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High attitude Jack Harter Hughes 500 above Kauai coastline

Which helicopter tour in Kauai is best

Participate in what will be the best Kauai helicopter tour in Kauai; its an open door tour that takes in all major landmarks on the island.

Jack Harter's 60-65 Minute 'Hughes 500' Tour is the best helicopter tour in Kauai, in my opinion. Its a thrilling, scary, yet extremely fun once in a lifetime tour you must try once. Its an open door helicopter tour so its not for the faint-hearted - it allows the wind to pass through the cabin with unbelievable views.

Make no mistake, there're many wonderful helicopter tours to experience in Kauai, but if I had to make a choice - then nothing compares to the 60-65 Minute Tour.

Bonus too as its one of the cheapest helicopter tours in Kauai; yet the lowest of all if its a doors off tour only.

What is involved is a Lihue Airport departure, where your tour will proceed in a clockwise direction around the island.

In that time expect to weave inland or out to the coast, cruise at a high attitude or when the weather allows it - cruise at a low attitude in between canyons and valleys.

Kauai doors off experience that will make seeing all sights on the island clear as possible, with no looking through a panel of glass with a reflection that makes it hard to.

Strapped in, guests will embark on a number of destinations that covers miles upon miles of Kauai - so you're sure to see the island at its best.

Beginning with Nawiliwili Harbor and the Menehune Fishpond, then its the Kipu Kai and the Tunnel of Trees - you'll then arrive at Jurassic Falls in the Hanapepe Valley.

Then onto Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon and Na Pali coastline, before hitting the North Shore beaches of Ke'e to Hanalei.

Over to the Beautiful Bay and Valley of Hanalei, Mt. Waialeale and finally Wailua Falls.

60-65 Minute Hughes 500 Tour is best

So its Jack Harter's descriptively named 60-65 Minute tour I consider to be the best helicopter tour in Kauai.

That is because its a personal preference based on the helicopter type in use, and the all important open door experience.

Not much will change in regards to the flight path guests will venture on; its just that of all seven Kauai helicopter companies on the Island, I would rather do it in a Hughes 500.

Departing Lihue, the tour route will proceed in a clockwise direction so you be heading south before turning due west.

Over the course of the 65 minutes or so, passengers will hit on all major landmarks Kauai has to offer them.

Shape of the island is more a sideward oval, so the flight route would inherit that shape.

Though you'll see much of the coastline - especially if you're sitting on the left side of the aircraft - your flight route will be more inland.

Exciting as it is to dive in between Kauai's canyons and dense valleys; the open door way cannot be beat.

No stuffy cab, no glare on the window; just a open door helicopter ride that is sure to please anyone who dares.

Lihue Airport departure

Not so much from Lihue Airport but more so a little distance away, at first. Guests who travel to Jack Harter headquarters will do so begining with a short shuttle drive.

Its easy to get too as the location is out of a busy tourist area or major routes.

In fact, if you were to visit Jack Harter via your arrival at Lihue Airport; it would take just 20 minutes to walk to their heliport - though there is no sidewalk on this route and you'll end up coming back the same way using the shuttle.

That is actually what Jack Harter's location is; an authentic, nice little shack buried under luscious trees.

Here customers will be free to pick a parking spot that is reserved for guests only.

Inside the shack customers will be checked-in with a little safety briefing expected. Be sure to bring a photo I.D. - such as a passport - to avoid unexpected delays.

No helicopter lift off from this location as customers will be shuttled to the near by Lihue Airport where the Hughes 500 helicopter is on standby on the tarmac.

Location lends itself to being less busy or hectic when compared to a larger airport location, but expect a bit of taxiing as you depart away from the airport airspace.

Do it in Hughes 500 helicopter

Quite possibly one of my all time favourite helicopter models; the Hughes 500 has a unique design but is extremely robust - previously used by the US army.

People who're not familiar with types of helicopters might be more familiar with this kind.

Its an identical helicopter type - be it much more modern - with the helicopter used in the television programme - Magnum P.I.

Its a 4 passenger capacity helicopter plus the pilot. It uses a two seat layout in the rear with a three seat arrangement in the front - so there will be two passengers in front.

Guest who're in the rear will enjoy an open door seat each, while a passenger in the front will sit between there companion, plus the pilot.

It must be said the side seats are the best of the tour as it allows for no obstructions.

Pilot's usually sit on the right side of a helicopter, but not so in the Hughes 500. Instead they occupy the left side so an additional passenger can sit in the front.

The Hughes 500 is an incredibly agile machine; capable of performing aerobatic like manoeuvres if it were allowed too.

In the Jack Harter 90 Minute Tour, its more of a calm, slower tour so will be suitable for most people, including teenagers.

Nothing like the Open Door experience

Man poses for picture in flight with Kauai coastline seen in background
Thrill seeking passenger is seen sitting in the rear seat of a Jack Harter Hughes 500 helicopter. The view behind him of Kauai's coastline cannot be seen like this with doors shut helicopter tours.

Wherever you'll be staying in Hawaii, an open door helicopter tour cannot be missed, as it outdoes all available behind closed door helicopter tours.

Imagine it, as you lift off the ground you'll able to see the ground below you while taking in the views from a more desirable angle.

Not so when taking a closed door helicopter ride, as passengers are restricted to what they can see through the window.

Kauai open door helicopter tours in a Hughes 500 is far better; as the door frame is much wider as to allow guests to view more out of the chopper - rather than the inside.

Its worth noting the Jack Harter 60-65 Minute Tour using the Hughes is open door only, whereas guests can book a closed door tour in their AStar helicopter.

Open cockpit Kauai helicopter tour experience exposes you to the elements.

So don't be surprised to feel the rain or a light mist hit your face as you charge through canyons or valleys at low attitude.

Jack Harter will advise passengers to wear suitable clothing on this tour; including the need to where lace tied shoes to prevent them falling off.

No Kauai tourist attraction missed

So much of Kauai to see over the duration of your flight, but you can be guaranteed not one major area of interest will be missed.

Remember, as you hit on all major landmarks, passengers can simply admire the Kauai countryside as you go from one landmark to the next.

In that time you'll see little towns, highways, rivers and farms; not forgetting views on the horizon including cloud covered mountains.

Heading in a clockwise route, the tour will head briefly south as you embark on Nawiliwili Harbor and the Menehune Fishpond.

Next up guests will take in the Kipu Kai and the Tunnel of Trees, then head towards one of my all time favourite locations on the island - Manawaiopuna Falls in Hanapepe Valley.

If you don't know or realised it yet, this is a film location used in my all time favourite movie, Jurassic Park.

You can book a Jurassic Falls helicopter tour via a different operator; but what better way to see it in the air with doors off.

Still heading west, you'll approach Olokele Canyon, and as you pass by, you'll reach Waimea Canyon on the tour - known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Now heading north, the helicopter tour descends on Na Pali's spectacular sea cliffs and valleys, including the North Shore beaches from Ke'e to Hanalei.

Then its over to the Beautiful Bay and Valley of Hanalei, Mt. Waialeale - the heart of Kauai's ancient volcano - and finally Wailua Falls.

Cost per person

Regular price per person is $309.00, though Jack Harter always run an internet special, so be sure to check on the price regularly.

When compared to the price to pay for a helicopter tour in Kauai; its a price that is among the cheapest.

What you see is was you pay for, so it will cost you $309.00, no more, no less. That means no additional fees such as a fuel surcharge.

MD500 'Hughes' helicopter are relatively cheap to operate per hour; so this reduction in overheads is passed onto customers.

Where it could cost you extra is requesting a seat, though its likely passengers will be sat on a seat to balance the chopper.

Helicopter tour prices in Kauai are quite cheap, but you'll certainly find this Jack Harter 60-65 Minute 'Hughes 500' tour is one of the lowest.

If I were to directly compare this type of open door helicopter tour to their rivals - as in Mauna Loa Helicopters - its the cheapest doors off tour.

Be sure to book online to make a reservation of the best helicopter tour in Kauai. Know that its not a completed order at this stage, just a reservation before paying by credit card for real.

Not for the Faint-Hearted

First person view of Hughes 500 tail rotor
Passenger taken picture out of open door Jack Harter helicopter towards the tail rotor, while viewing the magnificent Na Pali coastline.

Make no mistake, participating in this Jack Harter open door helicopter tour is not for the faint-hearted - nor those that feel effects of motion sickness.

This is a helicopter tour that is thrilling yet scary at the same time.

It can be a calm, smooth ride but there is a likelihood of passengers feeling thrills and spills as you manoeuvre around at a low attitude in canyons or valleys.

Higher attitude flying will allow more freedom for the pilot as he pulls more daring moves.

Remember, all that happens with doors off so nothing is missed during near aerobatic manoeuvring

If you ever feel like this type of helicopter tour is not for you, you can always make use of Jack Harter's doors on tour.

Guests will be traveling at quite a speed, with the wind passing through the cockpit with often a gust of misty rain hitting you in the face.

That is a feeling you must experience for yourself, and you can do just that with Jack Harter.

Conclusion

Experience the terrifying yet not to be missed, once in a lifetime Jack Harter 60-65 Minute 'Hughes 500' Tour - which I believe is the best tour in Kauai.

Options include doors on in all types of helicopter models; but its this kind of tour that offers guests the best time of there life.

Costs to pay is $309.00, which happens to be one of the cheapest in Kauai and the lowest priced doors off tour.

Departing near Lihue Airport, the tour will take you in a clockwise direction around the island of Kauai, heading south as you move due west.

Regardless of the tour you participate in, its worth noting landmarks to see in the air will always be the exact same locations.

Only when you do it in an open door helicopter experience, you won't be restricted to a closed door environment, so you're guarantee to see much more.

Jack Harter will spend time in the duration of your tour at the Nawiliwili Harbor and the Menehune Fishpond, and Kipu Kai and the Tunnel of Trees

A visit to Manawaiopuna Falls - also known as Jurassic Falls - in Hanapepe Valley, Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali coastline.

Then onto the North Shore beaches of Ke'e to Hanalei, Beautiful Bay and Valley of Hanalei, Mt. Waialeale - then finally your hit on Wailua Falls.

Do all that in an agile, fast Hughes 500 helicopter as passengers will feel the cool, Kuaui air pass through the cockpit with often a drizzle of light rain.

Its not for the faint-hearted but it is for anyone who weighs under 300lb and over ten years old to be permitted to sit on an open door seat.

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