By John Steinhorst The Garden Island | Monday, May 28, 2018
Island School Voyagers pre-kindergartner Raiden Kaohelauii enjoys a recent field trip to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters base in Lihue. Courtesy Swell Kauai Photo
LIHUE — More than 40 pre-kindergartners got to experience the thrill of Kauai’s “flight-seeing” operations on a recent field trip to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters’ Kauai base.
Pilots and team members had as much fun as the group of Island School Voyagers did that day, by sharing information about helicopters and aerial safety.
“We wanted to actually teach these young children what we do here on Kauai, what we share with every visitor that comes through our door,” said Blue Hawaiian Helicopters’ Kauai base manager Nani Silva, who has been working with the company since it began operating on island 13 years ago. “Part of our job is to share that aloha spirit with everyone.”
The students were anxious to see their Eco-Star helicopter and ask questions of the certified pilot, Brodi Brodigan.
“When those children walked through the door and saw the helicopter sitting down, they were so excited,” Silva said. “We placed each one in the pilot seat and had them hold on to the instruments.”
Brodigan and the staff answered kids’ questions about flying helicopters and the island’s geography, while teaching them Hawaiian words for waterfall and other geological features.
“A lot of local people have not seen the beauty that we see in the inner parts of Kauai,” Silva said. “We wanted to share that with the children, because this is the next generation. We want to open their minds about what interests they are going to take later in the future.”
The field trip is part of the community outreach efforts of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters to support keiki to kupuna. The company has partnered with Make-A-Wish Hawaii to allow its kids to take part in the launch of their Junior Pilot Program.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is also raising funds to help residents of Puna Leilani Estates on Hawaii Island by conducting Hilo tours with 100 percent of proceeds going to people who lost everything. Tour proceeds and Target gift card donations raised more than $12,000 for relief and recovery.