SOFRS: Is filing a Flight Request (FR) Required?

A Flight Request is required any time you are requesting to conduct airborne science research using ASP core aircraft, facility instruments, science support assets, and/or ESD funding.  Please see the “Decision Tree for Filing a Flight Request in SOFRS” below to determine if filing a Flight Request is required in your case. Also, if you are proposing to a ROSES call using an aircraft, you must file a Flight Request on the SOFRS website to obtain a valid cost estimate.

 

SOFRS: Can I file a Flight Request even if it’s not required?

Yes, you can still create and submit your Flight Requests in SOFRS if you choose, as well as submit your flight reports. Optional Flight Requests will still receive log numbers, but will no longer receive approval, meaning the requests will now remain “Open” until the end of the fiscal year, upon which we will change the status to “Closed.” Please note: pledged funding amounts and the completion of AFSRBs will no longer be verified for optional Flight Requests. All aircraft operations using NASA funds, instruments, assets or personnel are subject to compliance with NASA NPR 7900.3C  and should be coordinated with you local center’s Aircraft Management Office.

SOFRS: How do I file a Flight Request?

Step by step instructions for filing a Flight Request can be found at the link on the SOFRS home page (https://airbornescience.nasa.gov/sofrs).

SOFRS: How do I get a user account?

Go to: https://airbornescience.nasa.gov/sofrs and click >Create New Account on the left side bar.  Enter your email address and desired username.  Check your email for a confirmation email and follow the instructions within to set your password.

SOFRS: What information is required for filing a Flight Request?

All of the information requested in the form is important for understanding your request, creating an accurate estimate, tracking and reporting progress throughout the life of your request, however, missing info will not necessarily hold up the submittal.  There is, however, certain basic information (PI, aircraft, sensor, dates of data collection, mission location, funding source, and science concurrence) that is critical to ensure your request is properly routed, addressed in a timely manner and processed for approval.  When a flight request is submitted without this important information, a reminder will pop up but you can still submit the request.

SOFRS: I am the PI. Can I have someone else submit a Flight Request for me?

Yes, the person who submits the flight request is the owner, but they can list you as the PI and submit the request. You will then have access to go in and make changes to the FR as needed, otherwise the owner can continue to update the request.

SOFRS: Can I update a Flight Request after it has been submitted?

Yes, a Flight Request can be edited until it has been approved.

SOFRS: What if I have to edit my Flight Request after it has been approved?

Contact the curators (Vidal Salazar at vidal.salazar@nasa.gov or Sommer Beddingfield at sommer.l.beddingfield@nasa.gov) and let them know the changes you need to make. They can return the status of the FR to OPEN so you can make changes, but your request will likely need to go back through the approval process to ensure all the stakeholders are aware of any significant changes.  Be sure to put the FR log number in the title of all emails regarding FRs. 

SOFRS: Who can edit my Flight Request?

The FRs are editable, after they have been submitted, by the “Owner” (the person who enters the FR), the PI and anyone who has been entered as an “Associated User” with the edit check box checked.

SOFRS: What do the options under “Request Type” mean?

normal FR is a request for a planned flight opportunity; while a placeholder is for a project in the proposal process (this informs the program of anticipated need for purposes of scheduling missions and allows the PI to get a good cost estimate for the proposal). Piggyback is a no flight cost instrument addition to an existing approved Flight Request mission.  Costs related to integration and other mission peculiar costs for the piggyback instrument will be the responsibility of the piggyback group.  The goals of the piggyback instrument cannot change flight track. Flight tracks are determined by the host FR only and piggyback requests are usually accepted on a non-interference basis.

SOFRS: What if I don’t know a funding source?

You can leave that field blank until you know who will be funding your flights. However, that information is required for Flight Request approval.

SOFRS: What do I do if my funding source is not listed in the pull down list?

Below the pull down menu of Funding Sources is a link to “Create a new Funding Source”.  Click that link and fill in the Funding Source’s contact information. The Funding Source will then need to activate a SOFRS account.

 

SOFRS: When do I need to identify a Science Concurrence?

If funding is from a NASA SMD source, no Science Concurrence is required. If you are requesting to use a NASA aircraft and your funding is NOT from NASA, you will need a Science Concurrence from the pull-down menu in order to obtain a NASA subsidized flight hour rate. Discuss this with your NASA aircraft manager when they contact you. You should speak with the individual who may grant your Science Concurrence early in the process so he/she has a good understanding of what you are trying to do and is sure he/she agrees that this effort aligns with NASA’s goals and the aircraft manager can then accurately determine the cost of the FR. 

SOFRS: I am using a Non-NASA aircraft so a Non-NASA Aircraft Review will be required. How do I get one?

These are conducted by NASA Centers that have a Flight Operations organization, usually the one that processed the contract to obtain the aircraft service. A person from the appropriate center will contact you after your FR is submitted and prior to your flight dates. If your flights will take place in international territories, the process is likely take several months.

 

SOFRS: How do I edit an FR?

From the SOFRS homepage, select “Flight Requests” from the menu on the left side of the page.  This will present you with a list of Flight Requests you are associated with.  Click on the FR you wish to edit.  On the right side of each section of the FR are View and Edit links, click Edit and when you are finished click View.  You can edit your FR until it has been Approved. After that, if you need to make changes, you will need to contact the curators (Vidal Salazar at vidal.salazar@nasa.gov, or Sommer Beddingfield at sommer.l.beddingfield@nasa.gov).  Be sure to put the FR log number in the title of all emails regarding FRs. 

SOFRS: How do I know if the planes are available when I want to use them?

Overview and detailed schedules of the NASA Airborne Science Program (ASP) aircraft are on the ASP site under “Platforms” or at:

http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/aircraft_overview_cal

http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/aircraft_detailed_cal

These schedules will give you a general idea of the aircraft’s availability but you will need to discuss your schedule with the aircraft manager when they contact you.

SOFRS: If I just need a cost estimate for a proposal, how do I get it?

By entering your FR and choosing “Placeholder” as the “Request Type” on the Flight Request form, you let the aircraft manager know that you are responding to a proposal.  

The contact information for each NASA aircraft manager can be found on the ASP site under “Platforms” or at:  http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/aircraft by clicking the specific aircraft or through the call letter at the bottom left of the Airborne Science Program website.

SOFRS: What is the Approval Process for flight requests?

  1. Prior to the scheduled flights, your Flight Request will need to be “Approved”.
  2. Once your FR has a Funding Source identified (and a Science Concurrence, if necessary) and the aircraft manager or organization has provided the Cost and Flight Hour estimates, your FR can be sent through the approval process by the curators.
  3. The curators will contact the Funding Source to obtain his/her approval for the amount of funding to be provided. When that is obtained, if necessary, concurrence will be requested from the Science Concurrence to ensure that the FR is within NASA goals.  If you are using an instrument that requires Instrument Concurrence (AVIRIS, UAVSAR) this will be obtained at this time. The ASP Director will then be contacted for approval. 
  4. If you are using a NON-NASA aircraft, completion of a NASA Flight Safety Review will be required prior to approval by the ASP Director.
  5. Once approved, the curators will mark the FR approved and an automatic notification will be sent to the people listed on the request.

SOFRS: What is a Flight Report and how do I submit one?

Flight Reports are used to update the total flight time used and remaining for a Flight Request, and should be filed after every flight.  One flight report is sufficient for multiple short flights on the same day or for a long flight that covers more than one calendar day.  Flight Reports for NASA aircraft are usually submitted by the aircraft lead or mission manager. If you are using a non-NASA aircraft, the PI, the FR Owner or one of the Associated Users will need to submit them. One report MUST be submitted for each day a flight is flown at https://airbornescience.nasa.gov/node/add/flt-reports.

 You will find “Submit Flight Report” under the “Platforms” heading on the ASP site. If you cannot see “Submit Flight Report”, check to be sure you are logged in to the site.  If you still cannot submit the report, please contact the curators (Vidal Salazar at vidal.salazar@nasa.gov, or Sommer Beddingfield at sommer.l.beddingfield@nasa.gov) for assistance.

SOFRS: How do I get on the Call Letter Distribution list?

The most current Call Letter can always be found on the ASP website below the left hand menu in the “Documents” box. If you submit a Flight Request you will be added to the list. Otherwise, you can contact the curators (Vidal Salazar at vidal.salazar@nasa.gov, or Sommer Beddingfield at sommer.l.beddingfield@nasa.gov) to be added to the list.