Kiluaea Helicopter Tour - Look Ma, No Doors!

We wanted our trip to Hawaii to be memorable and exciting so we booked a 'doors off' helicopter tour over the Kiluaea volcano with Paradise Helicopters.  Yep...doors off, as in, no doors on the helicopter.  
We slowly approached the aircraft.
I was ushered in next to the pilot with my husband on the other side.  I'm not a huge fan of heights so I was happy to be in the middle away from the open door.
They strapped us in nice and snug and we were on our way!
Here you can see how close I was to the pilot as he demonstrates once again that there were no doors on this helicopter.
We could soon see the volcano in the distance.
Our timing was good or bad depending on how you look at it.  We saw plenty of boiling lava in the lake at the top of the volcano.  A mere week later, volcanic activity got more intense at Pu'u O'o Crater, the lake became unstable and actually started draining out the side of the crater!  We would have loved to see flowing lava from the ground but then we would have missed this spectacular sight since the lava lake is no more.
I captured this video which gives a sense of how amazing this tour was.  I've never seen anything like it.
After we took one last pass over the volcano, we flew past a series of waterfalls before cruising out over the ocean for a final turn before heading for the airport.
Once again, doors!
The trip took about 45 minutes in total.  We could see the runway at Hilo Airport below.
The trip was exhilarating but it was nice to be safely back on terra firma, I must say!
Hooray for Hilo!
As you can imagine, I took a ton of pictures of the helicopter ride and volcano.  Here they are below and via this link to Google Photos.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Kiluaea Helicopter Tour - Look Ma, No Doors!
Kiluaea Helicopter Tour - Look Ma, No Doors!
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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