17 May 2010

406 ELT Regs Create a Stir

As recently posted on the Flight 8 home page as well as on the COPA website itself it looks like the 406 ELT issue has been decided by the Minister of Transport in favour of the military and not in the favour of small aircraft owners.

The story was also picked up by AvWeb this week: 406 ELTs To Be Required To Fly In Canada By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief where he says "After a brief reprieve, Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird, is reportedly ready to sign a regulation that will require most aircraft operating in Canadian airspace to have 406 MHz ELTs. The rule will apply to foreign-registered aircraft, and those not equipped will not be allowed to enter Canadian airspace."

Niles points out that this rule will not only affect all the Canadian aircraft that have to equip, but also US aircraft that will not be allowed into Canadian airspace without a 406 ELT. This will certainly affect traffic to Alaska and US tourism in Canada.

What do you think of Transport Minister Baird's decision to require 406 ELTs? Will it affect your flying?


Adam Hunt said...

Personally my view while I was working on this issue at COPA was always that you would have to be crazy to rely on a crash notification system that must survive a crash, not be underwater or have its antennae broken off, not burnt up and then would turn itself on and report your position.

It always made much more sense to have a system that transmitted all the time, was fragile and therefore stopped transmitting when you hit the ground.

Radio amateurs and even CASARA have been using a system just like this to track airborne balloons and airplanes for years - the technology to do that has been around since GPS went on the air.

Adam Hunt said...

It is interesting to see what is happening on the 406 story in the USA. As reported in the AvWeb article ELT Technology In Transition By Mary Grady because they aren't mandatory in the US there seems to be less controversy, but pilots seem to be buying them anyway.

Adam Hunt said...

It looks like the Americans got totally blindsided by their own FCC on this issue! What is happening in the USA now makes the Canadian coup look almost democratic!

Read FCC Bans 121.5 ELTs.

Adam Hunt said...

AvWeb has waded in with an editorial from its Canadian Editor in Chief, Russ Niles, on the US move to force 406 ELTs down there. He quotes Kevin Psutka and there is the implication that the US FCC took a page from TC's how to circumvent the rule book and do what the military wants instead.

FCC ELT Rule A Bad Joke?

Adam Hunt said...

There has been a lot more media interest in ELTs recently mostly because in some recent crashes they haven't worked, especially the new 406 ELTs.

Alaskans Question Value Of ELTs By Mary Grady

Let's Ditch ELTs By Russ Niles