Oahu Helicopter Tours: The Ultimate Rush

If you’ve heard the rumor, it is true indeed. Oahu is a thrilling piece of Earth. It hosts Honolulu, too—the capital city of Hawaii. Many Hawaiians reside here, a land decorated in the most exotic attractions you’ll probably ever encounter, with beautiful Honolulu city lights lighting up the sky at night.

In other words, you can whip up a storm of fun in Oahu, especially on one of the world famous Oahu helicopter tours.

While a quiet vacation might be all some people are willing to try, Oahu offers the rare opportunity to get your adrenaline pumping while capturing lasting memories from high above at the same time.

Oahu helicopter tours offer an incomparable aerial sweep of the island’s lush surroundings and picturesque views of nature and modern creations such as Circle Island, Turtle Bay, and Oahu’s North Shore, Pearl Harbor, and Ko Olina, making them a favorite among Oahu tours for visitors and locals alike.

Here’s a brief overview of how each Oahu helicopter tour compares:

IMAGECRUISEDETAILS

  • Flight Time: 50 Minutes
  • Highlight: Fly in a State of the Art Helicopter
  • Seating Capacity: 6 Guests
  • Helicopter Type: Eco Star
  • Price: $$
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  • Flight Time: 50 Minutes
  • Highlight: Fly in the same Helicopter used in Magnum PI shows
  • Seating Capacity: 5 Guests
  • Helicopter Type: Hughes 500
  • Price: $$
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  • Flight Time: 20 Minutes
  • Highlight: Get a Glance of the island
  • Seating Capacity: 3 Guests
  • Helicopter Type: Robinson R44
  • Price: $$
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  • Flight Time: 30 Minutes
  • Highlight: 5-star Private Tour with Views of Kaka’ako & Waikiki
  • Seating Capacity: 3 Guests
  • Helicopter Type: Robinson R44
  • Price: $$
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  • Flight Time: 60 Minutes
  • Highlight: Private Flight with Doors off Option at no Extra Charge
  • Seating Capacity: 4 Guests
  • Helicopter Type: Robinson R44
  • Price: $$
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For more of our top Oahu helicopter tours and activities, check out these popular articles:

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Oahu Attractions worth Visiting in a Helicopter Tour

The lively island has some of the best destinations in Hawaii to fly over at close range.

The best way to experience all this is to enjoy a Hawaiian helicopter tour and experience a crazy good ride.

With plenty of helicopter tours to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 4 based on price, reputation, experience, and the sights you’ll see. Below are the four that made the list:

Tour 1: Blue Skies of Oahu Helicopter Tour

The best helicopter tour company should magnify your tour feel.

The Blue Skies of Oahu team manages to engineer an out-of-ordinary experience. It is clear that has a lot to do with their industry-leading professionalism, flight instruction, genuine care, and meticulous safety precautions.

For example, the weather is checked almost on a minute to minute basis, and no flights are allowed if your safety is not guaranteed.

The pilots play dual roles and serve as your tour guides (and excellent ones too. They are State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides), and you get to fly through a 50 minute tour of pure bliss on this once in a lifetime opportunity from your comfy window seats. All you need to do is get to Honolulu, where the helicopter tours commence either in the morning or in the afternoon and take you up into the Honolulu skyline. You can check with their online correspondents to verify the array of attractions to fly over, slate a reservation, get exclusive limited deals, and check when your flight is due. You can visit the fantastic Ala Moana Shopping Center during your visit in Honolulu as well.

Where to Flyover

Places you can expect to fly over, stop over, hover over, and snap photos over the island of Oahu include the scenic Waikiki and Kaneohe Bay coral reefs (so turquoise and glowing), the crescent moon formation of the Hanauma Bay, the world famous Diamond Head extinct volcano, and historic Battleship Missouri (ahead of Pearl Harbor).

From our wholesome experience, it’s clear the company seems to take a lot of pride in one-on-one customer care, and nothing gives a more positive vibe than a business that cares more about you than its bottom line—that’s giving value.

You get to ask any questions, fly up close to some interesting sites, and enjoy a laugh and clear two-way communication. The pilots make you feel like a VIP on their helicopter tours and make the experience very fun and relaxing, eliminating any fears you might have had while you take in the highlights of Oahu.

All these make the trip comforting and go a long way in making the helicopter tour of Oahu feel authentic and not rushed.

The good thing is you can receive the experience as a souvenir. Towards this end, The Blue Skies company has a stunning video production arm that shoots and records every aerial experience of your air tour in HD (and optimizes for Blu-Ray) that you can request a copy of at the landing base for a small fee ($25 DVD or $40 Blue Ray).

Be sure to get yours at the Honolulu HI base; take it home and share with friends and relatives (and make some jealous).

Some takeaways from the Blue Skies Helicopter Tours include:

Also important to note is with regard to their canceling notice—canceling within 24 hours comes with a 50% charge on the full amount.

The explanation is that adding in a subsequent tour on such short notice is extremely difficult, and coming in late would interfere with other guests’ flights. Just something good to be aware of in case you need to cancel so close to the flight time.

Here’s a handful of essential, additional information to keep in mind:

Pros

45 minutes flight time

Tour available in the mornings and afternoons

Pilots are state of Hawaii certified tour guides

Two different aircrafts to choose from: Smaller A-Star or the more spacious Eco-Star

Free transportation from Waikiki and Honolulu area

Views of scenic Waikiki, Kaneohe Bay coral reefs, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and historic Battleship Missouri

High quality DVD or Blu-Ray or USB stick of your experience

Bose noise-cancelling headphones

Two-way communication

Cons

Live recording costs additional ($25 to $40)

Eco-Star costs an upgrade per seat from the A-Star

“See the true beauty Oahu has to offer from hundreds of feet in the air with an Oahu helicopter tour”

Tour 2: Magnum PI Doors Off Helicopter Tour

What’s your fantasy?

Is it taking a private flight over a pristine destination and truly experiencing the spectacular views? Want to have the wind blow your hair while you take in an array of unobstructed scenes?

The sites you’ll view are pretty similar to the Bue Skies Helicopter Tour. The main difference is Magnum P.I offers a doors-off tour.

Where to Flyover?

Their Waikiki Spectacular Helicopter Tour package is worth every second. It’s a 45-minute tour that takes off from Keehi Lagoon and heads towards Honolulu Harbor. The ride begins over the Oahu skyline as you fly over downtown Honolulu, Koolau mountain, Waikiki beach, and Magic Island – some of the coolest places in Hawaii.

Then the helicopter heads towards Diamond Head and the stunning Hanauma Bay. Flying right ahead, you’ll pass over the National Memorial Service, above the breathtaking Sacred Falls, and right on top of the green Ka’a’awa valley where Jurassic Park was filmed. These spots are prime for a photo tour so don’t forget the camera!. The flight then turns east as you take in the island of Oahu white sands of Makapuu Point and Sandy Beach.

A doors-off ride treats your senses to a true spectacle; you get to embrace the smells, temperature changes, aromatic wind and a fair share of rainbows (and double rainbows) as you head over Mount Olomana and Kaneohe Bay.

Also, with the helicopter doors wide open, you can click and flash away from your camera freely to record the special moments. No obstructions behind the plexiglass of the helicopter doors. It is a perfect way to spend vacation time with 2-3 of your family, friends or tour mates.

Serious photographers will also love the chance to capture the serene beauty from above without any obtrusions. If you have your own GoPro outdoor camera handy, you will not want to leave it behind.

As the tour winds down, you’ll be treated to Coconut Island, the spot used for scenes from the famed TV show Gilligan’s Island. With the comfort of the MD-500 helicopter taking you on the ride of a lifetime, this is definitely a sightseeing tour you don’t want to miss.

Some tour highlights include:

One thing to note is that the doors off experience isn’t ideal for those who get air sickness easily. If you have a strong fear of heights, or get queasy easily, it’s probably better to go with a doors on helicopter tour.

Here are some handy details to jot in mind:

If for any reason you decide to cancel your reserved tour, you’ll need to inform them 72 hours prior to the flight. Otherwise, your canceled reservation will still checkout, and you’ll be charged in full (unless weather is an issue).

3 best oahu helicopter tours reviewed

Pros

50 minute flight time

Views of Oahu skyline, downtown Honolulu, Ko’olau mountain, Waikiki beach, and Magic Island

Doors off flight

Option for first class seating

Spacious cabin and open air cockpit for maximum visibility

Bose noise-canceling headphones

Two-way communication

Great photo options

Up to either four or six passengers

Cons

Children must be at least 12 years of age

Maximum weight for passengers is between 250 – 300 lbs

Tour 3: Waikiki and South Shore Blast Helicopter Tours

This helicopter tour company lets you choose what you want—either a private flight with doors wide open or a private aerial tour with doors closed. The doors-open flight is perfect for photographers and anyone who’d want to capture unobstructed views of the extensive, breathtaking scenes around Oahu—especially the enchanting North Shore.

Alternatively, the flight with the doors-closed option is excellent for small family tours (up to a maximum of 3), a quiet and intimate honeymoon ride, as well as for anyone who may be afraid of heights that wants a mid-air take on Oahu.

Both flight options take the same routes, though. You get to fly over the fabled Waikiki shoreline—all the way to Diamond Head crater. The South Shore tour encompasses flying over the beautiful Koko Head and famous, century-old Makapu Lighthouse. The North Shore ride explores the scope of Kailua Beach (the surfers’ paradise), lush Ka ‘a’ awa Valley and spectacular Kaneohe Bay.

Tour 4: A 30-minute Waikiki aerial adventure

This is a short ride for the visitors among us who may not like to be in the air for extended periods but still are daring enough to give it a go and see some hidden Oahu gems. The tour adds additional exploration of the South Shore as well.

That means you get to fly over the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and legendary sites such as Hanauma Bay (the volcanic-formed tuff ring), and ultra-cherished Koko Head formations. You can take a maximum of 3 flight-mates and a minimum of 2.

It is a private tour, so if you are wondering what perfect way to show love to your significant other on a special date, the Mauna Loa experience will take their breath away and make you a beacon of what great Hawaii memories should be and feel like.

Pros

30 minute flight time

Choose between doors on or off

Between two and three passengers

Views of the Hanauma Bay, Koko Head, Maunaloa Bay, Pearl Harbor (USS Memorial and USS Arizona)

Covers only South shore of O’ahu

Cons

Children must be at least 12 years of age

Maximum weight for passengers is between 250 – 300 lbs

Tour 5: Oahu VIP Experience – 60 minute Helicopter Tour

This one doubles the air time to 60 minutes. It extends the exploration route to cover both the North and South Shores.

The hour-long ride affords you plenty of time to marvel at the immaculate views of some of Oahu’s most magnificent views and brilliant natural landmarks. These include the Sacred Falls, totaling over 1,100 feet of picturesque waterfalls

There’s also the Kaneohe Bay, an attractive beach full of life, and the beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley to behold for a lifetime.

You get to:

Pros

60 minute flight time

Choose between doors on or off

Between two and three passengers

Views of the USS Arizona Memorial, Hanauma Bay, and Koko Head on the South shore

Views of Kaneohe Bay, Ka’a’awa Falls, and Sacred Falls on the North shore

Free transportation from Waikiki area

Window seats for all passengers

Cons

Maximum weight for passengers is 275 Lbs.

Minimum age is 7 years old

To Sum Up

Little else beats a helicopter ride, especially on the islands of Hawaii. Whether it’s the North Shore, South Shore, or everything in between, taking in the most fantastic and panoramic views of Oahu is a truly breathtaking experience. If you’ve wanted to crush that comfort zone and roll out enviable moments from a floating seat in the sky, these 3 Oahu helicopter tours and activities are your best bet to go out and do just that.

Your flight adventure waits. Book your flight today!

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