ELTThe FAA has banned the use of Velcro-type straps to secure emergency locator transmitters designed and built after Nov. 26 of this year. The new rule came two years after a high-profile crash that killed Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and four others. The ELT aboard the Otter they were on came loose on impact and detached from the antenna. Rescuers found it on the floor in the back of plane, activated but unable to transmit because it wasn’t connected to the antenna. “In this case, the airplane was equipped with a functioning 406 megahertz ELT, which can be a tremendous aid to search and rescue operations,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said following the board’s preliminary investigation. “But this vital life-saving technology won’t do anyone any good if it doesn’t stay connected to the antenna.” The NTSB recommended the FAA review the safety standards for ELT straps and this TSO may have been the result.

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Based on recent history, the NTSB Friday sent two safety recommendations to the FAA requiring operators to inspect the mountings of all ELT transmitters installed on general aviation aircraft to ensure the units don’t break free in a crash. The recommendations (PDF) are the byproduct of the de Havilland turbine Otter crash in Alaska on Aug. 9, 2010, that killed five, including former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

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Implementation Date For The Ban Is Still Not Set In Stone

Effective in August, the FCC is prohibiting further certification, manufacture, importation, sale or use of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters. The date of compliance by the FCC has not yet been announced. AEA, along with other Associations’ leadership, is working with the FAA and the FCC to postpone implementation and resolve this issue, and AEA says it will post weekly updates on the website to address this critical issue.  (See latest info at the bottom of all articles)

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