Obsolete ELT May Reduce Your Chances Of Survival - OLD 121.5 Mhz Radio ELT vs MORE RECENT 406 Mhz Radio via Satellite ELT
Did you know that by using your 121.5 MHz ELT, you could be risking up to 6 extra hours of search and rescue time, no satellite reception, and a low 15 nautical mile accuracy
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September 9, 2019 - by Swayne Martin - for boldmethod.com
Did you know that by using your 121.5 MHz ELT (EMERGENCY LOCATOR TRANSMITTER), you could be risking up to 6 extra hours of search and rescue time, no satellite reception, and a low 15 nautical mile accuracy? Here's what you need to know about different kinds of ELTs and how they'll work to save your life.
In 2009, the Cospas-Sarsat system ended satellite based monitoring of 121.5/243-MHz frequencies after years of use. But why? According to NOAA, "They (121.5 MHz ELTs) have a 97% false alarm rate, activating properly in only 12% of crashes, and provide no identification data."
Instead, Cospas-Sarsat satellites now monitor for 406 MHz ELTs. "These 406 MHz beacons dramatically reduce the false alert impact on SAR resources, have a higher accident survivability success rate, and decrease the time required to reach accident victims by an average of 6 hours."
The more costly 406 MHz ELTs offer some strong advantages. Beacon unique coding and registration to specific owners means that 70% of false alerts are resolved by phone and radio calls.
Search and rescue groups are afforded first-alert response to 406 MHz ELTs, which means that they'll dispatch and locate a crash site anywhere from 3 to 6 hours sooner (depending on location) than for 121.5 ELTs. This is because 406 MHz success and accuracy levels are far greater than those on 121.5, for which authorities need to first verify that a 121.5 MHz alert was not false.
Also, 406 MHz ELTs offer a 1 to 3 nautical mile accuracy, as compared to 12 to 15 nautical mile accuracy for those only utilizing 121.5 MHz. Many new aircraft come installed with these more capable ELTs...