Temporary Restrictions of Sightseeing Aircraft Above the Erupting Hawaii Volcanoes

Jan 30, 2021 | General Information

Some of the volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii have increased in eruptions over the past few months. This is nothing new for Big Island residents as they have been living under the shadow of Madam Pele, the ‘goddess of volcanoes’ and her destructive lava flows for centuries. One flight over the Big Island in a helicopter or flight-seeing plane and you will witness the history of volcano flows flowing one over another as they cover the landscape. Such is life on an island that is still in its growth phase and gets larger and larger everyday from lava that is transported from miles below the earth’s surface to find daylight above.

This is a spectacle that people have an opportunity to witness perhaps only one time in their lives and visitors vacationing in Hawaii basically wait in line to have the opportunity to see these amazing flows. Now that the flows are within a mile of populated communities lying within the rift-zone area of these ever advancing volcanic events it has been deemed necessary by the Federal Aviation Administration to place restrictions upon sightseeing excursions intent upon viewing the spectacle. Although many, many areas of the lava flow are still well within view of these aircraft the area within approximately 2 miles surrounding the current and likely destructive flows are now reserved for aircraft flying relief operations that eventually may be needed to assist in evacuations of people or property in the area.

As of a few days ago the major helicopter and fixed wing flight-seeing companies are permitted to fly their usual flight paths but must stay away from the 2 mile perimeter and not fly closer than 4000′ in the immediate area. There is plenty left to see however and flights are still permitted to visit Pu’u o’o vent. The flights are still full and clients are coming back with amazing stories, and photos, to share. This is life on the Big Island of Hawaii. We flow with the punches here, but our helicopter and fixed-wing sightseeing tours, even now, are more popular and more in demand than ever.