Please see the new NSF Facility and Instrumentation Request Process (FIRP) solicitation which describes the mechanism by which the research community can propose projects that require access to instrumentation and facilities sponsored by the Facilities for Atmospheric Research and Education (FARE) Program in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS).


Requesting Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities

If you are a returning and experienced PI, familiar with the LAOF request process, and looking to access the request system directly, please go to the Project Requests Online system (PRESTO). 

NSF's Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) are available on a competitive basis to all qualified scientists from universities, NCAR, and other U.S. government agencies. Any such scientists who require these facilities and associated services to carry out their research objectives are welcome to submit an NSF proposal requesting the use of the facilities for scientific research. NSF provides guidance on the request process in the FIRP solicitation. All facility deployment is driven by

  • NSF’s merit review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts,
  • the capabilities of a specific platform to carry out the proposed observations, and
  • facility scheduling for the requested time.
  • Additional review criteria as stated in the NSF FIRP solicitation under “Solicitation Specific review criteria.”

The NSF Facilities for Atmospheric Research and Education (FARE) program, within the NCAR & Facilities Section, budgets annually for deployment costs associated with these multi-user facilities. Requests for LAOF are reviewed semi-annually during the Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP) meeting. The feedback and technical evaluations presented by the LAOF Partner Organizations and OFAP Members are considered before NSF makes a final funding decision.

The FARE Program Director determines into which category a request falls. Therefore, the Principal Investigators (PI) must discuss all proposed field activities with the FARE Program Director and Program Officers of the science program to which they are applying.

To learn more about the NSF-established procedures and priorities for requesting the use of the Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities, please follow the links above.

University of Wyoming King Air Update

With the development of the Next Generation King Air, the University of Wyoming will be unable to support any flight requests before December 2023. Read up-to-date progress reports on the next-generation Wyoming King Air. The Next Generation King Air is expected to come online in late 2023. Those wanting to request the UWKA in winter ’23-’24 should work closely with UWKA facility management team. The ability to support projects in that timeframe will depend on the complexity of the proposed payload. The new aircraft will have enhanced air-to-ground communication capabilities, especially useful for educational/outreach projects, and will be able to accommodate existing and new research instrumentation, including radars and lidars, air chemistry, and aerosol in situ probes.


FARE/LAOF Request Manager
Alison Rockwell