Scattering Ashes?

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

N804RV

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
362
Location
Mount Vernon, WA
Having had lots of experience throwing (and accidentally dropping) things out of helicopters, I can tell you there is no graceful way to do it. The best way is some kind of container that holds the "cremains" until well below the aircraft slipstream, then dumps them all at once gives the best visual results for watchers on the ground (video?). But, if a loved one is with you in the plane, results will be much less than the romantic ideal. I would strongly discourage anyone asking me to do this.

I recently attended the scattering of 3 of my wife's deceased family member's ashes from a boat. The legal requirement was that anything that went into the water had to be biodegradable. They actually sell so-called "urns" that are made out of the same material as old-fashioned egg cartons.

The actual "launching" of these urns from the boat was a touching final tribute, till one of them turned end up (like the Titanic) and plummeted below the surface while the other 2 floated gracefully away. But, behind the scenes and before the rest of the family got there, we had to load the "cremains" into these paper-mache' urns. My wife was in tears as we resorted to "sweeping up" the last little bit left on the counter top.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,733
Location
USA.
Just don't do it.

You should try dropping 500 ping-pong balls in a cardboard box by opening the door of a Cherokee. Local town had free prizes and discounts with numbers printed on the balls, and wanted the ping-pong dropped down the main street . It was worse than you are thinking. I felt like one of the 3 stooges.
Better not tell it , never know who is reading this.
BTW-- Do you know the little placard on the ceiling above the door that says " do not open in flight " it's there for a reason.
 

rv7charlie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
Pocahontas MS
Better not tell it , never know who is reading this.
BTW-- Do you know the little placard on the ceiling above the door that says " do not open in flight " it's there for a reason.
1. Why? Dropping human remains from aircraft (Thought I posted this earlier, but apparently it hasn't shown up.)
2. a. Inconvenient to open an RV canopy in flight; that's why you use a 'remote' dispenser. b. Risk of 'blowback' into an open door is why you use a remote dispenser.
And, many certified (and homebuilt) a/c have windows that are designed to open in flight. But see 2.b.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,733
Location
USA.
1. Why? Dropping human remains from aircraft (Thought I posted this earlier, but apparently it hasn't shown up.)
2. a. Inconvenient to open an RV canopy in flight; that's why you use a 'remote' dispenser. b. Risk of 'blowback' into an open door is why you use a remote dispenser.
And, many certified (and homebuilt) a/c have windows that are designed to open in flight. But see 2.b.
I'll just keep my mouth shut.
 

rv7charlie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
Pocahontas MS
Again, why? Not trying to be combative; I just want to know why y'all consider it such a big deal; apparently from a legal standpoint. Perhaps your local restrictions?
 

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
2,145
Location
Canada
I have sewn up a few ash bags for skydiver funerals. They are made of nylon fabric and about 2 liters in size. They strap to the fore-arm of a skydiver. In freefall, the skydiver grabs a loop - near his knuckles and peels it back towards his elbow. This peels the Velcro, releasing the top flap. The ashes blow off into the atmosphere, then everyone opens their parachutes and lands beside the farewell party.
A few ash bags even have pockets for data cards. The cards record the name of the deceased and the date that his/her ashes were spread in the sky.
 

Riggerrob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
2,145
Location
Canada
My experience of "scattering" my best friend's ashes years ago. They really weren't ashes. It was more like sand and some really small pebbles mixed in with it. Dennis
Yes, you are not the first to complain about the abbrassiveness of the remaining bone fragments. A friend used to work for a crematorium in Vancouver. One day they rented a Cherokee Six to spread some ashes in the sky. They removed the rear cargo door and dumped out the ashes. The FBO was not amused when they returned the airplane minus some paint sand-blasted off the left, horizontal stabilator!
Hah!
Hah!
 

Dennis DeFrange

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
91
Small paper bag , stick it out the window (if Cessna) very rear , (If Piper) , the little pocket window , either way as far out as possible , and poke it with your thumb . It will suck the bag empty . Don't attempt to fill the bag out doors . That is the hard part if you forget before preparing . Ya mess up there , you'll be wearing the person your burying . How would I know ?
 

Tiger Tim

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
3,979
Location
Thunder Bay
To expand on the success, here’s what we came up with:

A fifteen foot long, four inch wide streamer was made out of ripstop nylon and laid out on the hangar floor. About three tablespoons of ashes were carefully laid out along the centre of the trailing end of the streamer, then the edges folded over and the whole thing rolled up save for the last eighteen inches at the airplane end and a rubber band put around the bundle. The free end was zip tied to a cabane strut (we were using a biplane) and the front seat passenger held onto it. During the flyby the package was held into the airstream and released, rubber band and all.

It unfurls quickly and when the end is reached, all the way out under the tail, the ashes are released in a little puff visible from the ground.
 

Woofbite

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
20
Location
Forest lake MN, washington
Having had lots of experience throwing (and accidentally dropping) things out of helicopters, I can tell you there is no graceful way to do it. The best way is some kind of container that holds the "cremains" until well below the aircraft slipstream, then dumps them all at once gives the best visual results for watchers on the ground (video?). But, if a loved one is with you in the plane, results will be much less than the romantic ideal. I would strongly discourage anyone asking me to do this.

I recently attended the scattering of 3 of my wife's deceased family member's ashes from a boat. The legal requirement was that anything that went into the water had to be biodegradable. They actually sell so-called "urns" that are made out of the same material as old-fashioned egg cartons.

The actual "launching" of these urns from the boat was a touching final tribute, till one of them turned end up (like the Titanic) and plummeted below the surface while the other 2 floated gracefully away. But, behind the scenes and before the rest of the family got there, we had to load the "cremains" into these paper-mache' urns. My wife was in tears as we resorted to "sweeping up" the last little bit left on the counter top.
ouch
 

cluttonfred

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
8,626
Location
World traveler
There ought to be some sort of standard design for a cardboard or papier-mâché "bomb" with a little sand in the nose for this purpose. You drop it from a wing strut or out the window and it falls about 100 feet until the unrolling string runs out and then pulls the packet of ashes out of the tube in one quick puff. Keep the string light and weak enough that it's not a hazard if it does get caught on the tail.
 

DanH

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
53
Human cremains weigh between four and eight pounds. 120 knot dynamic pressure at low altitude is nearly 50 lbs/sq ft. Why take halfway measures? Anyone who can call themselves an airplane builder can put together a dedicated cremains spreader.
 

cluttonfred

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
8,626
Location
World traveler
Here's another idea...a free-fall "bomb" consisting of two shells of papier-mâché with a simple mechanical "fuse" (rubber band powered or perhaps a little propeller turbine) in the nose that allows the two halves to split after a few seconds delay. Everything could still be natural and biodegradable.
 
Top