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“More than expected”

Iolani Air Tour Co.
Ranked #82 of 201 Tours in Kailua-Kona
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Attraction details
Owner description: Now Really See Hawaii! Big Island. Lava. Waterfalls. Rain Forest. Iolani Air Tour Co. provides a safe, smooth, geographic showcase with personal window seats for better viewing. Nice to know this "once-in-a-lifetime" experience won't take a lifetime to pay for either.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Rock Creek
Level Contributor
101 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“More than expected”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

We wanted to do an air tour over the active area of the volcano. After looking at the route the various helicopter companies use, and having hiked out on the lava flow and seen them from the ground, we opted to go with Iolani. As it turned out there was just the two of us, and Captain Dale. The aircraft was a 172 so we both sat on the same side. Although the weather was not optimal, there were breaks in the clouds at the actual vent. Where the laval flows into the sea was clear of cloud, so we had an excellent view. We did not do the "round the island" tour, just the volcano tour, but this was great. Good views between Hilo and the volcano and a great narrative from Captain Dale. I own and fly a 172 and we were ready for the light plane bounce - but the air was very still, so we had a bump-free ride. I'm sure the helicopter tours are good as well, but they have further to travel and they seemed to make one pass each side and then zoom off. In contrast, we circled at least four times at the vent and at the lava entry to the ocean - great trip.

Visited January 2013
Thank wegetaround_42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Truly a must do on your visit to Kona - our pilot Tim is the best!”
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Absolutely beautiful and very informative. We got to go all the way around the island and see what we have read so much about. Tim will keep you informed with interesting facts and stories about the sights while making the flight comfortable. Always making certain everyone has their needs met. A wonderful way to spend a few hours. Try to fit it in at the beginning of your trip as the knowledge you will gain can help you plan the rest of your trip.

Visited February 2013
Thank Chris L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“We highly recommend Iolani Air!”
Reviewed February 17, 2013

On February 3, 2013 my wife and I did the Deluxe Tour for 2 with Iolani Air. We choose to do this tour because it's more of a personalized tour, and gave us the opportunity to circle the entire island starting out from the Kona area where we were staying. Also, although I don't personally have anything against helicopters, this was much more affordable for 2 1/2 hours worth, and is safer.

Our pilot and tour guide was Tim, and we hit it off right from the start as Tim is such a likeable kind of guy. It was nice that he asked us before we took off if there was anything in particular we would like to see. Never had we been asked that before on other fixed wing or helicopter tours we had taken, but again thats why we chose this one, for that freedom to have some input.

The plane we flew was a trusty high wing Cessna 172. It looked brand new inside and out. I took a small map with me so I could follow along our route on it, but as it turned out I didn't need to because this aircraft is equipped with modern avionics (ie glass cockpit) that you could easilly follow our flightpath from the large overhead map display right on the dash board.

The flight itself was just spectacular and started out with us seeing Humpbacks and dolphins right away. Soon we were flying over the Sheraton Keauhou Bay and Tim surprised us with a nice 360 over the resort so we could take some wonderful overhead pictures of where we were staying. This was a nice bonus for us because that area is so historical and scenic. I suspect If we had taken a group tour in the larger plane, the tour would not have had the time to circle everybody's hotel for pictures, again one of the benefits of the Deluxe Tour for 2. Fortunately for us the weather was co-operating this day and Tim was able to take us to the South Point and over the Green Sand Beach. He knew that this was something we wanted to see and take some pictures of, but sometimes the weather does not permit or make for a comfortable ride due to the strong winds, but this was our lucky day. As we got there Tim had tilted the plane so we could really see the beauty of this place and take some fantastic pics. Further up the coast we saw several places where Lava was flowing out over the cliffs into the ocean. Then Tim took us over the area of the Volcano that had the large crater with several cones in it. Inside those cones we could see the molten lava flowing/bubbling/boiling etc and one time it even spilled up and out of the top of the cone. Words can't really describe how awesome this was to see. In fact it was so good we did 3 passes or 360's around this and even Tim was very impressed and he see's this regulary. Another intersting area was seeing the devistation caused to the communites that had been overtaken by the lava in past years, and seeing people moving back to and rebuilding in these communities.

Moving on we passed a multitude of of waterfalls along the Hilo and Hamakua Coast and of course the amazing valleys of North Kahala. If that wasn't enough, the whales decided to put on a spectacular show for us on both sides of the airplane along the Kohala coast for our final approach into the Kona airport. We saw several breach and it was quite a sight to see from above in the air.

In summary we had a spectacular flight, the aircraft was great (and actually a little more roomy than the Air Vans we have been in before with their smaller seats and more people). Tim was an excellent pilot and knowledgeable tour guide and we learned a lot from him. In our opinion Iolani Air was a first rate company that deserves this review.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank Uncoiler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Forest City, Iowa
2 reviews
“Highlight of the trip!”
Reviewed February 3, 2013

This was an awesome tour and really glad we did it! Tim, our pilot was great and had great information and was fun to listen to. Highly recommend!

Visited February 2013
Thank tseeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon ,sk
1 review
“definately a highlite”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Ronda was our pilot from Kona. She was personable and fun. We circled the island for 2.5 hours. She was extremely knowledgable and accommodating. Checked out different beaches, whales with babies, lava into the ocean as well as the pot of molten lava and the waterfalls. Our group of 7 had fun. Very accommodating on additional requests for better pictures etc. I would recommend doing this tour at the beginning of the vacation so you can make your list of places to see on foot.

Visited January 2013
Thank ungerosler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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