Safety and emergency equipment manufacturer ACR Electronics’ subsidiary Artex is advising customers to upgrade their aging, non-satellite-compatible 121.5/243 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT). The move is in response to an FCC rule that took effect this year prohibiting the manufacture, importation of, or sale of 121.5-MHz ELTs in the U.S. Satellite monitoring of those earlier frequencies was largely discontinued a decade ago, in a switch to the stronger 406-MHz frequency.
“It is crucial that customers are aware that owning a 406-MHz ELT will significantly benefit pilots, passengers, and rescue personnel by enhancing the ability of rescue authorities to find and assist casualties of aircraft crashes,” said ACR v-p of aviation sales Jeffery Geraci.
“The driving factor behind this recommendation is that battery components are no longer available, and 121.5/243-MHz ELTs are no longer satellite compatible,” added Geraci. “ACR has worked hard to keep these legacy ELTs in service for over 35 years, but the timing of the FCC rule, coupled with parts obsolescence, is dictating action.”
Due to the age of legacy ELTs and the difficulty in sourcing parts, battery systems for those Artex units will be obsolete in 2020, and as the company noted, replacing a legacy unit’s battery will only provide compliance with FCC/FAA regulations for the battery’s two-year life. The 406-MHz units, which entered service in 2014, have a five-to-six-year battery life, giving further cost advantage. Artex is currently offering a special promotional rebate to those customers who replace their legacy units.