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Reporter recalls flying with Safari

LIHUE — Safari Helicopters celebrated its 30th year in business on Oct. 1, 2017. It is the second-oldest helicopter business on Kauai, behind only Jack Harter Helicopters.

To mark that anniversary, TGI reporter Jessica Else went for a ride with Safari Helicopters. Here, in part, is what she wrote, as published in TGI on Oct. 8, 2017:

Controlling the cockpit was the company’s chief pilot, Paul Matero, who entertained guests with bits of history and cinematic tidbits as they cruised over places like the Huleia River, where Harrison Ford rope swings into the river in the first “Indiana Jones” movie.

The island’s geography, myths and legends, as well as information on native plants, were all on tap.

He also took passengers over Waimea Canyon, along Napali Coast, and into Mount Waialeale, where life-giving waterfalls cascade into lush greenery.

“It’s awesome to be able to share this beautiful place where we live,” Matero said. “I do this (pilot with Safari Helicopters) because they let me.”

Safari Helicopters was founded in 1987 and it is still a family-owned-and-operated company. It’s one of the first operations on Kauai to use the A-Star B2 helicopter, and was part of introducing choreographed music along with tours.

The company also partners with Keith Robinson to offer eco tours, helping educate visitors about the indigenous and endangered plants and animals of Kauai, and offers an exclusive landing at a waterfall on Robinson property on the Westside. It also offers free flights for local kupuna.

Safety is another of Safari Helicopters’ pride points, and the company until last week had a clean safety record.

Preston Myers, owner of Safari Helicopters and one of the company’s first pilots, said safety is of the utmost importance, and he hires pilots that are of the same mindset.

“There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots,” he said.
Source: The Garden Island

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