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New International ELT Regulations
in Effect Outside U.S.
The Search and Rescue satellite system officially stopped monitoring 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) on February 1, 2009, and now
only monitors the newer 406 MHz units. The International
Civil Aviation Organization adopted 406 MHz as the international standard for ELTs, abandoning 121.5 because of
the high false positive signal rate.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not proposed any changes to Federal Aviation Regulation 91.207 (the regulation requiring ELTs in
most airplanes), meaning aircraft owners with 121.5 MHz
ELTs installed will continue to meet the regulation requirements. 121.5 MHz ELTs will continue to be monitored, but
only by ground-based facilities and airborne aircraft that
happen to have their VHF receiver tuned to 121.5. Finding
a downed airplane equipped with a 121.5 MHz ELT will
therefore be more difficult.
This may be reason enough for some airplane owners to
upgrade their ELT. A less-expensive but potentially effective
option for U.S. aircraft owners would be to consider a man-
ually activated 406 MHz personal locator beacon (PLB),
which sends out a distress signal on 406 MHz, or a SPOT
tracking device. Either could be a great supplement to the
ELT installed in the airplane. But neither a SPOT or PLB
meets the regulatory requirement of 91.207 and should not
be considered a means to meet the regulation.
Replica Golden Age Racer Makes First Flight
Another incredible replica of a golden age racer has taken to the skies at Flabob Airport in Riverside, California. Thanks to the vision and resources of
EAA President’s Council member Tom Wathen and the talents of Mark Lightsey and his colleagues at Aerocraftsman
Inc., an Avions Caudron C.460 flew for the first time on
January 28. Among those who helped build the replica are
recent graduates of the Wathen Aviation High School.
The airplane gained fame at the 1936 National Air
Races in Los Angeles, when it shocked its American counterparts by sweeping both the Greve and Thompson tro-phies. The replica is faithful in size and design in every
respect except for the engine (a Fairchild Ranger is under
the cowl, doing excellent stand-in work for the original
six-cylinder Renault Bengali), and the C.460 is finished in
glossy French racing blue.
“Obviously a plane with only 50 minutes on it is far
from proven, but it flew fine,” reported Lightsey, who
made the maiden flight. With the landing gear down
and the power at 27 inches and 2700 rpm, it was cruising
around the pattern at 165 mph.
The project follows in the footsteps of the other replica
racer projects done at Flabob, including the Miles & At-
wood Special, Brown B- 2 racer Miss Los Angeles, Gee Bee Z
City of Springfield, Laird-Turner Special, and de Havilland
Comet racer. All were built and flown from the airport,
with notable aviation talents like the late Bill Turner and
Ed Marquart having a major part in their creation.