By Kevin Psutka
COPA received the following statement from Transport Canada regarding the status of the ELT regulation:
“Transport Canada will recommend that the emergency locator transmitter regulations be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, pending a Treasury Board Secretariat meeting, which will take place sometime in the Fall 2009.Once published, the regulations will require all aircraft used for commercial, private, or government-run operations to be equipped with either a 406 MHz ELT or an alternate means of emergency location approved by Transport Canada.
The regulations will provide for a transition period of two years to allow sufficient time for stakeholders to adhere to the new requirements.
Aircraft engaged in non-commercial recreational aviation operations that are currently required to be equipped with an ELT, will be required to maintain their ELT.
However, any aircraft not equipped with an ELT capable of broadcasting on the 406 MHz frequency will be required to retain their current ELT and also have on-board a placard that is visible to all passengers. The placard will inform passengers that the aircraft is not equipped with an ELT as recommended by international standards, which may contribute to delays in search and rescue operations. The regulations will provide for a transition period of 90 days to ensure compliance with the additional requirements.”
This statement follows COPA’s efforts to stop the draft regulation, which was released to the Gazette I public consultation process, from going into law in Gazette II. The Transport Minister turned the draft back for more work and the above statement reflects this work and Transport Canada’s intent not to seek more consultation.
It is important to note that the above statement is a statement of intent, not an announcement of the final regulation. The current draft is undergoing internal government review, including legal vetting, and may change again as it works its way through the internal process.
If the final version of the regulation fulfills this intent, privately registered recreational aircraft, including foreign registered aircraft, will be permitted a choice between a 406 ELT (TSO C126), an alternative means and 121.5 ELTs (TSO C91 or C91a).
If you have not converted to 406, please remember that satellite monitoring of 121.5 has ceased as of Feb. 1, 2009 and you should consider carrying an alternative device, file and adhere to a flight plan and use flight following services whenever possible, as well as monitoring 121.5 MHz because this may be the only means of alerting for many of your fellow pilots.
Even if you have converted to 406, you should consider additional measures to improve your chances of your distress being detected and then being found.