Big Island Helicopter Tour with Howard Dicus

What an exciting week it’s been!  On Monday I got to go out on the ocean with the US Navy Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and I thought that was a once in a lifetime experience.

Today, I did something that I have always wanted to do… and that is to ride in a helicopter!


I'm not jumping out of this buggah!

Fortunately, it’s Merrie Monarch week in town this week and there are a lot of folks from the media in town and I was lucky enough to be invited by the Big Island Visitors Bureau to go on a helicopter ride with Howard Dicus, his wife, and a cameraman from Hawaii News Now the “Sunrise Show”.

Posing with Howard, his wife and the camerman

Here is a short video of us lifting off:


If you haven’t seen the Big Island from the perspective of a helicopter, I highly suggest it to everyone.

One of MANY Waterfalls we saw

You see things that you never even knew existed on this island and you really get a feeling for the natural beauty of this land.

Hamakua Coast

We left at 11:45 and headed North down the Hamakua Coast.

The Mouth of the Waipio Valley

We went above and past Waipio Valley but not into the valley as the tour companies have an agreement with the residents down there to stay out of the valley.

Into a Valley

But then the next valley that wasn’t populated we actually flew into and hovered for a while.

Another Waterfall

We actually opened the doors to the helicopter so that I could get some better shots.

Valley View

The cloud cover was pretty low so we didn’t get to venture up Mauna Kea very high but it was still cool.

Had to stay below the clouds

After we got almost down to Waimea, we turned the helicopter back around and then flew back up the coast and headed straight out to Puna.

The Coastline

As we were flying towards Puna… I noticed a whale and asked about the whaling season… but what I didn’t realize until we got closer, was that it was a Momma whale and her calf which I thought was pretty special.

A Whale and her Calf

We flew over Hilo on our way out to Puna

Bayfront Hilo

We headed directly for the Halemaumau Crater and Pele was giving us a show!

Pu`u `O`o Crater

Steam Vent

Recent Lava Flow

Active Flow

We then flew over Royal Gardens and looked at the one remaining house that is still down there and someone still lives in the place still to this day despite the danger zone that he lives in.  (He’s stubborn and won’t move!)

The last remaining house in Royal Gardens

I have to admit… it’s a pretty cool house, but a 4 mile ride on a motorbike over lava kind of limits your abilities to have guests come around!

Another View of the Royal Garden House

We were up in the Helicopter for nearly 3 hours when it was time for the trip to end.  Coming back in, we flew by the Hilo Dragstrip which I had never even seen on land and our pilot remarked that it’s the only dragstrip in the world that’s in the middle of a rainforest.

Hilo Dragstrip

We got back into Hilo and I was pretty anxious to get my feet back on solid ground.  I snapped this last picture of Howard getting off the helicopter and although it looks like he’s about to puke… he was doing quite fine as he was just bracing himself from the wind from the propeller.

Getting off Helicopter

I wanted to thank Howard and his lovely wife for taking the time to show off the Big Island to folks on the news.  The episode will air sometime next week.  I’ll give folks a heads up on my blog if I find out what day the specific helicopter piece airs.

Howard, Cameraman, and Howard's Wife talk to Security Guards at the Hilo Airport

I also wanted to say thanks to the Big Island Visitors Bureau as well as Paradise Helicopter President and “Personal Pilot” for this trip, Calvin Dorn for telling us so much about the island from the air.

5 Responses

  1. It’s amazing how that fellow with the B&B in Royal Gardens continues to avoid the lava flows. It almost got him a couple of years ago, but he has the luck of the gods on his side. I flew with Paradise Helicopters on their doors off “Feel the Heat” flight a couple of years ago. You can see my photos here:

    • John,

      Next time you come back here… I think we need to arrange a helicopter/zipline excursion!

      That would be the bomb to be shuttled around to all “FOUR” Zipline Courses in one day by helicopter!.

      I say four because I guess another one has opened that I haven’t been to yet… but I doubt it will be as good as the Umauma ones we went on.

  2. Killer! How much would that cost? I know it’s several hundred bucks to take a helicopter tour but I thought that was “only” straight out to the lava and isn’t 3 hours long.

    • I didn’t pay and it was a custom tour. Not sure what it ran the BIVB but I know they sponsored a few media trips and I got to fill an empty seat.

  3. This is an awesome collection of photos and stories that show off the Big Island beautifully! As a former marine biologist, I must say the whale pic took me over the top!

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