolutely the best way to see the island. We booked thru viator because we got a great deal. Great tour and great staff!!

Frank J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Excellent

Ken U

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

Great experience! One of our trips highlights.

Tiffani A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

This was amazing, the staff was wonderful and very accommodating, we had to fly in two separate helicopters and they made sure we got a group picture with one. The flight was great would do it again if had the chance!!

Andrew I

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

Excellent Flight. The only way to see flowing lava on the Island at the moment. Ground crew and Pilot were courteous, friendly and knowledgeable. If you want the full volcano experience this is a must do!!

Vicki D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

Small group. Very close to the action. Could feel the heat from the volcano! Pilot was very informative.

Elizabeth F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

Our pilot was Pete. We had our two 17 year old granddaughters with us. It was an informative and highly visible trip of the volcano area. I would recommend this open door trip if you want an experience of smelling and seeing an active volcano.

Sylvain L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

Simply amazing, well worth it, you can feel the heat, yet it's cool and breezy. You are so close to the lava erupting, you can't see this any other way, so for us it was priceless. My 13 year old son was in awe.

Gail B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Rachel, our pilot, was wonderful. Very informative and made sure everyone had a photo opportunity. Flying with the doors off is the only way to go! Up close and personal experience, a must adventure.

marco66

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Amazing, I could feel the heat of the lava! I felt like I was on a National Geographic show! Expert pilot, we got all views of the lava activity, we felt like we could reach out and touch it! He was friendly and informative with lots of interesting information about the Hilo area, volcano activity, etc... well worth the money ...this was not a Disney ride!

Justin W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Awesome, absolutely awesome and great crew too.

Barbara M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

Rachel was a great pilot. I am usually afraid of heights, but I felt safe and secure with Rachel. She made every effort to see that we saw flowing lava and that both sides of the helicopter got a chance to photograph what we saw.

stuart w

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

Great Tour the pilot made this trip a once-in-a-life-time adventure Not for the weak at heart. With the door off I could feel the heat from the lava as we flew over, awesome photo opportunity

Toni W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

It was amazing! The staff were friendly and helpful - even gave us great suggestions for local restaurants. The pilot was very informative and selected the BEST music for our fight. I'll recommend this to everyone!

Anonymous

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

The experience started with a short safety video and briefing at the Helico company's office inside the Hilo airport terminal. The staff made sure we wore warm clothes (doors off flight!), that all cameras had straps and that each passenger knew its sit number (I was on the righthand rear sit). After that it was off to the Helico tarmac! Shortly after take-off, the flight headed south of Hilo, towards the town of Pahoa which had been threaten by very recent lava flows. There, the pilot took us around lava fields, bordered with still burning forested areas. The pilot pointed at red dots and thin scarlet scars of hot lava. Impressive to see vast areas of the forest split by black streaks of harden rock. The highlight of the tour came right after Pahoa with the flight over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō volcano which was blasting out white and yellow smoke. The pilot did a few back and forth circles around and above the crater to allow all sides of the helicopter to get the good views. We stayed long enough and close enough to see some melted lava areas inside the crater (when the smoke allowed) and to appreciate the forces of nature in action as well as take a good number of video clips and photos. The rest of the flight included a couple of waterfalls north of Hilo. An awesome, highly recommended experience! Note on Doors Off: absolutely a must if you know you won't be scared, however, it got really cold up there specially with the wind chill-factor. I was glad to wear a good number of layers, windbreaker with hood and gloves!

Patricia P USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

The morning started with a short safety session hold at the office in Hilo airport, and review of proper gear and equipment. The team made sure we had warm clothes as we had chosen to do the Open Door Helicopter tour. We then headed to the heliport, where the helicopters were being readied for our trip. It was funny to see the doors removed and put aside! After we were safely secured in the helicopter, we smoothly took us and headed to the most recent lava fields, close to Pahoa. Some of these lava fields started June of this year and went through forests and towards town and houses. Though there was no active lava coming through when we flew over, we still managed to see some red spots of lava, thanks to our pilot who was great at spotting these within the fields. The most amazing part of the tour was when we flew over Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the other active volcano within Volcano National Park. Lots of steam vents, giving an amazing contrast of white smoke against the dark black color of lava rocks. Our pilot was great to fly left and right to ensure all sides of the helicopter had equal good views. There again we were able to see some hot red lava spots! This was really an unbelievable view! We returned back to Hilo, checking a couple of waterfalls like the Rainbow Waterfall. I was glad we went for the Open Door experience, as this really gives you an unobscured view all around, and you get a feeling of total access to the scenery. One note though – make sure you are dress warmly – a good fleece, wind jacket, turtleneck and some light gloves really help make a difference! This is a once-in-a-life time experience, and the whole team, both on ground and the pilot, were true professional, very friendly and ensuring we had the best of tour possible. This is a must-do while in Big Island, and I really recommend this tour for a unique feel – how often will you fly with no door?

Shelley J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

This tour was amazing!

Arlene C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

This was a wonderful experience. I booked my husband and I on a "doorless" flight. Despite my fear of heights, once I opened my eyes I enjoyed every moment. It may seem warm on the ground but without doors it gets very cold. Viator was good enough to call the night before and remind us about the jacket, it was about 90 on the ground....we had no intention of doing this. The staff and pilot, Joyce, were great. Joyce sensed my reticence and inquired about my state of mind...which helped. As I said, go for it.

Timothy A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2014

Wow! Do this - you will not regret it.

The helicopter has 2 seats in the back, both with window seats but by all acounts are very windy and cold! We sat in the front where there are 3 seats and is slightly more sheltered. Anywhere you sit, it is amazing. You don't need to worry about sitting next to your partner, as there are 2 seats in back and 2 in front. The company you fly with is local.

We booked the 11:30 flight from Hilo and drove over Saddle Road in the morning, setting off about 7:45 from the Fairmont Orchid. We went to the tsunami museum before this and then drove to the airport. Don't let it worry you if you are based on the Kona side and have to drive across. After the tour we drove to the Volcanoes national park and then drove back round the southern side of the island to Kona.

The tour itself is totally amazing. It rained a little, but that just added to the experience. The flight is so smooth. My wife had never flown in a helicopter before. She was nervous because she hates rollercoasters. She couldn't believe how smooth the flight is. The pilot is really good fun and professional. The views are difficult to explain, but just mind blowing. You see so much in a short space of time!

Susan I

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2014

It was absolutely amazing! The ladies in the greeting area, the ones who walked us to the helicopter, and the pilot were professional and timely. We highly recommend this flight.

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Tour code: 5120_H0004

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