FCC Bans 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) and urges users to switch to 406 MHz ELT by August 2010

121.5 MHz ELT

Effective August 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is prohibiting further manufacturing, certification, usage or sale of 121.5 MHz ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters) in the United States. FCC has not yet announced the final date of compliance . Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), along with other Associations' and organizations leadership, is working with the FCC & FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) trying to postpone the implementation of this ban and to find a resolution for this issue.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a self-regulating U.S. government agency which is responsible for regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. Its authority covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions. FCC in a report released on June 15, 2010 announced from a recent report that it will prohibit selling and using 121.5 MHZ ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter).

The new rule made by FCC is certainly favorable for passengers and pilots in terms of added security but it will lead to additional expenses for the GA owners as they need to buy a new 406 MHz ELT. AEA is making efforts to convince both FCC and FAA to allow additional time for compliance without grounding thousands of general aviation aircraft. FAA hasn’t imposed yet a similar rule made by FCC which shows there is no coordination between the two government bodies. In the end, buying a new 406 MHz might just be the right decision for the aircraft owners and operators as it certainly offers added safety as result of faster search and rescue operations.


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