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Latest status for operational data collectionexternal link

September 2016

In 2014, the management of the ARSF was transferred to the British Antarctic Survey. The ARSF has now been renamed the NERC Airborne Research Facility (NERC ARF), but retains its worldwide remit and suite of airborne remote sensing instrumentation. A current Announcement of Opportunity for NERC funded science (PDF document) is available and our normal support of grant funded research is not affected. The new website address is www.bas.ac.uk/nerc-arfexternal link.

May 2015

The Dornier 228 is currently carrying GHOST. This novel SWIR imager normally flies in the Global Hawk UAV and observes the tropospheric distribution of greenhouse gases (GHOST posterexternal link, (PDF document))".

July 2014

There will NOT be a call for new direct access funded applications. Any persons wishing to use the facility should consider NERC Discovery Scienceexternal link funding or specific science programmesexternal link.

December 2013

In 2014 the Specim Eagle and Hawk hyperspectral sensors will be retired and replaced with a new sensor, the AisaFENIX. The AisaFENIX was delivered to the ARSF in December 2013 and went through some initial testing and calibration which will form the basis of the acceptance process, flight trials will be conducted in February 2014. This will be complemented by the AisaOWL thermal imaging system due to be delivered in Q1 2014.

October 2013

The Satellite Applications Catapult, Astrium and NERC are inviting expressions of interest for airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to be collected in the UK during the month of March 2014.

A user information meetingexternal link to discuss the SAR instruments, data, airborne platform and the process by which successful Expressions of Interest will be selected, will be held at the Satellite Applications Catapult Offices on the Harwell Campus on 21 November 2013.

Call for Expressions of Interest (PDF document)
Data acquisition request form (Word document)

August 2013 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2014 Malaysian Campaign

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2014 Malaysian Campaign are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 29 November 2013.

Further details for Malaysia are available (PDF document)

May 2013 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2014 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2014 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 4 October 2013.

Further details for the UK and Europe are available (PDF document)

January 2013

In response to the findings of a review of NERC aircraft capability, the NERC executive has decided to create an integrated fleet of aircraft for NERC research, survey and polar logistics, combining the airborne capabilities of ARSF (Airborne Research & Survey Facility) and BAS (British Antarctic Survey).

The integrated fleet will build on the internationally recognised skills of ARSF and BAS to provide a worldwide capability and to give the environmental science community access to a range of aircraft platforms and instrumentation. Discussions will start early in 2013 on how the combined capability, which will be managed by BAS, will be operated. An airborne-science planning system, similar to that currently used for research ship cruises will be introduced.

Subject to resolution of remaining issues of certification and instrument fit, the integrated fleet will comprise the five aircraft (Dash 7 and four Twin Otters) currently operated by BAS. NERC will maintain the current volume and capability through much better use of the BAS operated planes (which are currently fully utilised only during the southern hemisphere summer). This will enable NERC to reduce the number of its aircraft, and the Dornier 228 currently operated by ARSF will no longer be deployed.

November 2012

On 8 November the ARSF will be deployed to support a remote sensing campaign in Ethiopia. Return to the UK is planned for the last week in November.

July 2012 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2013 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2013 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 5 October 2012.

Further details for the UK and Europe are available (PDF document)
Further details for Greenland are available (PDF document)

February 2012 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2012 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2012 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 20 April 2012.

Further details for Ethiopia are available (PDF document)
Further details for the Eastern Mediterranean are available (PDF document)

December 2011
Exploration and adventure

Carl Joseph, Acting Head of Airborne Research and Survey Facility (ARSF) attended a reception hosted by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for those involved in exploration and adventure.

The event marked the centenary of Captain Robert Scott's final expedition to the South Pole.

The ARSF is a NERC funded facility providing flexible and cost effective support of high quality research, survey monitoring and training activities, across all seven of NERC's reserach across all science themes.

The ARSF deploys an extensively-modified Dornier 228-101 research aircraft, that provides payload and endurance to enable the flexibility to undertake a variety of science campaigns with different requirements and in different environments.

The ARSF has a wide area of operations and has been deployed in Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, South America, Africa and Australia in support of NERC consortium grants and research programs.

In April 2010 The ARSF aircraft flew a number of research in relation to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.

Data collected from these series of flights were instrumental in asssiting the government to consider its policy on determining acceptable levels of ash contamination in the atmosphere for commercial flights.

Retirement

Following the recent retirement of Mr Peter Purcell, the Head of Airborne Facilities at NERC, the ARSF would like to thank Peter for his exceptional support, effort and drive over the years in developing a world class facility. We wish Peter and Dee the very best wishes for their new life in South Africa.

September 2011 - ARSF questionnaire

The Airborne Research & Survey Facility (ARSF) is due to be reviewed by NERC's Services Review Group (SRG) early in 2012. This is a regular process repeated every five years and is achieved through the evaluation of the facilities capabilities and performance in the period since the last review in 2007, and a review of the continued need for the facility by the academic community.

Since 2008 the ARSF has undergone significant changes, both in levels of equipment (such as the Leica airborne laser scanner) and how we operate, including improvements to data quality, delivery and support services. The means by which experience with the ARSF is captured and reported in the renewal document is via a questionnaire.

The questionnaire is online and only takes a small amount of time to complete. The information collected is vital for the ARSF's renewal process and I urge you to complete the questionnaire regardless of whether you are a past, present or potential future user, as, apart from the renewal, the information will guide any future development. Your response will be greatly appreciated and will be needed to ensure the future continuation of the facility as a resource of the research community.

Access the questionnaireexternal link

We will need the questionnaire to be completed before the end of October 2011.

Professor Danny Donoghue
Department of Geography, University of Durham

July 2011 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2012 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2012 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 7 October 2011.

Further details are available (PDF document).

December 2010 - Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Annual Conference, 2011

13-15 September 2011, Bournemouth University, UK
Earth Observation in a Changing World

An invitation to submit papers to the RSPSoc 2011 Annual Conference "Earth Observation in a Changing World" has been issued. In particular papers are invited related to RSPSoc Special Interest Groups, ISPRS Working Groups, and NERC Earth Observation Technology Cluster themes. For details on the submission process see the conference websiteexternal link.

Further details of the invite (PDF document)

August 2010 - Announcement of Opportunity - Atmospheric Science, 2011 Flying Season

The ARSF invites direct access applications to be flown in the UK and Europe during a three-week period in October 2011. Closing date for receipt of proposals is 5 November 2010.

Further details of the Opportunity for UK and Europe are available (PDF document)

July 2010

During the summer the ARSF are collecting remotely sensed data from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Italy and Hungary.

May 2010

The ARSF are deployed on a remote sensing campaign based in the eastern Mediterranean region.

April 2010 - ARSF monitoring

Since the 16th of April, the ARSF have been collecting data from the volcanic ash cloud that resulted from the eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland. These data are fed to the Met Office for the evaluation of air safety and for forecasting.

More information may be gained from the press release on the NERC website.

April 2010 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2011 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2011 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 8 October 2010.

Further details for UK and Europe are available (PDF document).

February 2010 - ARSF overseas

On 1 March 2010 the ARSF are due to deploy to the Caribbean to survey the Soufriere Hills volcano and Belham Valley area of Montserrat. Return to the UK will be later in that month (by 21 March), when support of UK projects will resume.

January 2010 - Update

Data collection is due to resume on 15 February. Prior to that date the operations crew are conducting planning meetings, fitting and being trained in the operation of new instruments and generally preparing aircraft and instruments for the 2010 flying season.

August 2009 - NERC ARSF workshop

The NERC ARSF (in conjunction with RSPSoc 2009) will be hosting a workshop on the 7th and 8th of September 2009 at the University of Leicester. This bi-annually held workshop has no attendance charge and will contain presentations of research conducted using ARSF collected data and will provide information as to how to access ARSF data, opportunities for advice on aspects of data processing, information concerning the provision of spectral field data and new developments in the ARSF. For information concerning this workshop please contact Gary Llewellyn. To register for the ARSF workshop please contact RSPSoc 2009.

The NERC Airborne Remote Sensing Facility (ARSF) will be holding a dedicated workshop immediately prior to the RSPSoc 2009 Annual Conference in Leicester.

June 2009 - Instrument operator/data manager vacancy - now filled

ARSF is looking to appoint an instrument operator/data manager (PDF document). This role is driven by a growing requirement for acquisition and management of high quality airborne remotely-sensed and in-situ data.

May 2009 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2010 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2010 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 9 October 2009.
Further details for UK and Europe are available (PDF document).
Further details for Greece and Eastern Mediterranean are available (PDF document).

January 2009 - Relocation of ARSF Operations Office

From Monday 12 January, the Airborne Research & Survey Facility will operate from Gloucester Airport (also known as Staverton).

This move is partly due to the inability to secure an acceptable continuation of the lease at Oxford in terms of long-term security of occupation and costs; however the new base will also be more cost-effective, with efficiency gains by means of providing an improved working environment and better operational facilities.

User access and communication procedures remain unchanged.

The new address is:

NERC-ARSF Operations Centre
Firfax House
Meteor Business Park
Cheltenham Road East
Gloucester
GL2 9QL

Tel: 01452 859945 (but for some time the current ARSF phone number will be maintained via automatic transfer).
Fax: TBA
Mobile: (Sci/Ops Coordinator - unchanged) 07919 697851
Email: (all unchanged)
Chief Pilot/Ops Manager cjos@nerc.ac.uk;
Science/Operations Coordinator gaew@nerc.ac.uk;
Copilot/Electronics Officer davd@nerc.ac.uk;
Instrument Specialist pagoy@nerc.ac.uk.

October 2008 - Future Commitments

The ARSF are due to be deployed in Ethiopia during the late October and early November period of 2009. During this period the ARSF will be unable to collect data over the UK.

October 2008 - VOCALS Campaign

Between the 14th October and the 24th of November (2008) the ARSF will be deployed in Arica, Chile, in support of the VOCAL International atmospheric science campaign. On return to the UK the Dornier will undergo a period of end of season maintenance.  

May 2008 - Announcement of Opportunity for 2009 Flying Season

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2009 Flying Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Friday 10 October 2008.
Further details are available (PDF document).

July 2007

Remote Sensing Scientists / Software Engineers - Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) is seeking to recruit two enthusiastic and highly motivated individuals to develop, manage and operate the ARSF data analysis facility.

September 2007

The Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society will be holding its Annual Conference in Newcastle Upon Tyne, hosted by the University of Newcastle and organised by the School of Civil Engineering & Geoscience. The conference will take place 12 to 14 September 2007.

September 2007

The NERC Airborne Research & Survey Facility (ARSF) will be holding a dedicated workshop prior to the main RSPSOC conference, on Tuesday 11 Sept. The workshop will provide an opportunity for projects using ARSF collected data to present their findings and ongoing results.

May 2007

Appointment Opportunities for NERC's Science and Innovation Strategy Board (SISB) - to commence from September 2007. Nomination forms to be returned no later than 04 June 2007.

May 2007 - Announcement of Opportunity 2008

Eligible persons wishing to use the Airborne Research and Survey Facility in the 2008 Season are invited to submit detailed proposals, including a supporting scientific case, by Monday 22 October 2007. Further details are available (PDF document).

May 2007 - Announcement of Opportunity - Ethiopian deployment 2008

Receipt of applications: 2 July 2007 (full details available).

October 2006

ARSF successfully procured the Do-228, which was previously under lease for 5 years.