Makani Kai Helicopters is one of the safest aerial tour operators in the nation. For one, we are the only operator of our type in the U.S. to be accredited by the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). IS-BAO is a code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve the highest level of safety and professionalism. IS-BAO safety certification is awarded to flight departments that have successfully met the rigorous IS-BAO standards as verified by an accredited IS-BAO auditor.

Makani Kai has established a Safety Management Program that includes outside professional safety management courses and ongoing safety training for personnel. We have a dedicated safety manager, are subject to both regular and unscheduled safety audits by independent auditors, schedule regular safety meetings with pilots and staff, and have clearly defined flight operating standards and weather minimums to provide safe and consistent day-to-day operations.

We are fortunate to have an unblemished safety record, never having experienced an accident or incident in our tour operations. But safety is a moving target and the prudent person constantly looks for ways to improve upon how things are done. Bruce Mayes is Makani Kai Helicopter’s Chief Pilot, Fixed Wing, and Safety Management consultant. The former Aloha Airlines 737 pilot has a thing about safety. Here’s what Mayes is doing within the organization to improve overall safety:

“We have established a culture at Makani Kai that drives us to continually seek ways to improve the safety posture and safety standing of the company. As Safety Management System (SMS) Director, I oversee the safety initiatives. The initiatives include:


  • A corporate safety commitment, the documented affirmation by the owner pronouncing his personal beliefs and values related to company safety.
  • A Safety Management System (SMS) a program in which safety data, information and trends are observed and integrated into a structured approach to safety improvement. Some of these processes include the implementation of an internal evaluation system, hazard reporting and tracking, non-punitive reporting system and an emergency response plan. The entire process has one goal: to reduce the risks and improve safety.
  • A risk analysis and mitigation program which identifies latent or emerging risks at the company. Safety awareness by every employee is critical to ensure the SMS remains robust and viable.
  • An FAA approved training program to ensure that quality training and checking of the crews is realized.


Maintenance Second to None

Maintaining our aircraft is a top priority with Makani Kai Helicopters. We select only the most intelligent, dedicated and experienced technicians to work on our aircraft, and then provide them with the best tools and the latest equipment to do the job right. The maintenance facility is a pristine, well-lighted and comfortable place to work, set up exactly how the technicians prescribe.

Where others may see maintenance as a necessary evil, we see it as an opportunity to go the extra step. We spare no expense to ensure that things are done right. One thing is certain: at Makani Kai, maintenance is a worthy and noble endeavor.

Makani Kai Helicopters is a recipient of the coveted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certificate of Excellence Diamond Award for maintenance excellence. The award program was designed to encourage aviation maintenance employees and employers to comprehensively pursue maintenance training and education. The Diamond Award is the highest award granted by the FAA for aviation maintenance technicians.