Well...the only international airport in the country is in Freetown at Lungi. Lungi is actually across a "small" body of water. So to get to or from the airport without driving for an hour or two is to take the helicopter or ferry. We took the helicopter when we arrived because it was late night/early morning and we had so much luggage and no way to get to the ferry (at least a mile away from the airport). On the way back, we didn't have any luggage except for two suitcases between all of us. So it was easier for us to get it around. Unfortunately, we had to be at the ferry office early to catch te bus to get onto teh ferry ( you don't have to catch the bus--it guarantees you to get onto the flight) and wait around at the dock and then load with the other hundreds of people or so and then get on the bus again to drive to the airport and then waited for 3 hours in line in the airport to go through customs. Then waited in an upstairs lobby at the airport for our flight that arrived late and left even later!
At a time of very unstable and dangerous situation, using a chopper was the safest and fastest way to deliver assistance to people upcountry.