New ELT Requirement Takes effect

 - January 27, 2009, 6:21 AM

Satellite monitoring of 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) will end as of February 1. On that date, the International Cospas-Sarsat Organization will monitor only 406-MHz ELTs, which “transmit a much stronger signal, are more accurate, verifiable and traceable to the registered beacon owner,” the FAA said. According to the agency, only about 15 percent of the registered aircraft in the U.S. are currently flying with 406-MHz ELTs. Those flying aircraft equipped with 121.5-MHz ELTs after February 1 will have to depend on pilots of overflying aircraft or ground stations monitoring this frequency to report distress alert signals transmitted from a possible crash site, the FAA warned. The search-and-rescue community is encouraging aircraft owners to install 406-MHz ELTs or carry a handheld 406-MHz personal locator beacon.