Airborne Research Consultants, LLC can trace its history back to 1968 when Seattle airfreight entrepreneur, Robert Spurling, formed Dataflight, Inc., and offered the services of his Cessna 180 and Lockheed 60 to the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences for use in airborne research.
These two aircraft were the cornerstones of several successful NSF projects of the fledgling, and later to be famous, Cloud Physics Group. Emboldened by success, young Professor Radke, who by then was disenchanted with the classical European model of sitting on mountain tops or hanging on to ships while waiting for the geophysics to come to him, convinced Spurling to go out on a limb and buy a specialized research aircraft.
Following the recommendation of Dr. Paul McCready (of Gossamer Condor fame) to the National Academy of Sciences, the ideal atmospheric research aircraft then available was a Douglas B-23, Dragon. Spurling and Radke, in a complicated deal with Howard Hughes and The California Co., purchased a Dragon. The Dragon was a huge scientific success and, after Spurling’s untimely death, it was purchased by the University of Washington.
Dataflight continued under new management (D. Veach), as operators of the Convair C131A, which the UW acquired to replace the Dragon (the Dragon now resides in the USAF Museum at McCord AFB). Next, McMillen Enterprises acquired the assets of Dataflight.
About this time Larry Radke left the University of Washington to manage National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Aviation Facility. However, the Gulf War’s potential environmental catastrophe shortly reunited the University of Washington and NCAR teams. There, in an airborne geosciences tour de force, the multi-university and national agency research team quickly determined by direct measurements that the panicky forecasts of environmental catastrophe from the oil well fires were unjustified.
The Persian Gulf expedition drove home the unhappy conclusion that the era of international deployment of aviation gasoline-consuming piston engine aircraft was about over. In response, the UW acquired an ex-FAA Convair 580 and Robert Eatwell, aviation engineer, Larry Sutherland, an ATP pilot, joined the team to create a superb jet prop research aircraft with many desirable features.
Then, as the UW decided that during a period of State financial difficulty it could no longer sustain an aviation facility, this nucleus of pilots, engineers, technologists, and scientists (reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit of their origins), decided to carry on in a commercial capacity. Today, our clients have the benefit of all these years of experience within one organization, Airborne Research Consultants, LLC.
For Scientific Research Enquiries, contact:
Dr. Lawrence F. Radke
Chief Scientist & Director
PO Box 38
Saunderstown, RI 02875
For Engineering and Aircraft Availability, contact:
Robert J. Eatwell
New Cut Lane
Kent ME15 0HU
Land line 44 20 8302 8022 Email: