A reader recently asked for my opinion on whether she should choose a fixed-wing tour or helicopter tour on her Kauai vacation. Though I’m sure both would be thrilling, I recommended going with the helicopter tour and here’s why:
- FAA allows helicopters to fly lower than planes. That means that with a helicopter tour, you’ll still get a bird’s eye view, but a bit closer to the scenery.
- Helicopters are more agile than planes and can fly into areas that planes can’t. For example, on Kauai, there’s a volcanic crater, Mount Waialeale, that’s partially open on one side. Several pencil thin waterfalls cascade down the side of the crater wall. It’s a beautiful sight that helicopters can fly into the open side of the crater. Planes can only fly several hundred feet above the crater.
- Helicopters can hover over a particularly scenic spot whereas planes must keep moving.
- Helicopters don’t tend to be affected by turbulence as much as planes.
To expand a bit about Helicopter agility and seeing Mount Waialeale, here’s a rough video that illustrates that point very well.The volume is a bit loud, so you may want to turn the volume down or mute it before you watch this video. (Email subscribers, click here to access the video.)
See this article, 6 Tips for Choosing Hawaii Helicopter Tour, for more air tour advice.