Helo Days logo
Female sitting in co-pilot seat looking over to Oahu's clear water with coral reef

Hawaii Open Door helicopter tours guide

Only way to see Hawaii in the air is with use of a scary yet thrilling open door helicopter tour, which is sure to beat doors shut a mile off.

Not an experience for the whole family I grant you, but an Hawaii open door helicopter tour is the only way to see the island, with amazing visibility. Up to seven helicopter tour companies operate this experience; across the Big Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu - along with an excursion over to nearby islands possible.

Make no mistake, if you want one tour to see any of the four major islands in Hawaii, a helicopter tour is the only option.

Not only that, it must be a open door type tour that involves the doors being removed as to allow unrestricted views out of either side of the chopper.

Strict rules apply with under 10 year olds not always permitted, while what you wear on a Hawaii helicopter tour can be restrictive, as shoes must be lace tied.

Helicopter tours in Hawaii with doors off are often made cheap as to be competitive between all the operators.

No tour is the same with a different time of day and pilot making the experience original.

I can guarantee you Kauai open door helicopter tours will be among the best available as more interesting, or more recognisable attractions are seen.

Whereas The Big Island cannot be ignored thanks to its active volcano plus running lava.

Lowest price doors off list

Operator: Islands: Helicopter: Dur. Cost:
Air Maui Helicopter Tours Maui H125 45 $245
Jack Harter Helicopters Kauai MD500, H125 60 $309
Magnum Helicopters Oahu MD500 50 $269
Mauna Loa Helicopters Big Island, Oahu, Maui R44 30 $190
Novictor Helicopters Oahu R44 20 $180
Pacific Helicopters Maui R44 45 $299
Paradise Helicopters Big Island MD500, 407 40 $324
Listed in my lowest price open door helicopter tours across all Hawaiian Islands. Columns display operator name, island of operation, helicopter type, flight time and cost.

Important as it is to experience an open door helicopter tour in any one of the Hawaiian islands, so too is making it a low price offer.

My price table is listing lowest cost for an open door tour per one Hawaiian helicopter tour operator.

Notice that all service the one island while only Mauna Loa Helicopters serve up to three.

Island you partake in an open door experience can have a vast difference in the operator who are flying you, to the type of helicopter in use.

Hawaii open door helicopter tours usually participate in one of a Robinson R44, MD500 - or Hughes 500 - Airbus H125 or a Bell 407.

Hawaii doors off companies

Paradise Helicopter MD500 over active volcano on The Big Island
Paradise Helicopters' MD500 - or Hughes 500 - hovering over active volcano on The Big Island, as passengers are seen on the open door experience.

Up to seven Hawaii helicopter tour companies serve all four Hawaii Islands, with all open door tour experiences being different to the next.

Air Maui

Open door tours with Air Maui Helicopters will take all passengers up in their 6-seater, plus the pilot, Airbus H125.

Its the one helicopter tour to pick with the Doors-Off West Maui & Molokai tour, and what is the only option via Air Maui.

Mid range pricing with a cost of $245.00 to be expected with a flight duration of 45 minutes - approximate time only so will be a little more or less.

Options for time of day to take a tour is between 8:00am in the morning to noon; plus 12:00pm to 5:00pm for a later in the day tour.

Maui Air operate strict conditions around what you can or cannot bring; so no camera use with only a mobile, or cell phone allowed.

Jack Harter

Only way to see Kauai is with Jack Harter Helicopters where passengers will board a quick, agile, yet powerful Hughes 500 - the one Magnum P.I. used.

One helicopter tour option is in the Hughes 500 on the 60-65 Minute Hughes 500 Tour being the only option you'll need.

Higher end pricing but still reasonably priced for what is the longest tour duration in the open door experience.

Jack Harter are also a company to make sure guests do indeed get the full one hour.

Tours are expected to lift off all day with morning or evening Kauai helicopter tours that will require a reservation before you hand over money.

Magnum Helicopters

Ultimate Magnum P.I. helicopter tour can for sure only be experienced in a genuine, real authentic Hughes 500 - a 1980's replica.

Appropriately named Magnum Helicopters, the operator will offer guests this experience only as they only fly the Hughes 500 on tours.

Tough, powerful machine that allows for two passengers in the rear with a guaranteed side seat - plus two passengers sitting next to the pilot.

Only the one tour to select is their Magnum PI helicopter tour that will be quite unique from one day to the next.

Pricing is $269.00 for open seating arrangement or costing $20.00 more for a preferred seat, at a price of $289.00.

Explore Oahu only via Magnum Helicopters in what will be a 50 minute tour of The Gathering Place.

Mauna Loa Helicopters

Serving up to three Hawaii islands, Mauna Loa will soar the sky in their agile but reliable open door Robinson R44.

Its a 3-seater passenger capacity helicopter with all guests guaranteed a seat on the open door side.

Open seating or private tour options, the company will offer these options whatever island you will be participating.

Private option is open to anyone who can afford it with a price range up to $693 to be expected, with the lowest price being $190.00 - with a one hour flight duration.

No tour will be the same as the pilot is sure to bring guests within touching distance to any landmark or attraction you visit on any island.

Novictor Helicopters

Selecting Novictor Helicopters for your open door tour experience can only take place in Oahu - The Gathering Place - with this operator.

Novictor service tours in there 3-seater plus the pilot Robinson R44, a type that allows for all guests to get a side seat.

Up to a generous seven Oahu open door helicopter tours are an option with more tour choices for couples or special events.

Pricing is quite reasonable but its only because it matches a short flight duration; For example, a 20 minute helicopter tour will cost you $180.00.

Early morning, noon, afternoon or later tours in the evening are an option with Novictor.

Pacific Helicopters

Not the only Maui open door helicopter tour company to service the island; but they do it differently in their agile Robinson R44 chopper.

I say agile because a helicopter ride in a R44 can be a little shaky; so perfect for a thrill but a little awkward for pro photographers.

Up to five Maui helicopter tours are an option with more for private events; such as a photography session, proposal or charter.

Costs are more than other Hawaii helicopter tour companies who operate a Robinson R44, but its made up with a time that is almost double.

No specific time of day promotion unless you book a chartered helicopter tour for a private getaway.

Paradise Helicopters

Exclusive 'The Big Island helicopter tour operator' who will charter a 4-seater Hughes 500 or a 6-seater Bell 407 for your tour.

Theme of each tour varies drastically including whale watching, waterfalls, canyons and valleys - and of course visiting Hawaii's lava or volcanoes.

Massive thirty-one Hawaii helicopter tours in total but only three of those are open door.

Not just in the air tours either as there are options to experience a Hawaii landing tour with additional activities for the whole family.

When participating in Paradise Helicopters open door tour on the Island of Hawaii; its likely to take place in their Hughes 'Magnum' MD500 helicopter only.

Islands of Hawaii open door tours

Robinson R44 helicopter viewing waterfall with tourists onboard
Mauna Loa Helicopters is operating this tour involving a waterfall stop; the Robinson R44 is a common doors off helicopter in use across the islands of Hawaii.

Participating in an open door helicopter tour in Hawaii is made possible on four of the islands; including the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Oahu.

Hawaii: The Big Island

Second biggest population with more visitors to The Big Island per year than any other in Hawaii, so its quite surprising to see only the two operators.

Of whom, they offer a very different approach to there common flight route which is also unique as Mauna Loa and Paradise Helicopters do not operate identical helicopters.

Hawaii is the island with an active volcano plus a lava flow; so expect tours to focus on this attraction most well the island's hidden treasures will be seen.

Mauna Loa are more affordable in their Robinson R44; while Paradise Helicopters are more costly in their MD500 or 6-seater Bell 407.

Make it a Big Island helicopter tour if the purpose of the flight is lava and volcanoes.

Maui: The Valley Isle

Second biggest island in Hawaii is serviced by three open door helicopter tour operators, all of whom depart via Kahului Airport.

Focus of a Maui tour is on the West in what will be a crossing over to the nearby island of Molokai.

Possible is a close up of waterfalls, valleys and a hover of the rainforest, well a cliff side flight is a possibility.

So in Maui its a water crossing that will be quite the scare for a short while, but in a good way.

While Pacific Helicopters and Mauna Lao will take up guests in a Robinson R44; a more steady tour is possible in Air Maui Helicopters Airbus H125.

Kauai: The Garden Isle

I have to admit, Kauai is my best island for a helicopter tour in Hawaii; as I believe it offers the most interesting attractions to see in the air, in my opinion.

That is because its possible to see Jurassic Falls, which is the waterfall featured in the movie, Jurassic Park - which is my all time favorite film.

Helicopter tours involved on a low attitude flight through the Waimea Canyon, before reaching the Na Pali Coast, a real highlight to any open door tour in Kauai.

Servicing your Kauai open door helicopter tour is in the hands of Jack Harter in their Hughes 500, or...

Once again Mauna Loa Helicopters who will take you up in their Robinson R44.

Oahu: The Gathering Place

Gathered in a section south of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, all three Oahu open door helicopter tour companies are located near to one another.

Departing the Airport in Honolulu, a clockwise tour direction is expected as Pearl Harbor with all her attractions are seen first.

Passengers are expected to get amazing views of Oahu out of the helicopter on the coastline and inland with a unexpected flight route diversion to be had.

You will for sure want to experience the open door via Magnum Helicopters in their Hughes 500 chopper.

Its over to Mauna Loa Helicopters and Novictor Helicopters to take guests up in an agile Robinson R44 helicopter.

Hawaii closed vs. open door

Magnum PI Hughes 500 Soaring above crushing waves on coastline
Paradise Helicopters operating a Magnum P.I. style Hughes 500. Doors are closed but imagine the amazing views if it was a door off experience.

Disadvantage to an open door helicopter tour in Hawaii is that its not open to all; that is with kids unlikely to be permitted.

Apart from that, Hawaii open door helicopter tour companies have been in business long enough to deal with a change of climate in Hawaii.

While advantages of a open door helicopter ride can have better visibility with a nice, windy, cool open cockpit - which is highly beneficial in Hawaii's heat that's for sure.

If you decide to go doors on, know that this method of a helicopter tour, specially under the Hawaii sun, can cause issues with visibility.

Namely, glare off the sun can be a problem as passengers can have difficulty seeing through the windows.

Similarly, a problem with a reflection on the window on the inside can occur no thanks to your own clothing or fellow passengers.

Hawaii aerial photographer

Novictor Helicopter with passengers seen onboard in flight
Passengers seen riding this Novictor Robinson R44 helicopter are free to shoot amazing snaps with all guests receiving a open door side seat.

Know that when you book an open door helicopter tour on any island in Hawaii; you can do so for the experience only, or a professional photography session.

You do not need to book a private open door helicopter tour to benefit most.

In fact its possible to book an open seat tour with others onboard unknown to you, as pro photography is still possible with most doors off seats.

Not entirely true as its possible to be sat in the middle co-pilot seat, so be sure to avoid that by asking not to be sat there or in the middle back row.

Quick shutter speed is the name of the game when taking pictures out of a fast moving helicopter as you move at great speed with rotor blades spinning above you.

Helicopter type most likely you'll be flying in over any Hawaii island is a Robinson R44; its a little shaky and not very steady, so pro's need to now that.


Every helicopter tour in Hawaii should be one that is doors off; its an exhilarating experience that is best done on any island in Hawaii.

None of the four major islands are without a helicopter tour company who can offer this type of tour to view all of the islands major attractions.

Often a doors off experience can be as short as 20 minutes to a longer flight duration of 50 minutes to one hour.

Of the seven helicopter tour companies located across Hawaii; its mostly the Robinson R44 helicopter that guests will board.

You must be sure to take a flight in a speedy yet tough little 'bubble like' Hughes 500 - the one used in the TV show, Magnum PI.

Make it a Hawaii open door helicopter tour for amazing visibility; unlike doors on where glare or reflection is a real issue.

Anyone is entitled to book doors off but for professional photographers or amateurs; its sure to be the best way to take aerial photographs.

Share this article: