France’s Kannad (Booth No. 4541) is unveiling its new 406AF automatic fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT) here at NBAA’07. The compact device has been developed as a cost-effective option for operators of smaller business aircraft, and the whole package is priced at less than $1,000.
The 406AF unit is installed near the aircraft’s tail and is connected to an external antenna. Its sophisticated shock sensor will activate the ELT automatically in the event of a crash.
The ELT can transmit on three frequencies–406.025 MHz, 243 MHz and 121.5 MHz. Kannad representative Christian Belleux said that the three-frequency capability is important because many smaller aircraft currently carry only 121.5-MHz devices, and this frequency will stop being used for emergency locator purposes in February 2009. Some countries are making the 406-MHz frequency mandatory, and ICAO has published a recommendation for this change to be phased in by next July.
According to Belleux, the batteries on the older-generation ELTs have to be replaced about every two years. He argued that it is more cost effective for operators to upgrade to a device like the 406AF rather than put more money into a device that will soon be obsolete. Batteries on the 406AF have a life of six years.
The 406AF is programmed with the aircraft tail number, a serial number or an operator designator. A navigation interface to download the position of the aircraft into the ELT is an option. This allows the distress signal to include a clear identification of the aircraft and its current position to an accuracy of less than one nautical mile. The unit confirms to the crew exactly what message was sent.
The ELT can be operated manually through a remote-control panel in the cockpit, and it has self-test capability for its various parameters. Pilots get an audible and visual alert if the transmitter is activated.
The 2.5-pound device is just over seven inches long and just under four inches in both width and depth. Maintenance consists of a monthly self-test.
Kannad is part of the Martec group, which has experience in developing emergency beacons for aeronautical, maritime and land applications.