Company launches to scatter ashes

It’s not uncommon to scatter ashes from airplanes, but a new company in Boulder has taken final disposition of cremated remains to a new level. Launching a high-performance glider aircraft near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Aerial Tribute provides access to stratospheric thermals, which ascend to altitudes so high as to allow some of the ashes to remain in the upper atmosphere forever, company officials claim.

“Ascension Scattering allows cremated remains to become one with nature and part of Earth’s atmosphere itself,” said Marc Arnold, founder of the ascension scattering service. “More people than ever are choosing cremation in lieu of burials for cost-savings and environmental issues.”

According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), about 39% of deaths in the U.S. result in cremation, more than double the rate of 14% 30 years ago. In Colorado, more than 50% are cremated and in Boulder County, nearly 80% of the community chooses cremation, among the highest rates in the country, company officials note.

Super-powerful thermals over the Rocky Mountains provide a natural launch-pad for ashes released from the company’s Stemme S10-VT aircraft. Ashes released into this rapidly rising air above 14,000 feet are carried upward into the upper atmosphere. Families may choose from a range of video and musical recording options to customize each memorial service, company officials said.

“Depending on options, Ascension Scattering costs between $600 and $1,000 – thousands of dollars less than a traditional burial, yet still provides a meaningful and dignified final disposition,” said Michael Greenwood, director of Greenwood & Myers Funeral Services in Boulder. “Families regard Ascension Scattering as a professional alternative to attempting a do-it-yourself scattering. The availability of an appealing scattering service like this is long overdue.”

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