As reported last month in AIN, under FAA requirements civil jets must be equipped with ELTs starting this month. U.S. operators have been advised to consider installing 406-MHz units because satellite monitoring of 121.5-MHz units is scheduled to end in 2009.
But AIN recently discovered that 406-MHz units will be required for some operators much sooner. Under a little-known JAA requirement and separate ICAO standard, starting next January 1, most large civil airplanes operating internationally must be equipped with at least one 406-MHz ELT.
JAR-OPS 1.820 and ICAO Annex 6 and Annex 10 specify ELTs that transmit on both 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz simultaneously or one 406-MHz unit. In some cases, two ELTs per aircraft will be required. State-owned aircraft (those used by the military, customs, police and so on) are exempted from the 406-MHz requirement, according to ICAO articles.
If you install a 406-MHz ELT or buy an aircraft with one already installed, remember that it must be registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Immediate registration and updating can be done online at www.sarsat. noaa.gov. Upon registration, you will receive a 15-digit unique ID code. Note that you are required to re-register the beacon every two years.