Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Many People Can Attend?
As many as you like. Each package has a base number of attendees but you can easily book optional extra people for a small price paid in advance or by credit card or cash on the day. If people do not show on the day after they have been booked in, we will still have to charge you for the additional food and beverage.
Does Anyone Have to Attend?
No. Our staff will perform the launch as if you are there. Depending on the package, either photographs or video will be taken and the family presented with the final media presentation. The same care is taken of your loved one’s ashes as if you are present.
Has FinalFlight done this before?
So far the final flight staff have launched 21 flights and all have been successful. Our staff have also recovered all 21 payloads and have an astonishing record of recovery. Recovery of cameras and tracking systems is never guaranteed due to a number of reasons out of our control – mother nature determines the landing site. If you booked a camera recovery and we are unable to recover the cameras, it is our loss and you will be refunded the additional cost between appropriate packages
Is it Safe for aircraft to Launch Ashes to the Stratosphere?
Yes, we work with the Australian Civil Aviation Authority to ensure every flight is planned and Notices given to Airmen (NOTAMS) by Air Services Australia. . Pilots are aware of every flight we plan and our launch sites are kept well away from major aircraft trunk routes. Yes, there is a lot of planning and paperwork, but we look after this completely.
Is Marine Life at Risk from the balloons?
As you may expect, balloons that do land in the sea are a real risk to a huge variety of marine life. FinalFlight balloons are filled with the right amount of gas to ensure that they burst while still well over land. It is at this point that the ashes are released to the stratosphere and begin their final journey around the world. The balloon remnants never make it to the ocean and disintegrate on land. Balloon remnants appear to pose little to no risk to land-based animals.
Where do We Launch From?
We have two sites that are approved for FinalFlight. The closest to Sydney, Woolongong and Canberra is Braidwood. Braidwood is a short drive east of Canberra and about a 3 hour drive from Sydney. A quiet country town with amenities, food, accommodation and sightseeing. FinalFlight also flies from West Wyalong. That is a 7 hour drive from Sydney and about 2 hour drive NE of Griffith or 1 hour drive SW of Forbes. It is in the lower half of central NSW. Transport from regional airports can be arranged. Other towns may be suitable, but these must be away from major aircraft routes.
Can we get Video of the FinalFlight in the Stratosphere.
If you booked one of our packages where we provide video of the dispersal and the flight, we will need to launch from the small town of Rankin Springs. That is one hours drive west of West Wyalong. We cannot Guarantee recovery and you will only be charged for that service if we can successfully recover the cameras. For this, we need to track the balloon and the cameras that parachute to the ground to be able to recover the videos. This creates a lot more work and travel of a couple of hundred kilometres. It increases the cost of FinalFlight significantly. Our team has the highest record for recoveries of any team in the world.
Will there be a Formal Service along with the FinalFlight?
During the progress of the FinalFlight, everything is conducted with great respect. If you would like to have a celebrant speak or religious ‘service’ this is quite okay. We may be able to help arrange a suitable celebrant.
Typically, what is the Mood of the Friends and Family at the Time of the FinalFlight?
Usually, the mood is positive and respectful with most participants in a happy but reflective mood.
What is the Lead Time for Organising a FinalFlight?
We normally require 4 weeks to both ensure that we can process the authorisations required for the FinalFlight. We also have to ensure that we meet all state and federal laws regarding the flight. This also applies to the cooling off period for refunds, etc. Once the process is started, then we have significant costs. It is possible to provide the FinalFlight in as little as 2 weeks, but this is an option extra cost that you need to consider.
I have the Ashes of Two Relatives that I would Launch Simultaneously, can you Accommodate This?
Yes. please discuss the pricing when you contact us. There are significant savings with authorities. Both FinalFlights will be released at the same time, but there will still be two separate flights
Can you Arrange for a Launch at Sea?
Our expertise is launching science payloads from the land, nevertheless, the technique can be adapted for a marine FinalFlight. We would need to discuss this requirement with you before committing.
Is there a Health Risk Dispersing Ashes in the Atmosphere?
The ashes themselves are considered Sterile and by themselves are considered by health authorities not to have any inherent health risk. The dispersal in the upper atmosphere has had no formal testing, but the amount of dust in the atmosphere is huge in proportion to the very small amount of dust in the air. The dust from one active volcano is huge by a factor of many, many billions of times. The effect of dispersal is insignificant in the scheme of things. The dust settling on earth from meteorites each day dwarfs the effects of FinalFlight.
Why is the 50% Deposit Not Refundable if you Change your Mind?
It is to cover the costs of the work carried out. Once you book with us we are committed to ensuring the FinalFlight is everything you expect it to be. We immediately order equipment, ags, balloons and people to cover the work. They all have a cost to us whether you proceed or not. Ordering commences once the booking is made to ensure that we have the resources ready for your family.
Do You Supply Alcohol?
No, just soft drinks, mineral water, water and other similar beverages. You are however welcome to bring your own in moderation. it is essential that you do not drink and drive.
Is Accommodation Available Near the FinalFlight Site?
Yes, hotel accommodation is available nearby in Braidwood or West Wyalong or Forbes.
We have a Scientific or Advertising Payload. Can we launch it with FinalFlight?
FinalFlight does not handle these launches directly, but can pass you to our commercial team that is capable of building complex payloads for virtually any purpose. Contact us using our form or phone number and we will connect you with the right people.
Note that the list of FAQs does not cover every question. Use the contact form to ask anything you wish about our services.