RAF Instrument Loan Policy

Background

EOL's Research Aviation Facility (RAF) has a process to loan scientific instrumentation or equipment to researchers who have short term needs, participating in an eligible program and don't have the resources to acquire their own instruments or components. This practice is an important service that RAF provides to the atmospheric science community. However, loaned instruments can be inadvertently damaged or can be lost in shipment, and this may place RAF commitments to the NSF-sponsored projects in jeopardy. Therefore, RAF has established an instrument loan policy.

Procedures

RAF has a standing committee to review and make recommendations on instrument loan requests. People who are interested in borrowing an instrument from RAF should contact a member of RAF technical or scientific staff and review the policy statement outlined here. They can also contact one of the committee members to discuss their request. The members include Bill Irwin, Teresa Campos, Kurt Zrubek, Suart Beaton and Jeff Stith. This UCAR Equipment Loan Request Form must be filled out and submitted to RAF by the person making the request.

General Guidelines - RAF facility instruments and infrastructure

RAF follows UCAR and NSF policies on equipment loans to organizations outside of UCAR. The UCAR Property Management Office issues the final approval for all equipment loans for items that bear the UCAR property tag.

RAF is not obligated to loan instruments, and every loan request is considered individually for appropriateness, borrower's experience with the equipment and potential conflicts for the equipment in question for NSF projects. Sometimes RAF may not have time or staff to prepare an instrument for a loan, and then the request will be denied. RAF encourages those who need to borrow an instrument to seek sources other than RAF, first. These sources may include government agencies (NASA, NOAA, NRL), UCAR member universities (Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota and others), or renting from commercial instrument vendors.

When instruments leave RAF for a loan, RAF technical staff will verify that the instruments are in calibration and operating properly. However, no spare parts are included with the loan, and RAF offers no guarantee of performance after equipment leaves RAF. If an instrument fails during the loan period, RAF will not service the instrument to restore its performance, and has to be repaired at the expense of the borrower.

In order to confirm that an instrument is operating properly on its return, we require that it shall pass through an instrument shop on its way back to RAF. The instrument shop will perform inspections, calibrations and tests as appropriate. Instrument shops must be approved by RAF to perform the instrument return inspection. Shops include, but are not limited to: Droplet Measurement Technologies (DMT), Particle Metrics (PMS, phone 303 247-0411), and Stratton Park Engineering Company. The borrower may be approved to perform the inspection. In some cases, RAF may serve as the instrument shop. Costs of the inspection and any necessary parts, repairs or adjustments will be borne entirely by the borrower. For example, the cost of an inspection and calibration check is usually about $1,000 for a DMT or PMS instrument.

The borrower is required to carry insurance to cover complete replacement of the instrument at current cost in case it is lost or damaged in shipment. RAF will provide an estimate of the replacement cost. In case the instrument is lost or destroyed during use or in shipment, the borrower is responsible for providing a working replacement to RAF.

HAIS instrument loans

The HAIS (HIAPER Airborne Instrumentation Solicitation) instrument suite consists of several advanced instruments, which are generally not loaned to external requestors. Any use of HAIS instruments on a non-NSF project must be approved by the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) Program Officer. The HAIS instrument loan request should be submitted to Jorgen Jensen, jbj@ucar.edu and will be reviewed by EOL and NSF LAOF program office. Typically HAIS instrument loans are subject to System Use Rate (SUR), which is a charge per day of use determined individualy for each HAIS instrument. Contact Jorgen Jensen for more information.

Infrastructure loans

Frequently requested for loan infrastructure items include GV instrument racks (Main Cabin Equipment, or MCE rack) and HIAPER Modular Inlet (HIMIL) inlets. RAF encourages investigators to plan ahead as much as possible and include fabrication of these items into their instrument development proposals because availability of them for a loan depends heavily on the current project commitments, and can not be guaranteed. To obtain fabrication quotes the interested instrument investigators should contact the EOL Design and Fabrication Services (DFS) Manager James Ranson at jranson@ucar.edu.