Each year, thousands of visitors to Hawaii enjoy a bird’s eye view of the state’s beauty through sightseeing helicopters or small aircraft. These spectacular tours provide memorable experiences of a Hawaii vacation by providing access to the state’s remote mountains and valleys. Occasionally, however, what should be a memorable and fun experience goes terribly wrong.

Hawaii’s High Tour Helicopter and Small Aircraft Crash Rate

Hawaii has one of the highest tour helicopter crash rates in the nation. From 2003-2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) catalogued 36 helicopter crashes in the state, many involving tour companies. Tragically, 24 pilots and passengers were killed. In recent years, visitors to Kauai’s Kalalau Valley and Na Pali Coast, Maui’s Hana area and Iao Valley, the Big Island’s Volcano lava fields and Waipio Valley, Molokai’s stunning sea cliffs, and several locations around Oahu, have been killed or seriously injured in helicopter and small aircraft crashes. Air ambulance, air taxi, and search and rescue missions have also ended disastrously for pilots, passengers, and their families.

The Dangers of Helicopters and Small Aircraft

The lower flight altitude of helicopters and small aircraft provide stunning views to passengers. However, there is an increased risk of danger in comparison with commercial aircraft. Common causes of helicopter and small aircraft crashes include 1. faulty maintenance and repair; 2. defective design, parts, and materials; 3. instrument or avionics failure; and 4. pilot error.

We are Experienced Aircraft & Helicopter Accident Attorneys

Aviation accidents involve highly complex dynamics. Families devastated as a result of helicopter and small aircraft crashes require attorneys who are experienced in the field and who have the resources to investigate and litigate the case.

The Galiher law firm founder Gary Galiher is an FAA licensed helicopter pilot with over 3600 flight hours of experience. He is type rated as an air transport pilot in helicopters and flies fixed-wing aircraft as well. For many years, he has piloted aircraft throughout the Hawaiian Islands. He is uniquely aware of the challenging Hawaii terrain and possesses the technical knowledge that comes with flying complex aircraft. Gary is also intimately familiar with the quick changing weather conditions throughout our island state, of which a pilot must be cognizant through all times during a flight.

If a family member has been involved in a fatal aviation accident or has been seriously injured, our firm would be honored to employ our considerable experience to assist your family.


The Galiher law firm works tirelessly to obtain the best results for its clients in every case. Through our many years of practice, however, we understand that every case is unique and any recovery is based on the particular facts of the case at hand. Prior results cannot guarantee the results in future cases.