Oahu helicopter tours are one of the must-do activities for anyone visiting Hawaii. Oahu is the most populated island in Hawaii and is also home of the capital city Honolulu, tourist-favorite Waikiki, and surfer mecca North Shore. What better way to take in the beautiful scenery of this lush island than with a circle-island helicopter tour of Oahu!

Helicopter tours can be a major commitment, though, as flights are costly and have many different factors to consider. As such, it can be difficult to pick one of the many flight options available in Oahu. Where does a just-landed visitor to the island even begin?


We’ve written this article to be your guide to Oahu helicopter tours, listing the top helicopter tour companies on the island. We’ll compare different flight routes, go into detail about exclusive landing options, discuss the difference between flying in the morning versus the afternoon, and list the different departure locations for helicopter tours in Oahu. Read on to find out more about the best Oahu helicopter tours near you!

The Top Three: The Best Helicopter Tours in Oahu

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Blue-HawaiianOahu’s top helicopter tour company is Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, soaring through the skies daily in their signature blue-and-white Eco-Star aircraft.

Featuring expansive glass viewing windows for panoramic views as well as comfortable and spacious seating for up to six passengers, the Eco-Star is the premier modern touring helicopter. Specifically designed for passenger air tours, the Eco-Star helicopter has an exceptional safety rating and offers an incredibly smooth flight.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is the leading helicopter tour company in the islands since 1985. In addition, every pilot working for Blue Hawaiian is carefully selected from the top candidates in the industry. Their pilots are all certified as State of Hawaii Tour Guides, so you know you’ll have an amazing air tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

The most popular helicopter tour on Oahu offered by Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is their 1-hour circle island flight. Offering the best views of the top attractions in Oahu, this 60-minute air tour takes you over Waikiki, Diamond Head Crater, Pearl Harbor, North Shore Beaches, and even Sacred Falls!

One great thing about this flight is that the helicopter flies with a video camera. Right after you land, you can purchase a DVD video of your flight. Buying the video also means that you won’t have to worry about taking pictures or videos yourself, which means you can spend more time just taking in the sights.

Circle-island tours are popular choices for visitors, as they’re a quick way to get amazing views of the entire island. They also make for a great introduction to Oahu: orient yourself from the air before exploring the island on land tours.

Magnum Helicopters

MagnumFor fans of the classic TV show Magnum P.I., this doors-off helicopter flight by the aptly-named Magnum Helicopters will be a nostalgic treat. Magnum Helicopters has rebuilt an MD-500 aircraft to closely resemble the iconic Hughes 500D from the television show, giving you the chance to recreate classic scenes over Hawaii!

See Oahu’s top sites from a doors-off ride in this iconic helicopter, taking in unobstructed views of the island. Fly over Waikiki & Diamond Head, Kaneohe Bay & Chinaman’s Hat, and Pearl Harbor & the USS Arizona Memorial on this 50-minute circle island tour.

Flying doors-off is a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be intimidating for a lot of people. If you don’t fly often, the prospect of flying with nothing but a seat-belt keeping you in the aircraft can be daunting, to say the least.

But flying in a helicopter with the doors off is a unique way to see Oahu. Not having to look out a window makes you feel closer to the beauty of the island as you fly around. And, just like doors-on helicopter tours, you’ll be safely strapped in to the aircraft using a chest harness, and the pilot will place your safety as their utmost concern.

For adventure-minded travelers who want a bit more excitement in their Hawaii vacation, a doors-off helicopter flight is definitely the way to go. Just remember to bring a wrist strap for your camera. If you’re a fan of Magnum P.I., this is one tour you don’t want to miss!

Paradise Helicopters

ParadiseParadise Helicopters offers a variety of helicopter tours around Oahu as well as the Big Island. Unlike the other helicopter operators on the island, Paradise doesn’t take off from Honolulu International Airport. Instead, they offer service from helipads at two major resorts: Ko Olina in West Oahu, and Turtle Bay on the North Shore.

For those staying at these resorts, this convenient departure makes Paradise Helicopters the perfect option for helicopter tours in Oahu.

In addition to the must-do circle-island Oahu helicopter tour, they also offer a variety of unique flights for those who have already been in a helicopter.

A beautiful experience is their sunset helicopter rides, departing from both Turtle Bay and Ko Olina. Depart in the early evening to watch from the sky as the sun sinks below the horizon. The island’s beauty will glow during the golden hour before sunset, making it the best time to fly if you wanted to take aerial photographs of Oahu.

Paradise Helicopters also offers tours on the iconic Magnum P.I. helicopter, but with an added twist: an exclusive helicopter landing at the famous Kualoa Ranch!

This amazing aerial adventure includes a doors-off scenic flight along Oahu’s east coast, a helicopter landing experience at Kualoa Ranch, and a special Magnum P.I.-themed flight route. See popular Oahu attractions such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and the North Shore. Then, land at an exclusive site in the famous Kualoa Ranch for beautiful views of Kaaawa Valley. Lastly, fly the exact same flight route seen in the opening sequence of Magnum P.I.!


 Helicopter Company  Aircraft  Depart Location  Pick-up  Landing  Passengers
 Magnum  Doors-off | Hughes “Magnum” MD- 500  Honolulu Airport  From Waikiki  No  4
 Blue Hawaiian Helicopter  Doors-on | Eco Star  Honolulu Airport  From Waikiki  No  6
 Paradise Helicopter  Doors-on | Bell 407  Ko Olina – Kalaeloa Airport  From Ko Olina  No  6
 Paradise Helicopter  Doors-off | Hughes “Magnum” 500  North Shore – Turtle Bay  No  Optional  4

Frequently Asked Questions about Oahu Helicopter Tours

Are Hawaii helicopter tours worth the cost?

Yes! While they can be costly, helicopter tours are a unique way to see the island. Due to the relatively small size of most Hawaiian islands, you can see quite a lot of the area in a very short time.

Circle-island helicopter tours in Oahu only take about an hour, but allow you to circumnavigate most of the island! Helicopter tours also allow you to go and see places otherwise unreachable by foot. Lastly, some beautiful areas can only be truly appreciated from the air. See the reefs and sandbars of Kaneohe Bay as you fly over and explore the deep valleys of East Oahu.


Should I take an Oahu helicopter tour if I get motion sick?

Motion sickness can certainly be a problem on helicopter flights, but there are a few ways to deal with it.

Dramamine is an effective motion sickness preventative. However, it’s important to remember to take it an hour before your flight. If you’re really worried, it may be a good idea to take a dose the night before your flight. We also recommend looking for a non-drowsy formula.

Make sure you also tell your pilot if you are prone to motion sickness. Although all touring pilots take care to make things as comfortable as possible, having them be aware will allow them to take extra precautions to ensure that you experience as little turbulence as possible.

Lastly, your seating in the helicopter can make a difference as to how you feel during the flight. Passengers report feeling less motion sick in the front seat next to the pilot, so consider upgrading if possible.

In addition, try to opt for forward-facing seats. While most helicopters feature only seating that is front-facing, the Bell 407 used by Paradise Helicopters also features bench-style seats that face backwards. While the view from these are still great, people who get motion sick tend to have a worse time in these seats.

Are helicopter tours in Oahu safe?

While flight poses an inherent risk, the vast majority of visitors to Oahu that have flown in a helicopter have landed safely.

All helicopter tour companies in Hawaii need to adhere to stick to strict Federal Aviation Administration regulations in order to operate. This includes high standards for aircraft piloting and maintenance. Pilots need to undergo thorough training in order to fly air tours, including training on mountain flying techniques, dealing with island-specific weather, route and terrain knowledge, and site-specific tour training, among various other skills.

In addition, HawaiiActivities.com does a thorough background check on the tour operators that we choose to work with. All helicopter companies promoted on our website have a good safety record and a clean track record of running business in the islands.


Why is there a weight limit for a helicopter flight? What’s the limit in Oahu?

As a small aircraft, helicopters have a strict limitation on passenger weight. In addition to the capacity limit of the helicopter, the distribution of weight among seats needs to be adjusted to ensure a stable flight.

If weight isn’t properly balanced, the helicopter may list or veer, which could prove deadly under the wrong conditions. Sadly, this means that you can’t choose your seats on the flight, as they are pre-arranged according to weight balance for safety reasons.

If you weigh 250 lbs (113 kg) or less, you have nothing to worry about, as the majority of helicopters on Oahu can accommodate you without issue. The Blue Hawaiian Eco-Star helicopters allow for passengers up to 260 lbs (118 kg). Paradise Helicopters’ Bell 407 craft allow up to 265 lbs (120 kg).

If you weigh over the weight limit of the specific helicopter, you’ll usually still be able to fly. However, you’ll be charged a capacity surcharge, which can often be the cost of an extra seat.

Do I have to tip the helicopter pilot?

Like with most tours in Hawaii, tipping isn’t required, but is always appreciated! Pilots often go the extra mile to ensure that the flight is enjoyable for their passengers, so it’s a good idea to show them how grateful you are with a tip.

We hope this article helped you select a helicopter tour in Oahu and that you enjoy your flight around the island!