One respondent expressed concern over the cost of replacing the 121.5 ELT in his aircraft with a 406 system. This week, during the afternoon, an aircraft owner reinstalled his 121.5 ELT in his floatplane while it was in his boat house/hanger at his rural home. Unfortunately the ELT was activated. The owner finished up, had supper and eventually when to bed.Thank you for your insights, George!
The signal was picked up by a commercial overflight and reported. A light aircraft flew a search pattern until dusk but could not see anything. During the evening a C130 and a helicopter were dispatched. Two ground crews were also called in. During the night the C130 was able to resolve the search area to a small general area and made many low level passes, dropping over 20 flares to illuminate the area but they could not see the source of the beacon. The noise of the aircraft plus the flares woke the aircraft owner and at approximately 3am he turned off the beacon but did not notify any authority. The C130 had to return to base as it was low on fuel, the helicopter followed after the beacon stopped transmitting. The ground crews stood down until dawn.
The hydro wires acted as an antenna for the transmitter so the signal was equally strong anywhere in the square defined by the concession roads surrounding the owner’s property. In the morning another ground crew commenced a house by house search and finally located the source.
The respondent should consider the cost the aircraft owner in the above situation is facing;
- Light aircraft plus crew for four hours
- C130 plus crew for six hours
- Helicopter plus crew for four hours
- Three trucks plus ground crews for an average of eight hours per crew.
With a 406 ELT the aircraft owner would have got a phone call and likely would have simply been told to turn the beacon off.
Friday, April 27, 2007
I recently received this very cogent comment on my earlier post on 406 MHz ELTs. Many aircraft owners have complained about the cost of replacing their old 121.5 MHz ELTs, so I thought it would be appropriate to promote this comment to a separate posting.