Flight Considerations

Usually I charge a fixed price for each airplane load transported between various places in the Refuge. The best way to economize on your trip is to reduce the loads required to transport your group and to make full use of the airplane’s capacity for the loads you do require. Based on a 10–14 day trip length and sensibly restrained group weight and volume, you can use the following guidelines to estimate the load requirements for your party:

  • Backpackers with 60–80 lb. packs can normally plan on carrying 3 passengers with all their gear per load.
  • Base-campers should plan for a maximum of 2 people per load unless their equipment and supplies mimic a backpacker’s in weight and volume.
  • Floating groups are the heaviest travelers and usually require capacity equivalent to at least one load for each 2 people traveling, up to a maximum of six. For groups of more than six people, an extra load in addition to those based on the passenger calculated loads is normally required. Rafting equipment varies considerably in bulk and weight and a conscious effort to minimize both is important when traveling in small bush-airplanes.

With my four seat aircraft you can normally plan on capacity available to you for transporting a combined passenger and baggage weight of between 700–800 lb (317–362 kg) with a maximum of 3 passengers per load. The space available for all this is small and, without care, it is possible to run out of room in the aircraft before reaching the weight limit.

To avoid this, and the possibility of exceeding the number of flights planned for your trip use the following guidelines:

  • Carefully weigh everything, including people and be rigorous in excluding superfluous equipment and supplies.
  • Pack all equipment in soft compressible bags such as stuff sacks or dry bags. Several small bags are preferable to one large one. Coolers or other rigid, bulky packaging should be avoided.
  • Fresh food and drinks are heavy and awkward. Freeze dried food and water from rivers are most appropriate.