Haleakala Sunrise Tour nene

Hover next to plunging waterfalls aboard the Whisper Star

Haleakala Sunrise Tour nene

Experience the coastline in state-of-the-art helicpters

Haleakala Sunrise Tour nene

Enjoy the ride in their First Class seating!

Haleakala Sunrise Tour nene

Glide over rugged towering sea cliffs of Maui & Molokai!

Haleakala Sunrise Tour nene

Soar above tropical rainforests with vibrant green valleys

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Aboard the Whisper STAR with Sunshine Helicopters, you will soar above the Valley Isle. The extinct West Maui Mountains, and the dormant volcano, Haleakala, created Maui two million years ago. Haleakala (literally “house of the sun”) sits 10,023 feet above sea level, and is a massive lunar-like crater with pure iron oxide cinder cones towering over 1,100 feet tall. On this flight you will glide over Kaupo and Ko’olau Gaps, where lava flowed from the crater to the sea.

Gaze upon Hana’s almost uninhabited backside, Lindberg’s grave, and the Seven Pools. The Hana Rain Forest is the large largest tropical rain forest in the country, and extends for over 180 square miles along north coast of Maui.

The rolling waterfalls and lush green valleys make West Maui one of the wettest places on earth. If the weather permits, the tour’s highlights include: Maui’s tallest waterfall with over 1,100 foot drop, “Honokohau Falls”, and the Wall of Tears with over 17 waterfalls flowing simultaneously. Along the West Maui coastline, you will also see the expansive resorts of Kaanapali and Kapalua, and the quaint historic whaling harbor, Old Lahaina Town. Experience the verdant valleys of Launiupoko, Olowalu and Ukumehame. And gaze upon central Maui’s pineapple and sugarcane fields.

First Class Seating: Passengers will sit in the front besides the pilot, and will have extra arm and leg room. Only 2 First Class passengers per flight. On the Whisper STAR First Class, a maximum combined weight for two passengers is 490 lbs. After submitting your reservation, you may request First Class Seating after filling out the passenger manifest.

Hana & Haleakala

On this 40-50 minute flight, you will experience sites of Old Hana Town, Haleakala, Kipahulu, Haleakala National Park, the taro field of Ke’anae, awe-inspiring waterfalls along the coastline and the world famous Ho’okipa windsurfing beach on the return. During the months of December thru April, you can experience the great humpback whales!

Maui Circle

This exciting flight combines Hana, Haleakala, and West Maui sites. The 60-70 minutes tour includes views of Haleakala National Park, Old Hana Town, the taro field of Ke’anae, Kipahulu, waterfalls along the coast and the world famous Ho’okipa windsurfing beach on the way back. Whale watching during the months of December thru April.

Molokai Deluxe

On this 55-65 minute flight, you will experience highlights of West Maui. Then you cross Pailolo channel between Maui’s northwestern shore and Molokai’s eastern coastline, and you can whale watch (when in season). Soar to Molokai’s remote and isolated north shore, and see the tallest sea cliffs in the world. Glide above Hawaii’s tallest waterfalls, including the 1,750 foot Kahiwa Falls, and experience Halawa Valley with two cascading waterfalls. Also, discover where a settlement was for people suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy) on Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula, and see Father Damien’s monument.

General Information
Schedule: Daily from 7:30am to 4pm

Reservations: Book early in advance to get morning flight times.

Check In: Kahului Heliport

GPS: 107 Airport Road,  Kahului, HI 96732 Click to view map

Aircraft: Whisper STAR

Capacity: 6

Restrictions: For passengers who weigh between 240-290 pounds, we recommend open seating on the Whisper STAR. If you are over 290 pounds you may require an additional comfort seat in the Whisper STAR. This policy is necessary because helicopters have limited internal space and overall passenger weights must be calculated prior to take-off to ensure that the vehicle’s limitations are not exceeded. FAA regulations require all passengers and their carry-on items to be weighed at time of check-in. CALL US with questions.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours before the start of the event.

sunshine helicopters
Hover along towering waterfalls!
sunshine helicopters
Soar past the tallest sea cliffs in the world

CSunshine Helicoptersruise Ship Passengers

NCL cruise ship passengers are able to fly with Sunshine Helicopters on either day when they are in port in Kahului. This requires a very short cab ride of 5 minutes or less.

 

Lahaina cruise ship passengers can also fly, but they will need a rental car as the drive to the Kahului Airport takes an hour. We can arrange car rentals for $39 per day. Be sure to see our Kauai Helicopter Tour page also. For rental cars with cruise ship shuttle pick-up see our rental car page.

Activity Tips

Kevin Ditamore – Owner / Manager

It never ceases to amaze me that people spend thousands of dollars to come to Hawaii, but think it is too expensive to spend another $200-$250 to REALLY see the islands from a helicopter. There is so much beauty that you cannot see any other way. Do yourself a favor and SPLURGE! You will thank me.

Flying in a helicopter is like riding a magic carpet. They are much more stable than twin engine planes … motion sickness is seldom an issue for anyone. They cut through the wind like a knife. Thrill seekers may wish for a more roller coaster-like experience but the pilots fly a very gentle pattern. Don’t expect plunging drops and steeply banked turns.

The best time for helicopter tours (as a rule) is in the morning hours, as cloud cover tends to get thicker throughout the afternoon. Don’t feel badly if it looks cloudy just before your flight though … helicopters can fly just under the cloud ceiling, which typically is around 4,000 feet. Clouds and rain can add an element of mystical mystery. Check out some of the waterfall photos for an example.

All helicopter tours leave from the Kahului Heliport. Plan on a 45 minute drive from Lahaina / Kaanapali Resorts, 60 minutes from Kapalua, 30 minutes from Kihei and 45 minutes from Wailea. Save yourself some driving … consider planning the helicopter tour for early morning on the day that you drive to Hana.

Wear dark clothing for your helicopter flight. A light colored shirt will cause a reflection on the windows … you won’t notice it during your flight, but it shows up like crazy in any pictures you take. A polarizing filter on the front of your camera will also help remove window glare (and greatly improve pictures that you take of the ocean too).

A note about weight restrictions. Almost all companies in Hawaii charge extra for heavier passengers. This is not a matter of discrimination toward larger guests … it is a business reality due to the spatial limitations of the passenger compartment. The cost and profit margins of the helicopter companies is based upon their helicopters flying with every seat occupied. If the helicopter holds 6 passengers and the size of a guest means that they can only comfortably seat 5, they are losing money. The “comfort seat” is exactly that … it really does make everyone more comfortable. It also ensures that the helicopter’s overall weight capacity is not exceeded, which makes this a SAFETY CONCERN as well. For each company’s exact “comfort seat” policy and charges, see the weight restriction link under each company’s description.

Most tour helicopters on Maui are Eurocopter A-STAR’s … the seating configuration in each is the same. Two passengers sit up front with the pilot and four sit in the second row. People often say to me, “But the two people in the back seat don’t get a window seat.” True, but visibility from these helicopters is excellent … you really get a 180 degree view no matter where you sit. Yes, yes, it is cool to sit up front. But I like to describe the entire experience as sitting in a flying theatre. By the way, you don’t get to decide where you sit, or pay extra for a front seat. FAA requirements dictate who sits where based upon body weight. I once had a couple that was so adamant about sitting up front that they paid for all six seats. If you are made of money, go for it!!! We’ll be glad to set you up!

Air Maui produces a live DVD video of your flight which is available for purchase after your flight. A five-camera system allows the pilot to edit a video “on the fly” including shots inside the cabin so your relatives back home can see your reactions during the flight. The quality of these videos is not as high as professionally shot stock videos but it makes a great souvenir.

My favorite flight is the West Maui / Molokai flight, which is available in a 45 minute and a 60 minute version with Air Maui. I am less crazy about the 45 minute Hana / Haleakala flight. It takes a lot of time to climb to 10,000 feet and take a peak into the crater, which has severely restricted air space. Then the rest of the flight seems to rush by.  You get a similar view of Haleakala if you drive to the 10,000 foot summit yourself.

If you are interested in an another East Maui Helicopter adventure, check out our Hana Helicopter & Van Tour!

What about the active volcano? Lots of people ask about a helicopter ride from Maui over to Kilauea on the Big Island. There used to be a very expensive tour ($420) but it isn’t available any longer. It’s just too far to fly there in a helicopter. We used to book day trips where you would fly over to Hilo for the day on Hawaiian Airlines, have a rental car for the day, and then fly back later that evening. Unfortunately flight schedule cuts make this unfeasible. All flights from Maui to Hilo connect in Honolulu and you spend most of the day just flying there and back.

The best way to see Kilauea is to plan an overnight stay in Hilo. You can fly to Hilo on Hawaiian Airlines, get a rental car, do a helicopter flight, spend the night, then fly back the next day. This Kilauea Volcano package runs around $450 per person (about $260 without the helicopter flight). The advantage of this itinerary is that when you spend the night there, you can drive to the volcano and do a little hiking and view the lava at night – when it is far more spectacular!