Sunshine Helicopters

Sunshine Helicopters-Offering Tours of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Sunshine Helicopters offer tours on Maui, Kaui, and Big Island, and flights average about 50-60 minutes. Group and charters are available, and pricing is on a per-hour basis. Their fleet consists of top-of-the-line helicopters. Pilots are either former flight instructors or highly-skilled military veterans.

- The Local Expert Team

Sunshine Helicopters offer tours on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, showcasing some of Hawaii’s unexplored mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, and jungles.

The story behind how Sunshine Helicopters came into being reads like a movie script. Ross and Anna were stationed in Germany when their parents were in the military back in the 60s. They became high school sweethearts and later eloped to leave Germany together.

Ross attended the University of Washington and then took a sabbatical to work at Boeing as a design engineer. Ross was drafted during the Vietnam War, so he signed up for the Army Helicopter Flight Training Program to bypass being a foot soldier.

Ross flew many missions and saw a lot of combat as a helicopter pilot. Ross received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Purple Heart for his bravery.

After Vietnam, Ross and Anna moved to Alaska, and their family grew to include two sons. Anna worked at a local grocery store, and Ross managed an aviation company with 50 airplanes and 30 helicopters.

The family was looking for a lifestyle change, and since they had an investment property in Maui, they made to jump to the island. In 1985, Ross leased some helicopters from his former Alaska company and launched Sunshine Helicopter Tours.

Sunshine Helicopters offers tours in Maui and Kauai, but we’ll focus on their tours on the Big Island.

Volcano Deluxe Helicopter Tour
On this tour, guests can select open seating or first-class on the Whisper Star chopper. The flight lasts about 1-hour and 45 minutes. Picture yourself zipping over Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes! You’ll safely see lava rolling into the sea and wisps of vapor rising from the volcano. You’ll also soar over lush valleys of the Kohala Mountains with breathtaking views of waterfalls and rainforests along the Hamakua Coastline.

Kohala Hamakua Coast Helicopter Tour
This tour is approximately 40-45 minutes long, and guests choose either open or first-class seating price on the Whisper Star helicopter. Like a bird, you’ll soar up the steep ocean cliffs of the Kohala Mountains and then dip into the deep, winding valleys like Waimanu, Pololu, and Waipio.

At Sunshine Helicopters, your safety and comfort are their top priority. They do this with their superb fleet and pilots.

Sunshine Helicopters nickname their vessels “black beauty” and are state-of-the-art helicopters, the FX-Star, and the Whisper Star. The Whisper is larger and has a newer style than the FX and features a glass roof, elevated rear seats, leather interior, and Bose sound system.

Pilots at Sunshine Helicopters are either highly skilled military veterans or former flight instructors from some of the nation’s premier schools. The goal of the pilots is to provide you with a safe, fun, and enjoyable flight experience.

All the vessels at Sunshine Helicopters come with:

  • Emergency pop-out floats
  • Air conditioning
  • Pilot-to-pax intercom
  • Three camera Sky-Cam Video system to record your tour

Several guests suggested paying extra for the Full-HD video of your tour. You’ll be able to enjoy taking in the scenery and not fretting about getting pictures or a GoPro shot.

We believe Sunshine Helicopters offers safe and fun tours that will provide memories that will last a lifetime. 

Insider Tip:
Guests praise the pilots for Sunshine Helicopters for making the flight comfortable and smooth. However, Hawaii is known for having wind sheers and turbulence, which pilots cannot control, so expect a few rollercoaster-like dips.