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    Thursday
    Jul152010

    Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs)

    If we take a look at what EU Ops 1.820 says on the subject of Emergency Locator Transmitters, it is very brief.  It states that an operator shall not operate an aeroplane authorised to carry 19 passengers or less (effectively all bizjets) unless it is equipped with at least one ELT of any type; or one automatic ELT for aeroplanes first issued with an individual certificate of airworthiness after 1 July 2008.  So, in very basic terms you need to have an ELT on board, and it has to be automatic if your bizjet is reasonably new!  It also goes on to say that an operator shall ensure that all ELTs carried to satisfy the above requirements operate in accordance with the relevant provisions of ICAO Annex 10, Volume III.  This, in very basic terms says that those ELTs installed after 1 January 2002 shall operate simultaneously on 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz.  They have to operate for 24 hours on 406 MHz, and 48 hours on 121.5 MHz.  The 406 MHz frequency also has to be encoded with a unique aircraft indentifying code.

     

    There are other documents you can try to get hold of if you really want to dig deeper.  The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment or EUROCAE for short, issues ED-62 Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for aircraft Emergency Locator Transmitters (406 MHz and 121.5 MHz – optional 243 MHz) .  However, when it comes to knowing how a thing works, the best thing to do is take an example.  The first one I will discuss the one currently fitted to the Dassault Falcons – The Automatic Fixed ELT Model ADT 406 AF/AP.

    The ELT in this photo is fitted on the Falcon 2000 Ex EASy in the aft servicing compartment, and can be seen if you enter, and turn your head to the rear.

     

    It can be activated from a switch in the cockpit, or it will automatically activate when subjected to  2 - 2.6 g.  I did ask the question ‘could it be removed in a survival situation’ because markings on the ELT give that impression.  However, it is ‘fixed’ and can only be removed  by maintenance personnel (usually for maintenance purposes).



    When activated the ELT transmits in accordance with the EUROCAE ED-62, and that is 24 Hours at -20°C on the 406 MHz and 48 hours at -20°C minimum on 121.5 & 243 MHz.  However, during the qualification process it actually achieved above 60 hours on 121.5 and 243 MHz.

    As well as the unique aircraft identifier transmitted on 406 MHz, it can transmit GPS information received from aircraft navigation systems (Latitude and Longitude) when the optional "Navigation Interface" is installed on board the aircraft, and this feature is certified on the Falcons.

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