What’s Inside Your Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)? Part I

Whether you’re operating a general aviation aircraft or an aviation enthusiast, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever have an accident while flying and safety equipment may not be top of mind. Of course we all know that aviation incidents occur, and Safran is an integral part of the global system that determines your location as quickly and accurately as possible in the event of an accident so that search and rescue crews can be dispatched at a moment’s notice.

This blog is part one that will review the importance of having an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) with an internal antenna. Our next blog will address the critical differences between the 121.5MHz ELTs that many people still fly with today, versus the 406MHz associated with a GPS.

How can you ensure that your aircraft is best equipped to alert authorities should the unthinkable occur?

In a Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report regarding a helicopter accident which occurred in October 2014 in New-Zealand, it was determined that the antenna cable had separated from the ELT during the crash which delayed the discovery of the wreckage site and the recovery of a pilot. Since there was no signal coming from the ELT, more than eighty hours of helicopter flying was required to find the accident site, along with many hours of ground searching over the course of three days. The TAIC report also highlighted the fact that if the ELT had an integral antenna, it would have possibly reduced the search time needed to locate the crash site.

What are the benefits of an internal antenna?

Many ELTs today rely on an aircraft’s external antenna and GPS equipment, which has the potential to fail in a distress situation. It was for this reason that Safran invested in research and development to bring something innovative to the aviation industry: The Kannad Integra ELT. Only the Integra ELT has a built-in internal antenna and embedded GPS receiver, which can operate independently of the aircraft in the event of an emergency to provide key positioning data for better location accuracy and a higher chance of rescue.

Choose the right ELT

An ELT can often be a piece of equipment that owners let their MRO select. There has been more attention to ELT brands lately as Ameri-King ELTs were decertified last year, and anyone that has an Ameri-King ELT onboard will eventually need to replace it with a new 406MHz ELT. Take your safety into your own hands by placing your trust in a manufacturer that has the world’s most innovative, cost-effective and reliable ELTs to help save your life. The dual antenna feature of the Integra ELT could be the difference of being rescued or not in a distress situation.

Safran is more than just an ELT manufacturer – we also built the network behind the ELT. We are the only end-to-end search and rescue ecosystem company in the world, which means something when every second counts. We’ve been a key player in the Cospas-Sarsat program which has helped save over 40,000 lives since 1982, and we’ve seen the difference a 406MHz ELT can make in an emergency situation.

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