By David Learmount in London

A call for 406MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) to be carried on all aircraft that fly internationally is being challenged by the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA). The Council says it “has concerns about the reliability of 406MHz ELTs”, and suggests an alternative, such as a personal locator beacon (PLB), should be permitted in light general aviation aircraft.

The proposal comes from the International Civil Aviation Organisation which wants to amend the present standard for the carriage of ELTs on aircraft that operate “extended overwater flights or flights over designated land areas” to include any aircraft that flies internationally, with the proposal to become effective on 1 July 2008.

IAOPA wants the proposal shelved until the reliability of 406MHz ELTs is better researched using search-and-rescue satellite statistics not only for the incidence of successful locations, but the numbers of events “in which either equipment or systems did not perform satisfactorily”.

IAOPA says GA aircraft less than 5,700kg (12,500lb), should be cleared to use any type of ELT or PLB when operating extended flights over water or in regions where it is required to carry survival equipment.

Source: Flight International