The series centers on the adventures of bush pilot Baloo the bear, whose air cargo freight business, “Baloo’s Air Service”, is poached by Rebecca Cunningham upon his default on delinquent bills with the bank (run by the criminal tiger Shere Khan) and renamed “Higher for Hire”. An orphan boy and former air pirate, the ambitious Kit Cloudkicker, attaches to Baloo and becomes his navigator. He sometimes calls him “Papa Bear”. Together, they are the crew of Higher for Hire’s only aircraft, a 20-year-old modified Conwing L-16 (a fictitious aircraft using elements from the Fairchild C-82 transport, Grumman HU-16 amphibian, and a Consolidated PBY-3. Ironically none of these aircraft were invented before the fictional-one in actuality) named the Sea Duck. From there, the series follows the ups and downs of Higher for Hire and its staff, sometimes in the vein of old action-adventure film serials of the 1930s and 1940s, like the Tailspin Tommy movies, and contemporary variations, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Their adventures often involve encounters with a gang of air pirates led by Don Karnage, as well as with representatives of Thembria (a parody of the Stalinist Soviet Union inhabited by anthropomorphic boars), or other, often even stranger obstacles. In deference to contemporary sensitivities, there is no equivalent of the Nazis in the series, although one story in Disney Adventures Magazine, “The Dogs of War!”, had the heroes encounter members of the “Houn” nationality, a menacing militaristic nationality of dogs from “Hounsland” who wear uniforms that are clearly based on German ones and who speak in a mock-German accent.