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Jack brought his first helicopter to Kauai in 1962. His earlier companies were known as Garden Isle Helicopters, Kauai Helicopters, and Hawaii Helicopters International. A wide variety of helicopters were utilized such as the Bell 47G, Bell 47J, the Hiller FH1100, Sikorsky S-53 helicopters.

One of the investors in Jack’s first company was Raymond Burr. Mr. Burr visited Kauai in 1964 and took a flight with Jack (picture at left). He enjoyed the flight so much he wanted to become a part of the company.

In the early days, Jack based his helicopters at the Lihue airport and the Kauai Surf Hotel. He had “helistops” at many other areas of Kauai, including Haena, Hanalei, and Mana.

Many returning customers ask if we can land them at Honopu, Kalalau, or Nualolo on the Na Pali Coast as Jack did in the past. Unfortunately, we cannot without special permission from the State that is very difficult to obtain. In the mid-1980s, the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources told Jack that he could no longer have exclusive landing rights for the trips to Na Pali. He was told that he could continue to land on Na Pali, but other helicopter companies would all be able to land there also. Jack decided that he would rather give up his permission to land in this beautiful place rather than have dozens of helicopters landing there every day.

In the 1970s, Jack had an encounter during a tour flight with a large bird that he thought might be an eagle. He knew that the bird was not native to Kauai. Avian biologists were skeptical when they learned of Jack’s sightings. Eventually, a State biologist confirmed that the bird was a golden eagle that had somehow flown well over 2300 miles from the US mainland to reach Kauai. For many years, Jack shared the sky with the eagle during his flights above Kauai’s coasts, canyons, and valleys.

Jack and Bev Harter have very fond memories of the years they spent at the heliport located at the Kauai Surf. The photos to the left are of an approach to Jack’s helipad at the Kauai Surf. The photos were contributed by Art McBean who took a trip to Kauai in 1982 that included a flight with Jack.

In the mid-1980s, the Kauai Surf Resort was sold and closed for extensive renovations which did not include a heliport on the property. The much-expanded hotel reopened as the Westin Kauai, featuring the largest swimming pool in Hawaii. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki ravaged Kauai and forced the closure of the Westin. The property reopened after extensive renovations as the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Reservations for tour flights with Jack Harter Helicopters can be made at our sales desk at the Marriott by calling in-house extension 5094.

We will be adding more historical images and information to this site. Please come back in the near future to see more.

We would like to see images and hear stories from your experiences with Jack Harter Helicopters. Please use our Contact Form to send us your email address and a brief description of the images you would like to share. We will contact you about your images.


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