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Advice on scattering a persons ash's from the air

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Advice on scattering a persons ash's from the air

Old 14th Mar 2014, 21:20
  #1 (permalink)  
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Advice on scattering a persons ash's from the air


I am looking for some information/advice

A good friend of mine died last year suddenly at the age of 35, he was an aspiring airline pilot and had just finished his ATPL's and was looking forward to been back in the practical seat again when it happened.

His mum has since expressed her wish's to scatter his ash's from a plane or helicopter if it is possible? I said I would post on this forum to see if anyone can help point in the right direction of if this is first legal to do over land? and how to go about it.

Many Thanks in advance for any information.
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Old 14th Mar 2014, 21:49
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What ever you do just don't make the same mistake that a friend of mine made. He attempted to pour his fathers ashes out of the opened side window of a C-172.

Much of it blew back and covered all of the aircraft's occupants in grey ash.
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Old 14th Mar 2014, 22:31
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Depends where you are and what your local laws say.

In the UK I don't think you are allowed to spread ashes on water (and/or, no doubt, a good number of other places). Again in the UK, the rules about dropping things from aircraft are quite well defined (used to be ANO articles 129 and 131, not sure if they've changed) and probably would preclude dropping ashes. Unless you argued that the ashes were fertiliser and so it was for agricultural purposes, in which case the aircraft operator would need an aerial application certificate. But then again, who's to know what you did while you were up there?

It might be easier - if not more legal - to spread the ashes on his local/favourite airport. This has been done on many occasions and, based of my personal experience of one such event, I would recommend a thorough evaluation of wind direction for reasons broadly similar to those mentioned by Exaviator.

It will come to us all, of course, but a sad story for someone so young.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 20:11
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Nobody will have a clue what you did, don't worry about it from a legal stand point. There's no official service that I'm aware of, but nothing to stop you asking one of his friends to take you up to do it.

I've seen it done in a Seneca out of the storm window. A pipe was attached to a small plastic bag containing the ashes and the pipe hung slightly out the window to prevent any blow back, as mentioned above.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 22:07
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Sorry to hear about your friend.

If you are in the UK, you will need an exemption from Article 129 and the permission of the landowner.

Exemptions for scattering of ashes are free of charge, and can be obtained from the CAA, by calling this number: 01293 573525.

I have found the best way of doing this without getting yourself, and the inside of the aircraft covered in ashes, is to use one of those cardboard tubes of about 4''-6'' diameter in which charts/posters are often posted.

The ashes are then inserted in one end of the tube, contained in a strong paper bag. The other end of the tube is then pushed out into the airflow through a partly open door, or window. At the appropriate moment, the paper bag is punctured, and the ashes are sucked out of the tube by the airflow, and carried away from the aircraft.

Two tips though; 1. Make sure you have a firm hold on the tube, or secure it in some way, so that you don't drop the whole thing. 2. Make sure you have a reliable way of breaking the paper bag.


Last edited by Mach Jump; 15th Mar 2014 at 22:21.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 22:10
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I have flown aircraft where ashes have been dropped quite a few times. Fortunately, I was well briefed before the first event. The basic problem is always the in-elegant blow-back of somebody's loved one's ashes. In a C172 this can be solved by flying clean at about 65 knots and dropping them out of the left hand window. If you are using a PA18, a gentle side-slip to the right is your friend, but again use the left hand sliding window. Opening the double doors tend to frighten the distressed relative. In a glider, firstly allow the dropper to practice on the ground. Again fly slowly with a gentle right hand side-slip. Also, the urn that normally used for holding ashes looks better on a fireplace receptacle because in a glider it will probably result in a broken DV panel and/or canopy. If dropped, it might hurt someone. A small, plain plastic bag is the most useful device to hold the ashes to be dropped. Tape the bottom of it to the dropper's hand before flight.

As for a helicopter, I haven't a clue.

For the actual flying, brief them well but gently. Tell them that you will go somewhere where there is little R/T and that you will turn the radio/s off. Get up above the PPL's standard 2,000' and perform the HAZEL checks and give the "dropper" a few moments. Start the side-slip and then tell them that it will now be OK for them to drop the ashes. They will comply.

Lastly, ignore people who tell you that you can't do it. Legally, I'm sure it's wrong. But so what.

Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2014, 22:13
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And while I was typing (slowly), Machjump has come up with more worthwhile solutions.

Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2014, 22:26
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...more worthwhile...
Everyone's contribution is worthwhile PM

Mach Jump is offline  
Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:20
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Not funny I know but both events made me laugh.

1. Over Hong Kong harbour, 1993 dearly departed wanted - dearly departed got. I (pilot) say to crewman in back - any time you want after I establish the hover - all done, came back after a pause - good lets get back to Sek Kong for a brew. Walking from a/c I ask the crewman - where is the urn? You can imagine the rest!

2. Over Southampton water - "when you want ------- as soon as I get into a hover" - to furkin late dearly departed was IMC in the back with the the crewman! I'm sure some of dearly departed made Southampton water (keen sailor I think).
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 19:07
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Sir George Cayley
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As usual Google knows the answer.

Scattering ashes Biplane: Scotland and beyond | Scattering Ashes

I've no commercial interest in this operation.


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