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.
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.
In an effort to cut down on the more than 2,000 false distress signals it receives each year from emergency locator transmitters (ELT) and emergency position indicating radio beacons, the Civil Air Patrol has launched its “Don’t Trash the Beacon” public awareness campaign. “The false-alarm rate is between 90- and 95-percent now,” said John Demarais, CAP’s deputy director for operations.
The royal air force of Oman has signed a $1.5 million contract with SARBE for new generation beacons to replace SARBE 6 beacons by the end of this year. The previous generation beacons will become obsolete on February 1, 2009, as analog transmissions will no longer be monitored by the COSPAS-SARSAT network. Beyond that date only 406MHz signals will be detected.
Sarbe is synonymous with search and rescue and personal locator beacons (PLBs) and the Signature Industries’ company is launching a new emergency locator transmitter (ELT) approved to Cospas-Sarsat standards. The new product was initially developed to support the requirements of a major export customer who had concerns about the crash survivability of existing ELTs carried in military rotary-wing aircraft.
Imagine that a malfunction on an aircraft forces the captain to make an emergency crash landing in the middle of an unforgiving landmass, such as Siberia, a thousand miles from anywhere. There are survivors, but in the frozen wastes of the north, with roads at a premium, there is little hope and not much time. Even the nearest hospital is completely out of reach.