On an expedition of this magnitude with a weight limit, we have to chose our gear wisely!
A basic survival equipment is a must for an flying trip, but for a worldwide expedition travelling over water, desert, mountains, glaciers, jungles and more, an well thought survival kit is required.
Onboard, by the door for easy access, is a waterproof bag with the contents of our survival kit. Because we are flying over such diverse terrain that changes rapidly, we always have to be alert and updating the kit with necessary gear to keep us safe in case of an emergency.
We built our survival kit from scratch, starting off with basic necessities for every climate; like matches, ropes, flashlights, heat reflective blankets, sunscreen, a hefty trauma first aid kit, water purification tablets (that are rated for the Amazon) and way, way more. From that base we added on gear specific to the environments we will be flying over. For example when flying over the jungle we added a machete and file to the kit as it's impossible to do anything in the thick brush.
To add onto our survival kit, we have a raft, coolers of food and water, and trackers. Similar to airlines, there is a lifejacket in the pocket in front of your seat in our AirVan! When flying stretches over water the pilot and co-pilot wear non auto inflatable horseshoe life jackets so they can just focus on the emergency and not worry about having to put a lifejacket on.
Why is it important that life jackets are NOT auto inflatable?
Auto inflatable life jackets inflate as soon as they detect water. This is great if you are boating and fall off because the life jackets will automatically inflate and you will float to the surface. In a confined space with a ceiling this poses problems because 1) if the life jacket inflates it makes it harder to maneuver and 2)if the cabin fills with water and the life jacket is inflated, you will float to the ceiling and it will be impossible to exit the aircraft.
This is why its extremely important to inflate your life jacket AFTER you exit the aircraft.
Trackers, PLB's and Connectivity
Aside from having an ELT, we carry an array of other emergency alert devices.
You may know that we have a live tracker on whenever we go flying, or travel long distances. If not, you can track us live HERE. With this tracker we send messages and updates of when we're taking off, in the air and landing to family and friends. This way they can keep track of what we're doing and keep an eye out for us. For example if we send a "taking off" message but never a "just landed" message, they will contact us to make sure everything is okay. The other thing the tracker has is an SOS button for us to press in case of emergency. The SOS button will immediately inform our emergency contacts and other services of our exact location.
The trackers we use has worldwide coverage and are extremely reliable as it is powered by iridium satellites.
Aside from our tracker we also carry 2 Artex PLB's, or Personal Locator Beacons.
Weather & Flight Planning
As you can imagine flying around the world means flying in new airspace everyday, with different climates and weather. To stay on top of it all we use a mix of apps.
For weather our favourite is Windy.com . We have found it to be accurate all over, and it is easy to use. Aside from Windy, we use other basic weather apps, government weather websites, the weather features on piloting apps and anything that the locals suggest to us!
For flight planning and navigation we mainly use Foreflight and AirNav Pro. Neither has all the information so we consult both along with other locally used apps or resources.
No apps contain all the necessary information, regulations or procedures. We use many different apps to piece together an image, but to figure out how to fly around country, the best way by far is to talk to local pilots and pilots who have flown in that area.
One of the key items to our in-flight navigation and flight planning is our iPad! In case anything goes wrong with the iPad, we have the same applications on our phones.
Camera & Tech
If you follow our Instagram (@fly5intheSky), you'll know that we post lots of videos of the plane, flying, cool scenery and activities we do along the way. To capture everything and share it with the world we use our phones, an actual camera and GoPros.
We have various mounts from NFlightCam on the plane that we use to mount the cameras and get cool shots from outside the plane!