Tom’s Tips – Big Island Helicopter Tours

Oct 11, 2021 | Activity Information

There was absolutely no category of activities on the Big Island in the late spring and summer of 2018 that was busier than the helicopter companies. On May 3rd the world began to rock on the Big Island as the first of many fissures forced their way onto the landscape and within days plumes of gas and monstrous fire streams of continuous lava shot high above the Hilo skyline. The Puna district was engulfed in a sea of fire and the VOG alert went off the charts. Everyone all of a sudden wanted to grab a helicopter flight to see the spectacle. Within days, the flights became very difficult to come by. We were reduced to finding single seats on multiple aircraft simply so a party of two could see this most ominous of events. They did not care that they would have to go up on separate aircraft that were leaving within 4 hours of each other. It was a ‘gold rush’ for helicopter flights the likes of which the island had never seen before.

Just as fast as it came, it went and the volcanoes died down. As is the way of all things, the ebb and flow came to pass. And so what is it like now for the helicopter companies on the Big Island. That’s right, their busy still. Not busy in the sense of the pandemonium that existed during that time but busy in the sense that now everyone knows about this place and wants to see what happened here. It is estimated the the crater of Halema’uma’u has more than doubled in size. Many of the buildings and houses and roads have been either buried over or destroyed by flames. Pockets of civilization, once connected by roads and pathways have been completely isolated from the rest of the population. People still choosing to live on their beautiful properties are willing to hike out over lava outcroppings to bring in supplies to their isolated homes. The volcanoes random choice of directions left some properties pristine while decimating their neighbors. The trail of the volcanoes is still there to see. Yes there are still steam trails and signs of the volcanoes fury but mostly we are witnessing black lava as a blanket covering a tropical landscape.

Is it any less interesting to witness now as it was when the area was all ablaze with heat and fire and inferno. Yes, probably, but no, not really. You still see the power and the force of nature everywhere you look. It is there for you to witness and try to understand. This is the planet we live on. This is what it does. And we still have the helicopters that will take you there to see it and leave you scarred deep within your psyche with the knowledge of the awesome power of the forces that we live with on this planet.