Aerial Ashes is a new company set up to provide a service offering to scatter loved one’s ashes, over land or sea, at beautiful locations across the UK. They use an airborne delivery from a drone carrying specially developed containers which are pilot controlled to give a remote release at a precise position. But where did this idea come from?
The Founder of Aerial Ashes, Christopher Mace, is a recently retired RAF Officer with a history of over 30 years flying military helicopters. During his time with Search and Rescue, he recalls being asked to scatter ashes of a former airman over the sea, marking the position on the navigation equipment then passing the details to the family. It was an unusual task, but families thought it a lovely way to lay ashes to rest and understandably a nearby beach would forever be a special place to visit.
Scattering ashes from the air enables remains to be finely and cleanly dispersed and opens up so many location opportunities but access to conventional aircraft can be extremely expensive. Christopher could see that by designing a suitable carriage and release system, drone technology lends itself to making airborne scatterings much more affordable. Following development, Aerial Ashes have produced a system that has been extremely versatile in trials and is now available across the UK. With permission from the CAA to operate commercially, Aerial Ashes adhere to strict rules concerning drone operations; these mostly concern landowner permission and avoiding disturbance to the general public, but all such rules are covered in their planning process which starts from the moment they receive an enquiry.
To start, Aerial Ashes conduct an initial assessment of the chosen site: This involves understanding airspace restrictions, calculating localised risk assessments, researching access opportunities and of course ensuring minimal disturbance to the general public. When flying from a beach, their assessment can be completed relatively quickly; elsewhere, however, planning can include lengthy correspondence with landowners varying from national organisations through to small farmers, or race-course owners through to golf clubs. These permissions are essential, but this is part of the service managed by Aerial Ashes; and once their assessment is complete, they will either confirm a location, or propose an alternative. They will also explain any public disturbance avoidance measures for busy or popular places which usually means starting very early in the morning or operating later into the evening. Once the scattering is fully planned, Aerial Ashes can add a further photographic drone to capture the event either pictorially or with a video clip depending on the client’s wishes.
Come the day of the flight, the meeting point is that selected for take-off and landing. It is usually around 100 metres from the area over which the ashes will be scattered which gives an excellent view of the moment ashes are released; it is from here that the Aerial Ashes pilot prepares the drone including loading the ashes. Friends and relatives who choose to be present are made extremely welcome. Some like to take their own photographs whilst others even like to operate the ashes release switch… and when the ashes are released, they produce a light grey plume that disperses beautifully and falls gently in a trail behind the drone leaving hardly a trace. Finally, on completion, the date and exact location are recorded by certificate which comes framed and is delivered shortly after by Aerial Ashes.
Aerial Ashes have come up with something very innovative: They are opening up enormous possibilities for families, whether they are looking for a special way to say their last goodbyes or perhaps have been entrusted to scatter cremation remains but don’t really wish to handle the process themselves. Notwithstanding the recent restrictions on gatherings,
Aerial Ashes are looking forwards and are already taking advance bookings through their website at www.aerialashes.co.uk