Here are the answers to passengers most frequently asked questions.
Why should I book a helicopter tour instead of an airplane?
Airplanes are restricted to fly no lower than 1000 to 1500ft. and they have wider standoff distances than helicopters which can fly as low as 500ft. Only the helicopter can take you into Mt. Waialeale Crater or up close to waterfalls such as the "Jurassic Park" Manawaiopuna Falls.
Why do you fly A-Star Helicopters?
There are several reasons that we fly the Eurocopter A-Star helicopter:
1. The A-Star is the most widely used and the most popular tour helicopter in the world.
2. This aircraft gives a smoother ride than the EC-130 or Eco-Star helicopter… especially in windy weather.
3. Our A-Stars are equipped with custom floor to ceiling windows which assures excellent viewing from all seats.
4. All our A-Stars are AS-350B2 models equipped with more powerful 1D1 turbine engine.
5. All our A-Star helicopters are custom factory retrofitted for left pilot seat keeping the pilot from obstructing the view.
6. The A-Star helicopter has no center console between the front and rear seats as the Bell Jet Ranger & Hughes 500 have blocking the view of rear passengers.
Do you offer flights with the doors off the helicopter?
Island Helicopters flies the newest A-Star helicopters with the doors on for safety and comfort. When visiting the wettest spot on Earth it isn't practical to fly with the doors off since our customers will get wet. Our pilots have found from experience that most passengers flying with the doors off get wet, have wind blowing in their faces and are unable to control the temperature of the helicopter cabin. Camera equipment frequently get wet which limits photo opportunities. While doors off may sound adventurous, we find flying inside the climate controlled comfort of the A-Star to be preferred by most customers. Our floor to ceiling windows and doors provide just as much visibility as helicopters flying with the doors off. In fact the A-Star has better visibility for passengers in the back seats.
Does Island Helicopters offer a video recording of my actual flight?
Island Helicopters does not video record your actual flight because we do not believe it's safe to do so. When flights are video recorded, the pilot has to manually operate and manage one of four cameras. We believe strongly that during a flight,
a pilot should be flying the helicopter and observing the skies at all times and not be distracted by operating video equipment. We also have observed that the video quality is poor on most tours that are video recorded. Water drops often cloud the lens, people's heads are blocking the inside cameras and when the pilots points out something on the left the camera might be viewing something on the right. We do however sell a professionally produced DVD flight tour of the island which features stunning cinematography taken in the optimal lighting, professional narration and views of all Kauai's top sights. We also offer, free of charge to every customer, a 34 picture screen saver of Kauai.
What should I wear on my helicopter tour?
Passengers should wear a dark colored shirt. Light colored clothing may reflect off the helicopter windows and may appear in your photos, so black or dark shirts are preferred. Our helicopter cabin is air conditioned and you are able to control your own A/C vent to make your seat cooler or warmer as needed. If you tend to get cold, consider bringing a light sweater or jacket.
Is there a weight requirement to fly on Island Helicopters tour?
Yes, there is a weight requirement which may require some customers to purchase an additional seat at a discounted price. Individual passengers exceeding 250 pounds, and parties of two exceeding 450 pounds may be required to purchase an additional seat.
Where do your pilots live?How long have you been in business?Do you like living on an island?
All our pilots are full time residents on the island of Kauai. Because they live on Kauai, they intimately know the geography, history and landscape of Kauai. Their knowledge is reflected in our pilots skilled and culturally accurate narration.
How long have you been in business?
Bonnie and Curt Lofstedt started Island Helicopters in 1980, however Curt ran another helicopter company on Kauai for 7.5 years prior.
Do you like living on an island?
Everyone lives on their own island, from work to the grocery store, days off doing chores and going to soccer games, etc., on our days off we have all of Kauai for play time. We have the pleasure of meeting people from all around the world. And to answer the question, YES we love it here!
Who are the Owners of Island Helicopters Kauai, Inc.?
Curt & Bonnie Lofstedt, owners and operators of Island Helicopters are long time residents of Kauai with a home in Poipu. Curt flies full time and with nearly 30,000 hours of flight time, he is one of Hawaii’s highest flight time helicopter pilots. His experience dates back to high school, receiving his pilots license even before his drivers license. After college in Oregon, Curt flew helicopters in Vietnam, on Alaska’s pipeline and then on to Hawaii. Curt has been flying in Hawaii for over 35 years and still “loves every minute of it”. Curt personally selects and trains each of Island Helicopters pilots. Both the company and all of our pilots are FAA Certified Part 135. All of Island Helicopters pilots have perfect safety records.