Helo Days logo
Magnum Helicopters open door MD 500D type over the ocean

Magnum P.I. helicopter tour guide

In demand helicopter tours in Hawaii are the Magnum P.I. tours that proceed in a replica Hughes 500 helicopter, like the one used in the TV show.

Participating in a Magnum P.I. helicopter tour will happen in a duplicate MD500D, or Hughes 500; a 5-seater helicopter with a cruise speed of 155mph. Make it a doors off tour for a thrill of a lifetime or go doors on if you wish. Up to two operators specialise in this tour with less focused options made available.

If you know anything about helicopter tours in Hawaii you will have come to recognize the Magnum P.I. helicopter tour experience to be sought-after.

What's involved is guests touring Oahu or other Hawaii island's in an exact replica Magnum P.I. Hughes 500, or MD 500D.

Participating in this themed helicopter tour will depend on where you are in Oahu. So while Magnum Helicopters or Mauna Loa are located out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport...

Paradise Helicopters are located in the stunning Turtle Bay Resort near many beautiful beaches.

Paradise or Magnum Helicopters are one of the companies to book as they offer the most accurate portrayal of the TV show, in Oahu.

If you are in Kauai instead don't despair as Jack Harter Helicopters will offer a flight in a MD500, but not in a Magnum theme model.

Price list table

Operator: Tour Name: Island: Type: Dur: Price:
Jack Harter Helicopters 60-65 Min. Hughes 500 Tour Kauai MD500 60 $309
Magnum Helicopters Adventure Tour Oahu MD500 50 $269
Mauna Loa Helicopters Oahu Magnum P.I. Experience Oahu R44 50 $200
Paradise Helicopters Magnum Experience Oahu MD500 60 $359
Operator column is company who operates Hughes 500 tour; Tour Name is package to book; Island is location of tour; Type is helicopter model; Dur. is flight duration + Price.

Technically the 60-65 Minute Hughes 500 Tour operated by Jack Harter Helicopters is not a Magnum P.I. helicopter tour.

It would be cruel on the company not to include their tour where the MD500 is involved in Kauai, so not Oahu.

Exclusive, authentic Magnum P.I. experience in Oahu is in the hands of what is also in their name, Magnum Helicopters.

The company operate an authentic, replica - yet more modern - MD500, or Hughes 500 helicopter in an identical color scheme as the TV show.

Mauna Loa are not on the ball for offering a genuine Magnum P.I. experience; so its in name only - as you'll be touring in a Robinson R44.

Other than Magnum Helicopters, Paradise Helicopters run a replica Hughes 500 in Oahu which can include a landing on the companies exclusive hilltop site.

The Magnum P.I. Experience

Paradise Helicopters replica MD 500D maneuvering above Oahu coastline
Seen here is Paradise Helicopters' own MD 500D type helicopter as it pulls a daring maneuvering as it soars above the Oahu coastline.

Genuine Magnum P.I. experience will involve a helicopter tour in Oahu; so it aligns with the location of the TV show, in the air anyway.

You'll remember Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, a private investigator residing in a beachfront estate called Robin's Nest.

However, it wasn't Magnum who piloted the Hughes 500 helicopter but is buddy and sidekick in the show, Theodore Calvin.

T.C. operates a local helicopter charter company with use of the Hughes 500D.

That is where the extent of the Magnum P.I. experience lies; a helicopter tour around Oahu that would otherwise be piloted by T.C.., not Magnum.

Having said that, Magnum P.I. themed helicopter tours do follow one a flight path to that seen in the show during its opening sequence.

You will not visit other 'in the air flight routes' or filming locations seen on the ground.

Instead the Magnum P.I. helicopter tour will follow a clockwise direction that takes in Oahu's own attractions, popular with visitors to the island.

Helicopter tour operators

Mauna Loa Helicopter skimming the Oahu coastline
Not always do you need to book for the full Magnum P.I. experience when Mauna Loa can make it more interesting in their Robinson R44.

Most genuine Magnum P.I. helicopter tour experience is where guests can partake via two Oahu based operators.

Namely Paradise Helicopters who operate their own Magnum P.I. replica Hughes 500, along with an identical color scheme.

Secondly, and one you would assume in the name; is Magnum Helicopters who only run Magnum P.I. helicopter based tours.

Paradise Helicopters Magnum Experience Tour departs via Turtle Bay Resort; so is quite unique as its not a standard heliport location.

Benefits of course is a near to the beach location that has many amenities nearby.

Guests can upgrade there Magnum P.I. experience to one that will include a landing on the companies remote, hilltop landing spot - or make it a doors off helicopter tour.

Magnum Helicopters don't offer additional services per sea; but it not needed as their Magnum P.I. theme tour is one to remember.

No need to pay extra as Magnum Helicopters Adventure Tour is doors off anyway.

Who else you can book a Magnum P.I. helicopter tour with is Mauna Loa Helicopters with their Oahu Magnum P.I. Experience - though it involves a Robinson R44, not a Hughes 500.

Not quite the Magnum helicopter tour but one similar to those available in Oahu, is Jack Harter's 60-65 Minute Hughes 500 Tour in their own MD500, operating exclusively in Kauai.

Magnum P.I. helicopter tour islands

Jack Harter Hughes 500 departing heliport
Passengers seen in the cabin of this Jack Harter Helicopters Hughes 500 as it depart the heliport in Kauai.

I might say Magnum P.I. based helicopter tours are only as authentic has those tours that participate on the island of Oahu.

The Magnum P.I. TV show was based on Oahu so it makes sense to experience the thrill of a tour in Oahu only.

And that is what you'll get when booking a tour with Paradise Helicopters and Magnum Helicopters, respectively.

Less so Mauna Loa Helicopters in their Robinson R44, but it still takes place in Oahu.

So with that in mind, if you want to make it as authentic as possible, only book a Magnum P.I. tour in Oahu.

That is not to say you should forget about a Magnum helicopter tours on other islands, as it is available in Kauai, but not in the sense of a Magnum theme tour.

Instead, Jack Harter's Kauai open door helicopter tour would be one to experience with or without the premise of the tour based on the television show.

Make it Oahu as the island for the best Magnum P.I. helicopter tour which is available through two operators.

Replica Hughes 500

Guest poses for picture with a Magnum Helicopters replica, plus pilot in background
Blogger Goran Kosanovic poses for picture as he is about to depart for a helicopter tour over Oahu, courtesy of Magnum Helicopters [source].

Proof you'll be participating in an genuine Magnum P.I. helicopter or "The Chopper" - is in the technical name, MD 500D.

That is a McDonnell Douglas 500 'D type' helicopter model which is an early release, but more commonly known as a Hughes 500.

To fly in an exact replica of this model used in the TV show; book a tour with Magnum Helicopter as they're the operator to have this model in their fleet.

Its a reconstructed model that replicates the color scheme - with permission - as seen on the television show.

Still near identical thanks to the rounded bubble like front end; Paradise Helicopters own Hughes 500 is a 500D also, so once again another operator replicating the original.

Know that Oahu's helicopter tour operator models are newer and more modern, so is far superior to the original.

Hughes 500, or MD500D is a helicopter developed for the US military; its because of this its able to withstand the harsh, humid conditions of Hawaii.

More so, when its a doors off helicopter tour the rain or moisture entering the aircraft will not do any damage to the interior.

Calm or exhilarating flight

Magnum Helicopters soaring above crushing ways on a open door experience
Not for the faint-hearted, as passengers are seen inside the cabin of Magnum Helicopters MD 500D chopper as it soars above crushing waves.

Premise of a Magnum P.I. helicopter tour can be both calm or thrilling; yet it can still be scary for those that are not used to flying.

Most common theme of this sort of helicopter tour is a calm one as the pilot manoeuvres the chopper with light, gentle movements.

Magnum Helicopters' tours are classed as a calm flight and will be if its a doors on flight.

But as the operators tend to only charter a Oahu open door helicopter tour only, it can be quite scary at times.

Paradise Helicopters can also come under the calm helicopter ride category; only their low attitude flying at speed can be scary, but its made to be exhilarating.

Over to Mauna Loa Helicopters in their Robinson R44 can be indifferent.

On one hand the Robinson is not a steady one as its light and agile; yet the doors off experience can only heighten the thrill of the ride.

Magnum P.I. helicopter rides are not for the whole family in terms of suitable for little kiddies or those simply not old enough to participate.

Jack Harter in Kauai also offer a smoother ride but again the low attitude flying through canyons or valleys can be scary.

Open Door or Shut

Magnum Helicopters MD 500D open door helicopter tour with passengers onboard
Magnum Helicopters' exact replica MD 500D type helicopter as it stops for a photograph with passengers onboard.

My favorite thing to do on any island in Hawaii is participating in a Hawaii open door helicopter tour only.

Imagine it, incredible views with no window glare or reflections; just you hanging out of the side of the chopper as the landscape passes beneath you.

Thankfully, four of the four Magnum P.I. helicopter tour companies operate a doors off tour, or provide an option to do so.

Participating in a Oahu open door helicopter tour is made via Paradise Helicopters and Magnum Helicopters.

Mauna Lao Helicopters also but in their less stable but incredibly fun Robinson R44.

Closest way to experience an open door helicopter tour in Kauai is with Jack Harter in their Hughes 500.

Magnum Helicopters and Mauna Loa is doors off by default, where only Paradise Helicopters ask for a $50.00 upgrade to remove the doors.

Don't let the extra cost or the concern of doors off put you off; its a very safe experience that allows for a visibility level that is unmatched.


To make it the most authentic Magnum P.I. helicopter tour experience, it must take place in Oahu in a replica Hughes 500, or MD500D type helicopter.

Guests can board a open door or doors shut tour where the doors off options must be seriously considered.

Up to four passengers will board the helicopter with two passengers in the rear row well two passengers sit in the front, next to the pilot who always sits on the left side.

Best Magnum P.I. helicopters tours are via Magnum Helicopters and Paradise Helicopters in there reconstructed MD 500D with an identical color scheme matching the model used in the TV show.

Its easy to forget there is still a theme to the tour but its not what you might expect.

While Paradise Helicopters follow a brief flight route as seen in the television show, no other attraction involved in the original TV show will be seen.

Instead, guests will be taking in a clockwise direction that takes in all of Oahu's major landmarks, including Pearl Harbor.

Rides are mostly calm with a smooth motion, but expect a little thrill as it can be quite scary with a doors off tour or one that flies at low attitude.

Share this article: