AOPA “vigorously opposes” the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s plan to prohibit the future use of emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) that use a 121.5-MHz signal. The proposal will have a negative effect on aviation safety, according to AOPA, and the association told the FCC it should immediately abandon its proposed rule changes and defer to the FAA on matters of aviation safety. According to AOPA, there are more than 200,000 general aviation aircraft still carrying 121.5-MHz ELTs.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the manufacture, sale and use of emergency locator transmitters that broadcast solely on 121.5 MHz. Comments on the NPRM are due 30 days from publication in the Federal Register, according to the National Air Transportation Association. Publication is expected next week.
ACR Electronics CEO Michael Wilkerson believes the best way to keep more boaters, aviators and outdoor enthusiasts safe is to educate them about the value of keeping a 406 MHz emergency beacon close at hand when it’s needed. Because stories about rescue efforts carry considerable weight, ACR Electronics announced its new Survivor Club–www.survivorclub.com–where people who have used an emergency beacon can share their rescue stories on the SurvivorClub.com forum.
Cobham has completed the sale of its U.S.-based rescue beacon business to J.F. Lehman & Co. for $73 million. The UK company also said it has divested its related European operation to management for a nominal sum.
The businesses–ACR Electronics and ACR Electronics Europe–design and manufacture beacons and emergency locator transmitters, with operations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Vienna, Austria, respectively.
Becker Avionics has announced its new airborne BD46 beacon decoder, which it describes as “the most modern, lightweight, competitively priced 406 MHz beacon decoder on the market.”
According to the German manufacturer, the BD406 provides a unique tool for search and rescue (SAR) organizations on land, on water or in the air. It is a fixed installation or portable receiver developed specifically to decode and navigate to 406 MHz Cospas-Sarsat capable beacons (PLBs, SPLBs ELTs or EPIRBs) transmitting the 406 MHz signal with GPS information.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is said to be close to responding to an FAA request that it withdraw a June notice that seeks to impose a total ban on the “certification, manufacture, importation, sale or continued use” of 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters.
Eurocopter and aviation beacon specialist Kannad are introducing a “new-generation” emergency locator transmitter (ELT) that features antenna redundancy. The jointly developed “emergency distress beacon” for helicopters, called Integra, uses a GPS and an integrated antenna. If the external antenna is broken, the Integra beacon’s integrated antenna automatically takes over.
Although the FAA does not specifically require 406-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) for U.S.-registered aircraft, it seems inevitable that owners and operators will eventually adopt the latest technology.