We have built our aerial tour business to be the very best possible by assembling the most experienced pilots and the best aircraft.  We backed these with the most comprehensive maintenance program and with a total commitment to safety.  Over the years, we have developed the most comfortable and efficient ground transportation system possible between the airport and Waikiki. We have constructed a modern, airy, clean and esthetically pleasing passenger terminal and shopping area to maximize passenger satisfaction.

But in truth, our most valuable asset is our people.  The Schuman philosophy is to hire the most qualified individuals for the job, individuals with heart, and then strive to retain those employees by paying them well and treating them with the respect they deserve.  Which explains why our employees tend to remain on the job so much longer than workers at other tour companies.  We know that there’s nothing quite so confidence building for an agent as being able to deal with the same reservationists year after year, that drivers who have been making the trip into Waikiki for a decade are unlikely to get lost, that happy support personnel are more apt to do their job with passion and commitment.  It is our promise to you that we will always be a family, gracious and professional, to provide you the service excellence you deserve.

Richard Schuman – Owner
Richard’s family has been in the transportation business in Hawaii for more than a hundred years.  His great grandfather emigrated from Germany and began making carriage wheels here and then founded the Schuman Carriage Company in 1893.  Richard began flying helicopters in 1992 and, four years later, he bought Makani Kai Helicopters.  Richard believes in providing nothing less than the very best in customer service, a philosophy we hope you will notice when you fly with Makani Kai.

Diane Schuman – Chief Financial Officer
The former Diane Haglund was born and raised in Harrisville, Michigan.  She majored in Business and Accounting at Northwood Institute (now Northwood University) in Midland, Michigan, where she met her future husband, Richard Schuman.  Following graduation, she moved to Oahu in 1981 and was an accountant for an auto accessory company and then a law firm.  She and Richard were married in 1984 and had their first daughter, Kaleo, in 1988.  Her interests include tennis, hiking and riding her Harley Davidson.

Kauwela Kalawe
Customer Service Representative

Kauwela helps run the Makani Kai Air desk at the Molokai Airport. One of eleven children, Kauwela was born and raised on Molokai and attended Molokai High School. “I didn’t have what you would call a ‘normal’ childhood,” she says. “My dad is an entrepreneur and always had jobs for us to do after school, whether it was scrubbing tires on the wheels of the family taxi and limo service or working at the family-run Pizza Café, there wasn’t a lot of downtime.” Kauwela, a mother of four, moved to the Big Island with her husband and family where she taught a Hawaiian Immersion program and was a teacher’s assistant at a Montessori school. To our great fortune, the Kalawes eventually returned to Molokai and Kauwela became a part of the Makani Kai team. In her precious spare time, Kauwela like to hunt shells on the beach.

P.J. O’Reilley – Sales and Marketing
P.J. was born in Carmel, California, and has been interested in aviation since childhood. He went to school at the University of California at Santa Cruz where he majored in Theater and Politics, which, he later discovered, turned out to be the same thing.  He soloed a Cessna on his 16th birthday and started flying helicopters once he came to Hawaii.  He is best known among activity agents in Waikiki as The Brownie Man because he delivers the home made treats on his visits.

Donna Bermea – Bookkeeper
Donna was born and raised on Oahu and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She worked as an assistant manager at a fast food franchise, a savings counselor for First Federal, then joined local real estate firm Marcus & Associates as an administrative aid. The finance part of the business caught her attention and she worked her way into the world of accounting. Donna then joined Equity Properties and handled that company’s accounting for a decade. A techie at heart, Donna enjoys the challenge of working with anything that makes the rest of us scratch our heads. She’s also quite handy, having learned to lay flooring, put up drywall and other home improvement tasks, although she steers clear of power tools.

Bryson Takata – Reservationist
Born and raised on Oahu, Bryson epitomizes the outdoors lifestyle, loving to fish, hike, paddle board, and just hang out at the beach. “It’s where I like to be,” he says. A graduate of Kailua High School, Bryson worked in the Kaneohe MCBH commissary for several years before moving to Mokulele Airlines as a customer service agent. More like a utility infielder, Bryson took reservations, hauled bags and, in general, did what needed doing. His favorite part of the job? The people, “I really enjoy interacting with people, taking care of their needs and making sure everyone’s happy.” When he’s not on or near the ocean, Bryson spends his free time traveling, his favorite destination being Las Vegas. He also adores Italian food, sushi and spending time with his Chihuahua Hurley.

Nick Voge – Fixed Wing Pilot
Nick was born and raised in Southern California, where he spent his youth as a professional motorcycle racer and occasional hang glider pilot. Racing behind him, he returned to school to study foreign languages, receiving an AA in German from Santa Monica City College and a BA in Japanese from U.C.L.A. After a short time living and working in Germany he moved to Japan to work as a translator and riding model for the motorcycle manufacturers. He speaks, reads and writes both languages. Nick's flying career began at Dillingham Airfield where he spent five years giving sight-seeing and aerobatic rides. This was followed by two years flying inter-island cargo, then two more years flying jump planes and glider tow planes. When asked why he came to Hawaii, he says, "It is the ideal middle ground between East and West and is as close to paradise as we're going to get on this earth."

Robert “Mac” Smith – Pilot
Mac, our assistant chief pilot, was born and raised in Honolulu but his first remembrance of wanting to fly came at age five when his dad was based at Sangley Point in the Philippines. “Our house was two blocks from the end of the runway and there was always something flying overhead,” recalls Mac.  After a brief stint flying gliders at our own Dillingham Field, Mac attended the University of Colorado and enrolled in the aviation training program.  He has since logged more than 10,000 flight hours and held the roles of designated pilot examiner, chief flight instructor, flight school manager, airplane owner, cargo dog and all around good guy.

Mike Stroup – Assistant Director of Maintenance, A&P Apprentice
Born in Darby, Pennsylvania, in 1962, Mike was in ROTC in high school and joined the Navy upon his graduation in 1980.  He first saw Hawaii when he came to Pearl Harbor in January of 2000 aboard the nuclear attack submarine San Francisco.  An electrician and Chief Petty Officer by training, Mike was stationed here until his retirement in 2004.  He immediately began training for his helicopter license and eventually earned his Private, Commercial, Instrument and Instructor ratings.  An avid cyclist, Mike frequently engages in friendly competition and will pedal around the island just for fun.  He enjoys meeting the different people he brings to and from the airport and looks forward to his turn on next season’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Travis Shilling  – Director of Maintenance
Travis hails from Nebraska but spent a considerable amount of his youth in Arizona. He attended Arizona State and then received his Airframe and Powerplant training at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Travis’ experience belies his years: he worked at Heli Support in Phoenix, Trans Alaska in Anchorage, Papillion on Kauai, St. Louis Helicopters, Hawkins & Powers and others before coming to Makani Kai to run the shop. He has nearly 20 years of experience with A-Stars. In his off time, Travis enjoys golfing, fishing and taking his Harley for a ride.

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