• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Coast Guard Searching for Helicopter Tour off Kauai Coast

slip

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
11,564
Reaction score
15,553
Location
U'alapue/Kaunakakai, Hawaii
Resorts Owned
Pono Kai, 20 wks; Maui Schooner, 1.5 wks; 1 week Ke Nani Kai; WaveCrest Condo, Molokai, HI
I just saw this now when I got up for work.
 

clifffaith

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
5,856
Reaction score
7,500
Location
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Resorts Owned
Worldmark
I saw this on the news this morning. Took me a minute to realize that the helicopter disappeared yesterday so that if there is any floating debris with survivors clinging to it they've been in the water over night. Doesn't look good.
 

BDMX2

TUG Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
332
Reaction score
216
Location
CT
Resorts Owned
Wyndham Santa Barbara
Wyndham Bonnet Creek
I saw this on the news this morning. Took me a minute to realize that the helicopter disappeared yesterday so that if there is any floating debris with survivors clinging to it they've been in the water over night. Doesn't look good.

Yeah, I'm trying to be hopeful and optimistic for a miraculous outcome, but it sure doesn't look terribly promising as time passes.
 

BDMX2

TUG Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
332
Reaction score
216
Location
CT
Resorts Owned
Wyndham Santa Barbara
Wyndham Bonnet Creek
Sad update, thanks for posting the link @slip
 

tompalm

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
2,073
Reaction score
347
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii

Here is the latest posted below. But the bottom line is, if the weather is bad, don’t go. It is still to early to say what happened. But most of the time in accidents like this, it is a result of aircraft flying low level through the clouds and hitting a mountain. It happens about once a year in Hawaii. Pilots think they know where they are, but with strong wind, the aircraft is pushed off course and they impact land. Hopefully I am wrong, but I would never go up on days with bad weather.

from the link above
Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center Honolulu, said weather conditions in the search area were “challenging" with low visibility and blustery winds.
————

Wreckage of tour helicopter carrying 7 found in Hawaii


Two of those aboard the helicopter are believed to be minors.


Wreckage from a missing tour helicopter carrying seven passengers has been found, police on the Hawaiian island of Kauai said Friday afternoon.


The wreckage was located in Kokee, near Nualolo, about 9:30 a.m., said Battalion Chief Solomon Kanoho of the Kauai County Fire Department. The remote area is along the north coast of the island.


"Our ground and air crews continue to search for survivors," he said. "We still hold up hope."


He said the passengers were connected to "two different sets of family members."


The U.S. Coast Guard had been searching Friday for the "overdue" tour helicopter carrying seven people, two believed to be minors, that went missing Thursday night off the coast of Hawaii.


The helicopter, which was touring Kauai's Napali Coast, had been due back at 5:21 p.m. Thursday.


Kanoho said 25-knot winds were blowing before the crash, but the cause of the crash was unknown. The National Transportation Safety Board was sending three investigators.


Gov. David Ige offered to deploy state resources for the search effort, and Kauai Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said in a statement that "we are doing everything we can at this time."


Kauai is an island west of Oahu, which is where Honolulu is located.


The aircraft was equipped with an electronic locator, but no signals had been received, according to the Coast Guard.
 
Last edited:

Carol C

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
3,875
Reaction score
266
Location
USA
I've been to Kauai twice and was keen on the helicopter tour...but the last visit the weather was so bad we were socked in for most of the week. The tour company knew we wanted so badly to go, but they were erring on the side of caution. Toward the end of our timeshare week, the bad weather broke and we got on our copter tour and enjoyed it. I would never go during bad weather, only crystal clear conditions...and I think the tour companies are also cautious (but tourists can be very demanding, and $ could be offered as an extra "incentive" to go even in less than desirable flight conditions.) It's really too bad, this recent accident...so tragic, for all parties.
 

slip

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
11,564
Reaction score
15,553
Location
U'alapue/Kaunakakai, Hawaii
Resorts Owned
Pono Kai, 20 wks; Maui Schooner, 1.5 wks; 1 week Ke Nani Kai; WaveCrest Condo, Molokai, HI
I just read that 6 of the 7’s remains were found.
 

Passepartout

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
28,759
Reaction score
17,653
Location
Twin Falls, Eye-Duh-Hoe
Far too early to assign blame. Accidents happen. This company has a flawless 30 year safety record and the pilot was highly experienced. May all the victims families find peace. R.I.P.
 

tompalm

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
2,073
Reaction score
347
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Congressman calls for stricter regulations on tour helicopters amid third fatal crash this year
TOP STORIES
by: Jenn Boneza
Posted: Dec 27, 2019 / 05:39 PM HST / Updated: Dec 27, 2019 / 06:16 PM HST


HONOLULU(KHON2)–Tour helicopters and small aircraft operations are downright dangerous according to Congressman Ed Case. He said the lack of regulation in the industry is causing deaths that could be prevented after the latest fatal crash on Kauai.
“The bottom line is tour helicopters and small aircraft are not safe,” Case said after the wreckage of the helicopter missing since Thursday evening was found in Koke’e on Kauai.
It’s the third fatal crash in Hawaii this year.
Case said enough is enough.
“I’m angry about it because we just lost more lives.”
On April 29th, a tour helicopter crashed in a busy residential Kailua neighborhood killing the three passengers.
June 21st a skydiving plane went down in Mokuleia killing all 11 onboard.
There were seven people onboard the Safari Helicopter in Kauai that crashed Thursday.
“For us to just sit here and chalk these seven lives up to lives lost, 21 lives lost in Hawaii this year alone, and not think that something is dreadfully wrong–that’s just putting your head in the sand,” Case said.
Case introduced his Safe and Quiet Skies Act (HR 4547) in September in an effort to make the tour helicopter and small aircraft industry safer through stiffer regulation.
One of the things he is pushing for is the ‘sterile cockpit rule’, which requires pilots to focus only on flying.
Case said they should not be guiding a tour in the sky or operating video cameras while flying.
“I don’t think any pilot should be doing anything other than piloting the aircraft and assuring safety.”
And that’s just one concern of many according to Case. Another issue is the flight path of many tours.
“We have thousands of flights every year over hundreds of thousands of households throghout Hawaii by tour helicoters. They fly directly over our residential communities. Any one of those helicopters could drop out of the sky,” Case explained.
That is exactly what happened in the Kailua crash in April. The Robinson R-44 tour helicopter crashed on Oneawa Street, narrowly missing homes. Had the aircraft crashed just 30 minutes earlier it would have likely fallen on morning commuters in traffic trying to get to work or school.
“Nobody has the right to operate public airspace in a way that jeapardizes the folks on those flights and the folks on the ground.”
Case said his legislation is necessary to force the industry to shape up.
“I have absolutely no faith in this industry’s ability to recognize the real problem that they have created…They’ve shown no good faith effort whatsoever recognizing the problem or doing anything about it,” Case said.

In a statement the FAA said:
“Safety is the FAA’s top priority. The agency conducts random and regular surveillance on all Hawaii air tour operators, and ensures companies address any issues they may find. The FAA has not identified issues of concern that are applicable to the industry statewide. The FAA’s air tour regulations include requirements that are specific to Hawaii operations. Please see Appendix A of this link: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=8a05d92e27d189ba3bb7032d21a42302&mc=true&node=pt14.3.136&rgn=div5
 

JIMinNC

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,909
Reaction score
4,471
Location
Marvin, NC (Charlotte) & Hilton Head Island, SC
Resorts Owned
Marriott:
Maui Ocean Club
Waiohai Beach Club
Barony Beach Club
Abound ClubPoints
HGVC:
HGVC at Sea World
The FAA could elect to regulate smaller commercial operations to the same safety standards as a regular Part 121 airline, but then that segment of commercial aviation would likely be regulated out of existence. The three accidents the congressman references above will likely prove to have three separate and unrelated causes. While safety is the FAA’s top priority, they do have a statutory requirement to consider the economic impact of any regulations they promulgate.
 

tompalm

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
2,073
Reaction score
347
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
The FAA could elect to regulate smaller commercial operations to the same safety standards as a regular Part 121 airline, but then that segment of commercial aviation would likely be regulated out of existence. The three accidents the congressman references above will likely prove to have three separate and unrelated causes. While safety is the FAA’s top priority, they do have a statutory requirement to consider the economic impact of any regulations they promulgate.
They could be doing more, like pretending to be a passenger and going on flights when the weather is bad. Once they violate a couple pilots, the word will get out and pilots will follow the VFR rules.
 

JIMinNC

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,909
Reaction score
4,471
Location
Marvin, NC (Charlotte) & Hilton Head Island, SC
Resorts Owned
Marriott:
Maui Ocean Club
Waiohai Beach Club
Barony Beach Club
Abound ClubPoints
HGVC:
HGVC at Sea World
They could be doing more, like pretending to be a passenger and going on flights when the weather is bad. Once they violate a couple pilots, the word will get out and pilots will follow the VFR rules.

I like that “secret shopper” idea, but the practical issue, particularly in a more remote location like Hawaii, would be protecting the identity of the FAA inspector. There are only so many qualified individuals in any locale, and it might not take that long for their identities to become known to local operators.
 

lifesabeach101

TUG Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
9
Location
Auburn, CA
Resorts Owned
River Point, Napa, CA 2 bedroom.

Ocean Landings sleep 2 (2 weeks).
I've been to Kauai twice and was keen on the helicopter tour...but the last visit the weather was so bad we were socked in for most of the week. The tour company knew we wanted so badly to go, but they were erring on the side of caution. Toward the end of our timeshare week, the bad weather broke and we got on our copter tour and enjoyed it. I would never go during bad weather, only crystal clear conditions...and I think the tour companies are also cautious (but tourists can be very demanding, and $ could be offered as an extra "incentive" to go even in less than desirable flight conditions.) It's really too bad, this recent accident...so tragic, for all parties.
we went on a pontoon boat from Maui to Lanai and the weather got so bad it was scary. all the people below deck were throwing up. I located the lifejackets and stayed next to them just on case. it was scarier staying above deck but I felt safer then below.

The boat ended up turning around and going back to Maui.

The weather can turn very quickly.

The poor prople probally ran into some very bad weather on the helicopter.
 

NTP66

TUG Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
834
Reaction score
310
Resorts Owned
Marriott's Maui Ocean Club (x2)
My wife and I went on a West Maui/Molokai helicopter tour back in 2011, I believe. Loved every part of it, especially flying over Molokai and seeing the bottom just drop out from under you. The following year, a different company doing the same tour - one which my friend was actually supposed to be on but backed out at the last minute - crashed, killing all on board. I wouldn't do another helicopter tour ever again, personally.
 

tompalm

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
2,073
Reaction score
347
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Cause of Kauai helicopter crash still uncertain
The cause of last Thursday's deadly helicopter crash on Kauai has yet to be determined.
Monday, December 30th 2019, 5:35 PM HST by KITV Web Staff
The cause of last Thursday's deadly helicopter crash on Kauai has yet to be determined.

Local pilot and aviation lawyer Richard Fried believes the training guidelines for helicopter pilots are not the issue.

"They have to have an initial ground training, they have to have a certified pilot, they actually have to fly over the specific area they’re going to fly," said Fried.

He also cites a Federal Aviation Administration document outlining specific guidelines for tour helicopter pilots in Hawaii.


"Every island has very specific rules which these guys are supposed to follow," he explained.

"People say [companies] are running around without guidance or control. That’s not accurate. The rules are there and if they’re followed there would be a significantly, in my view, less likelihood of crashes happening," Fried added.

Fried claims he's represented almost 50 victims of aircraft crashes in Hawaii in the past 50 years, including some on Kauai.

"I’ve had well over 6 helicopter crash cases involving this specific area. Almost all pilot error," Fried said.
 

tompalm

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
2,073
Reaction score
347
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii helicopter crash: Here are questions consumers should ask before booking a tour


7:00 pm EST Dec. 30, 2019


A tour helicopter that crashed in Hawaii last week may have been doomed by rugged terrain and rapidly changing weather conditions, a pilot and aviation attorney said.


The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Thursday's crash, in a remote part of the island of Kauai. The pilot and six passengers were killed and recovery efforts have been suspended.


Ladd Sanger, a helicopter pilot and attorney who's worked on previous crashes of tour helicopters, said the area can pose challenges for even the most seasoned pilots.


"The topography is amazing," he said. "Really, the only way for a person to see it is from an airplane or a helicopter."


Though the scenery is breathtaking, viewing it comes at a risk. Sanger, who's flown the same tour of Kauai's Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, said the ruggedness of the terrain makes it all but impossible to make an emergency landing.


"There is not a level surface that isn’t covered with vegetation," he said.


Hawaii helicopter crash: Police confirm pilot, six passengers died


He added that the weather conditions are all but impossible to know before taking off, and pilots may encounter unexpected clouds or winds. Making matters worse, conditions can change rapidly in just a few miles or in a difference of a few thousand feet of elevation.


"These clouds can form in no time at all," he said. "You don’t know that from the airport."


Sanger said that tour operators and pilots should have more discretion to cancel when the conditions aren't favorable. And if customers don't feel comfortable flying, they should voice their concerns to the tour operator.


"Consumers have a vote in this, too," he said. "Speak up. Say, 'I don’t want to continue.' "


The question you should ask before you fly


Sanger said customers should ask whether the company operates a single-engine or dual-engine helicopter. A dual-engine helicopter is better in an emergency, he said, since one can operate if the other fails.


He added that if it's cloudy and windy, that might be a sign that it isn't safe to go.


Besides, he said, poor weather conditions can make tours less enjoyable.


"You want a smooth ride and you want to be able to see things," Sanger said. "For the customer, why even take the chance?
 

JIMinNC

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,909
Reaction score
4,471
Location
Marvin, NC (Charlotte) & Hilton Head Island, SC
Resorts Owned
Marriott:
Maui Ocean Club
Waiohai Beach Club
Barony Beach Club
Abound ClubPoints
HGVC:
HGVC at Sea World
For what it's worth, I think it's important to point out that in both of the articles just above, the two experts - Fried and Sanger - are both aviation attorneys. Most of these folks make their living by suing aircraft manufacturers, aircraft operators, aircraft maintenance shops, and aircraft parts suppliers - whomever is deemed to have the deepest pockets - after accidents like the one on Kauai. So their commentary should be looked at in that context.

As an aviation-oriented journalist myself, after any high-profile accident, my inbox is peppered with emails from PR firms offering up their aviation attorney clients as "experts" to comment on the accident. Commenting as experts in news articles is one major way these guys build their brands and promote their litigation businesses. I'm not saying that makes their comments invalid, but I do think their comments should be read in the context of their role in the tort side of these accidents. Their focus is often more about "who to blame" than "what is the root cause."
 

Kapolei

Guest
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
519
Reaction score
357
News report out today says pilot not instrument rated.

I am afraid that the NTSB will have one sentence that sums up the cause of the crash. This will not be the first time this has happened. Standards will need to be changed for tourist flights. I will not go up in one of these.
 

klpca

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
8,435
Reaction score
7,574
Location
CA
Resorts Owned
SDO, Quarter House, Seapointe, Coronado Beach, Carlsbad Inn, Worldmark
With respect to the topography and the visibility issues, we have hiked pretty extensively in Koke'e State Park, near the location of the crash. Especially along the coast, you can have amazing views one moment, and in just a few minutes see nothing but clouds. It happens surprisingly fast. I have videos where you just watch everything disappear. What a terrible tragedy to be flying in a helicopter when that happened.
 

JIMinNC

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,909
Reaction score
4,471
Location
Marvin, NC (Charlotte) & Hilton Head Island, SC
Resorts Owned
Marriott:
Maui Ocean Club
Waiohai Beach Club
Barony Beach Club
Abound ClubPoints
HGVC:
HGVC at Sea World
News report out today says pilot not instrument rated.

I am afraid that the NTSB will have one sentence that sums up the cause of the crash. This will not be the first time this has happened. Standards will need to be changed for tourist flights. I will not go up in one of these.

Frankly, an instrument rating would be of little help for tour operations like these as they all must operate in Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Even if an instrument rated pilot was flying the helicopter and accidentally entered Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) - aka clouds - in the areas along the Napili coast you are operating so close to the terrain that operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) would be virtually impossible for even a skilled instrument rated pilot. In this type of operation, the ONLY safe course is to remain VFR at all times since the terrain is so close. I suspect that an instrument rated pilot would likely not have made much of a difference if the ultimate cause is proven to be VFR flight into IMC conditions and subsequent impact with terrain.

I will also point out that thousands of these air tour flights happen safely every year. I don't let fear of an automobile crash cause me to opt not to drive, so the low probability of a helicopter accident will not deter me from doing these tours in the future.
 

Kapolei

Guest
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
519
Reaction score
357
Frankly, an instrument rating would be of little help for tour operations like these as they all must operate in Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Even if an instrument rated pilot was flying the helicopter and accidentally entered Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) - aka clouds - in the areas along the Napili coast you are operating so close to the terrain that operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) would be virtually impossible for even a skilled instrument rated pilot. In this type of operation, the ONLY safe course is to remain VFR at all times since the terrain is so close. I suspect that an instrument rated pilot would likely not have made much of a difference if the ultimate cause is proven to be VFR flight into IMC conditions and subsequent impact with terrain.

I will also point out that thousands of these air tour flights happen safely every year. I don't let fear of an automobile crash cause me to opt not to drive, so the low probability of a helicopter accident will not deter me from doing these tours in the future.

A local hiker in the area reported the sound of hovering, then impact. I am not a helicopter pilot, but I suspect disorientation combined with a lack of lift due to weather conditions. The bird was fully loaded.

Low probability of accident is found in commercial airliners. Too many people die in general aviation and in these tourist flights for me to call it low probability. But probability is a relative term.
 
Top