Television & Movie Production

Island Helicopters has also been very involved with the movie industry, participating in the filming of such Hollywood movies as Jurassic Park, Tropic Thunder, Dragonfly, King Kong, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Six Days Seven Nights, 50 First Dates just to name a few. Filming companies contact Island Helicopters first because of our years of experience and expertise in the industry. Curt has been flying aerial photography and support for over 35 years in Hawaii and is widely respected throughout the motion picture industry.

Hawaii Film & Video Magazine Article

Years ago I was the camera ship for a “low budget” movie being filmed on Kauai, when the director told me to fly through the Honopu Arch. This is a small natural archway on the Na Pali Coast. I told him that I wouldn’t do it since there was a risk that rocks could fall on to the rotor blades when passing under the Arch. He got all upset and said, “That’s what we are paying you for. I know pilots that could do it.!” I told him, “I didn’t say I couldn’t do it, I said I wouldn’t do it” I then talked him into an equally dramatic shot with no danger involved and he was ecstatic.

The latest “King Kong” movie filmed on Kauai in the late 70’s, had several isolated locations around the island, including “Honopu Beach” on the Na Pali Coast. At 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the shoot at that location, there were four helicopters, and 6 Zodiac boats that landed carrying equipment and around 50 film crew.

Unaware of what was happening and completely caught off guard, was my brother Dennis, and his new wife, sleeping under the Honopu Arch. I had dropped them off by helicopter the night before as a wedding gift.

Their experience made headlines in newspapers across the nation: “Honeymoon couple spends the night in the arms of King Kong.

Having flown nearly every inch of the island of Kauai over the past 37 years, I seldom have a problem finding that special and sometimes extreme location, without duplicating the better known sites.

The movie “Dragonfly” with Kevin Costner, needed a location where they would have a bus, in the jungle, on a winding road, high on a mountainside, lose control and plunge off the cliff, into a river below. Not a problem for me, I knew a couple locations that would work well. The big problem, however, is getting approval by the County for stunt like this. I have to give credit to the outstanding Film Commission on Kauai and the very professional locations managers that work with the productions teams.

Another logistical nightmare was transporting over 15 crew, actors and equipment to three different isolated beaches on the Na Pali Coast, during the Harrison Ford Movie, “Six Days/Seven Nights”. Several helicopter companies were involved in this operation, to include large Bell “Huey” Helicopters sling loading equipment to the site. The twist in this operation that complicated things was that the surf was too high to take people in by boat, so a large barge with a heliport was anchored offshore to shuttle people back and forth. On the first day when I was approaching the rocking barge with a key production person onboard, just before landing he says to me, “No way! Take me back; I will get sick on that boat!” So I circled a couple times while talking to him until he got his composure back and finally gave me the nod to land.

After three hours of transporting all the people and equipment to the designated beaches, the weather decided not to cooperate and everyone plus equipment had to be flown out. This happened two different days with no filming taking place.

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