NTSB Seeks ELT Inspections for GA Aircraft

 - January 6, 2011, 11:27 AM

The NTSB yesterday issued two safety recommendations stemming from the Aug. 9, 2010 crash of a de Havilland Canada Otter near Aleknagik, Alaska, that killed five, including former Sen. Ted Stevens. It took airborne search teams nearly five hours to locate the aircraft after the accident, as the emergency locator transmitter’s (ELT) mounting bracket and antenna separated in the crash and thus prevented the beacon signal from being properly transmitted. Aircraft involved in the search-and-rescue efforts and satellites did not detect any ELT signals, the NTSB noted. “In this case, the airplane was equipped with a functioning 406-MHz ELT, which can be a tremendous aid to search-and-rescue operations,” said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman. “But this vital life-saving technology won’t do anyone any good if it doesn’t stay connected to the antenna.” In its recommendations, the NTSB wants the FAA to require a detailed inspection of all ELTs installed on general aviation aircraft “to ensure that their mountings maintain their retention capabilities during an accident sequence.”