From the vast summit basin of Haleakala Crater and the green, waterfall-weeping West Maui Mountains to white- and black-sand beaches, Maui’s scenery is breathtaking. Pacific Helicopter Tours gives you an unforgettable overview of that scenery—literally! Its doors-off sightseeing flights are altogether dazzling.
The aircraft the company uses is the MD500, tailor-made for great viewing and photography. With only three passenger seats—one upfront by the pilot, two in back—everybody enjoys a “window seat.” The large front bubble and doors-off configuration offer unobstructed looks at the Valley Isle’s magnificence.
The doors-off deal is pretty amazing, given you’ll enjoy expansive sightlines unhampered by window glare or smudges. Pacific Helicopter Tours will certainly accommodate you, though, if you’d prefer the doors very much on.
The individual tours cover quite a lot of territory over Maui and its Pacific backyard. Perhaps the most all-out dazzling is the 3 Island Tour. This 90-minute flight combines the spectacularly rugged West Maui Mountains with the beaches of Lanai and Molokai’s stunning sea cliffs—perhaps the tallest on the planet. You can also opt for just the West Maui Mountains and Molokai, also an hour and a half, or go for an hour-long flight focused on the West Maui Mountains and their waterfalls alone.
Then there’s the 60-minute East Maui & Hana Rainforest tour. Its highlights range from the windsurfing mecca of Hookipa Beach and the world-famous “Jaws” surf break location to Hana Bay and Haleakala Crater. You can also survey the full scenic variety of West and East Maui on the hour-and-a-half Complete Island tour.
These helicopter flights can be enhanced with special add-ons, such as cliffside and oceanfront landings. (Such unforgettable stops, by the way, make knockout options for popping the question or other once-in-a-lifetime moments.) And custom tours are also very much an option.
Because the MD500 helicopters are outfitted with an intercom system, you can (and are encouraged to) communicate with your pilot in-flight. You can ask to linger at a particular spot—maybe above some spouting humpback whales in winter, for example—or ask questions about the land- and seascapes you’re seeing.
You’ll certainly want a camera and/or cellphone for pictures. These need to be secured by lanyards—hey, doors-off, remember? (The company has some phone and camera lanyards available to borrow.) Bring a light jacket for the flight, as it can be cool at altitude.
Whether you’re taking one of the standard sightseeing flights or setting up a custom private experience, Pacific Helicopter Tours is a fine option for scenic Maui flyovers!
-A bright-and-early flight is the premier option for pro-level photography, though both morning and afternoon tours offer great light for pics.
-The company offers cool flight suits to wear free of charge if you’d prefer the “Top Gun” look to your own coat.