FCC Seeks To Outlaw 121.5-MHz ELTs

 - July 7, 2010, 4:52 AM

Aircraft owners in the U.S. are bristling after the Federal Communications Commission last month announced plans to impose a total ban on the “certification, manufacture, importation, sale or continued use of 121.5-MHz ELTs.” FAA regulations require U.S.-registered aircraft to carry fixed emergency locator transmitters, but the rule doesn’t specify whether they should operate on 121.5 or 406 MHz. Although satellites stopped listening on the 121.5-MHz frequency as of Feb. 1, 2009, the frequency is still monitored by ATC, the military and other pilots. AOPA said it is “aggressively pursuing all options” to delay the rule’s adoption, warning of serious economic and operational consequences for more than 220,000 aircraft in the general aviation fleet that still carry 121.5-MHz ELTs. If adopted, the FCC rule could take effect as early
as next month. Breitling’s 121.5 emergency locator wristwatch would be exempt from the ban.