IRTF Vehicle Information

(rev. 02/09/2007)

The IRTF provides one vehicle for use by observers with valid driver's licenses during each observing run. Check our Web site vehicle schedule prior to arrival at the Hilo airport to confirm that an IRTF vehicle has been reserved for you. The vehicle schedule frequently changes on very short notice, so be sure to check it as close as possible to your departure. The P.I. of each run is responsible for seeing that he/she and his/her co-investigators comply with the IRTF vehicle usage policies. This is to ensure that vehicles will be ready and waiting in Hilo for arriving visitors, and also have sufficient number of vehicles available for IRTF staff and other observers.

    Each scheduled IRTF observing program is provided one vehicle for transportation between Hilo, Hale Pohaku, and the IRTF telescope. Please take a taxi from the Hilo airport to the IfA Hilo Building at 640 N. A`ohoku Place, side entrance. One-way taxi fare is approximately $12. our vehicle will be waiting for your group in the parking lot of the IfA Hilo building. The key to this vehicle will be in the outside lock box near the side entrance. The combination to this lock box will be sent to you upon receipt of your ORF.

    Only persons with valid driver's license are allowed to drive IRTF vehicles. In order to operate an IRTF vehicle, each driver is required to complete and sign a Driver's Clearance form. You may download the form when filling out your ORF. If this form is not received at least one week prior to your arrival date, an IRTF vehicle will NOT be scheduled for you. You will be responsible for your own transportation to Hale Pohaku, and you may need to arrange for transportation from Hale Pohaku to the summit. Each person in your observing party planning to drive the IRTF vehicle is required to submit a Driver's Clearance form.

    You may use an IRTF vehicle to drive from Hilo to Hale Pohaku before your run and from Hale Pohaku to Hilo after your run. Normally the telescope operator will drive you to and from the summit, but you may drive yourself in another IRTF vehicle if one is available (ask your TO to ensure that nobody is stranded). Do not drive to the summit if you are unfamiliar with the road. All vehicles have automatic transmission. Use 4-wheel drive (usually HIGH range) on all dirt sections of the road, and 2-wheel drive on all asphalt. Two-wheel drive vehicles should not be used from Hale Pohaku to the summit. Familiarize yourself with shifting in and out of 4-wheel drive; ask an IRTF staff member if you have questions. Shift the automatic transmission vehicles into low gear when driving downhill to Hale Pohaku or to the Saddle Road. The unpaved road behind Keck Observatory should not be used under normal conditions in order to keep the dust from the Smithsonian Submm Array.

    Vehicles are not to be used for personal transportation.

    Always keep parked vehicle doors locked and windows rolled up. Remember to remove all personal articles. Never pocket the vehicle keys. While at the IRTF, leave vehicle keys in the control room, and when at Hale Pohaku, leave in the box in the IRTF office.

    Ask your Telescope Operator or check the vehicle schedule for which vehicle you should drive down to Hilo (and at what time) after your run. Before taking a vehicle down to Hilo, be sure that it has at least 1/2 a tank of gas and properly inflated tires. Telescope operators can fill the vehicle gas tanks and tires at Hale Pohaku.

    You are expected to deliver your IRTF vehicle to the IfA Hilo building approximately 1 - 1.5 hr after your HP departure time, specified by you on your Observing Requirements Form. This is essential so that arriving observers will have a vehicle waiting. When leaving the vehicle, please be sure that the windows are closed, lights are off, and doors locked; and place the key in the lock box. Take a taxi from the IfA building to the Hilo airport. A taxi may be called in advance using the mobile phone in the vehicle.

    You are responsible for reporting any problems with IRTF vehicles. Please inform the IRTF day crew or telescope operator if problems occur while on the mountain, or call the summit (808) 974-4210 or IfA Hilo office (932-2300); leave message if necessary) if problems occur when driving down to Hilo. If you get a flat, please try to fix it and also inform the day crew of its status. If you have any other problems, emergencies, or confusion regarding transportation, then call Darryl Watanabe at the IRTF summit or home (808) 315-0760 at any time.

    If you have an accident on Saddle Road, which causes any damage to an IRTF vehicle, call the police (911) immediately to report the accident, then call the IRTF superintendent at the IRTF or at home.