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Register your 406 ELT


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  • 1 month later...

Just a note to say the 406 really works!


Made a stop with my new "old" CTLS and after shutting down I decided to check my NEW ELT. SO I pressed the ON button and then RESET 3 seconds later. Lights worked fine.


Within 10 minutes I get a cell phone call from the former owner saying the authorities had called him asking if the plane was OK. Please call Capt. Pittman at xxx-xxx-xxxx and tell him so.


WOW. Sure surprised me. Anyway glad to know it really works!



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Since most 406 MHz ELTs include a low-powered 121.5 MHz homing transmitter, the challenge for the person doing the annual ELT check is how to satisfy the FAA requirement without violating the FCC regulations. Since in most cases the person doing the testing has no way to monitor the406 MHz emitted coded signal with-out special equipment and can there-fore only listen for the activation of the121.5 MHz homing signal of the combined 406/121.5 MHz ELT.


Short of a change in the regulation, the following is one means of conducting the test. Remember, the purpose of test is to check the aircraft's installed system from ELT transmitter to its antenna.


Anyone testing any ELT should follow the manufacturer's recommended procedures. If those procedures are not available and cannot be found, the following is one procedure that has been coordinated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which operates the United States portion of the inter-national satellite-based search and rescue system that monitors and processes distress beacon alerts.


Owners of 406 MHz ELTs should limit any test to less than 30 seconds. This will preclude the satellites from receiving a signal from the 406 MHz beacon when activated to the 'ON' condition or switch position while testing the 121.5 MHz ELT portion of a combined ELT. This will prevent the government from initiating a search and rescue action. There have been numerous reports of unintentional activation of the combined ELTs when periodic maintenance testing of the 121.5MHz signal is tested to assure proper performance. Activating the 'ON' function, which is part of the remote control panel rather than gaining access to the combined ELT and activating the 'TEST' function, has led to violations administered from the FCC and causes emergency responders to react in an attempt to locate a downed air craft. If the selection to the 'ON' position is minimized to 30seconds or less, there is sufficient time protection to prevent crossing the 50-second time threshold for activating the 406MHz locator signal. Operators should advise their maintenance personnel of this limitation and possible vulnerability to violations or sanctions.


The following are excerpts from AIM section 6-2-5, Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), dealing with testing, false alarms, and reporting.



1. ELTs should be tested in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. This should be done, preferably, in a shielded or screened room or specially designed test container to prevent the broadcast of signals, which could trigger a false alert.


2. When this cannot be done, aircraft operational testing is authorized as follows:


(a)    Analog 121.5/243 MHz ELTs should only be tested during the first five minutes after any hour. If operational tests must be made outside of this period, they should be coordinated with the nearest FAA Control Tower or Flight Ser-vice Station. Tests should be no longer than three audible weeps. If the antenna is removable, a dummy load should be substituted during test procedures.


(B)   Digital 406 MHz ELTs should only be tested in accordance with the unit's manufacturer's instructions.


©    Airborne tests are not authorized.


False Alarms

1. Caution should be exercised to prevent the inadvertent activation of ELTs in the air or while they are being handled on the ground. Accidental or unauthorized activation will generate an emergency signal that cannot be distinguished from the real thing, leading to expensive and frustrating searches. A false ELT signal could also interfere with genuine emergency transmissions and hinder or prevent the timely location of crash sites. Frequent false alarms could also result in complacency and de-crease the vigorous reaction that must be attached to all ELT signals.

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