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Airborne Research Australia (ARA) was established in 1996 with funding from the Commonwealth Government's Major National Research Facilities Programme and Flinders University as a 100% self-funding research institute within the University.

In January 2016 - through substantial and on-going donations from the Hackett Foundation - ARA became an independent Commonwealth Approved Research Institute in the form of a Not-For-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee (ARSA Ltd) trading under the name ARA .


ARA's projects cover the whole world and are focused on R&D and science applications. ARA has significant Earth observation capability in several areas. For instance, ARA has owned the only (civilian) high altitude sensor platform in the Southern Hemisphere, the Grob G520T Egrett. The aircraft was recently sold back to Grob Aerospace in Germany, but ARA retained a small stake in it for potential further science use.


ARA's staff, the scientists, engineers, technicians, pilots, operations personnel and partners constitute an experienced and accessible team who ensure that the best results are obtained from research projects.

ARA is a 100% self-funding institute.


It receives no base or recurrent funding from any sources. This means that all cost, including staff salaries, have to be covered by external project funding gained by ARA's staff plus (tax-deductible) donations.


If you feel that our work is worthy of your support, please contact the Director of ARA, Dr. Andrew McGrath at

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As we are a Not-For-Profit Approved Research Institute with Deductible Gift Recipient status, your donation would be tax-deductible.

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The core activity of ARA is the use of airborne platforms (special mission aircraft) for a wide range applications and projects, mainly in the Environmental Research & Development area. Most of these projects are based on collaborations with colleagues and institutions within Australia and internationally.

ARA uses specialised aircraft carrying sophisticated sensor packages for the investigation of the atmosphere and the Earth's surface.

The cost-effective and simple integration of complex instrumentation in aircraft is one of the core capabilities of ARA, which also includes design, manufacture and certification of components and systems - best summarised in a quote from the late Tim Crawford of NOAA:

"It is the sophistication of the technology that allows the simplicity of the operation"

ARA is governed by a Board of Directors, most of whom are active scientists.

The members of the Board are:

Mr Keith Cook, Director MAXIM-Foundation and CEO (voluntary) of ArborMeta P/L

Prof. Jorg M. Hacker, Chief Scientist of ARA and Professor (Emeritus) at the College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University


Ms. Roseanne Healy, Economist and Business Analyst, BA (Econ), MBA, MBR (Commerce)


Dr. Andrew McGrath, ARA CEO & Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Fellow at the College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University


Prof. Jan-Peter Muller (Observer), Professor at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Dept. of Space and Climate Physics, University College London, UK

Dr. Mick O'Leary, University of WA, Perth

Prof. Karen Reinke, University of MelbourneP

Prof. Jeffrey Walker, Executive Dean and Professor in the Dept. of Civil Engineering at Monash University   


Current office holders are:

Chair: Prof. Jeffrey Walker

Deputy Chair: Ms. Roseanne Healy

ARA - by means of its Constitution - has a Research Committee overseeing ARA's research activities. Membership of this Committee rotates between the members of the Board.

Current members of this Committee are:

Prof. Jorg M. Hacker (Chair), all other Board Members.


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