Transport Canada Delays 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters Requirement

SUMMARY: Transport Canada Civil Aviation had proposed the mandatory installation of 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters (or an alternate means of compliance) onto Canadian-registered aircraft and foreign-registered aircraft operating in Canadian airspace because of the withdrawal of Cospas/Sarsat monitoring of 121.5 MHz ELT transmissions beginning Feb. 1, 2009. Amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations were being processed to be effective Feb.1, 2009.

The proposed regulations were worded such that all Canadian aircraft operating internationally and domestically would be required to carry a 406 MHz ELT or an alternate ELD (emergency locator device) system, except those specifically excluded, such as ultra-lights, training operations within 25 nm of an airport, flight tests and parachute operations. These exclusions are the same as currently provided under the existing CARs. In addition, internationally registered aircraft operating in Canadian airspace would be subject to the same requirements.

TCCA has advised the AEA that the minister of transport, the Hon. John Baird, has decided TCCA should go back to CARAC to pursue further consultation with industry on the 406 MHz ELT regulation because it did not include viable alternatives to 406 ELTs; although it included language that indicated an alternative method of compliance was possible. TCCA will be forming a new CARAC technical committee to review the proposed regulation and alternative technologies to the 406 MHz ELT, and it expects to convene the first meeting of this committee next month. The AEA will have a representative on the CARAC technical committee to ensure equipment and system installation and maintenance issues are addressed.

The delay in implementing the new regulation means 406 MHz ELT carriage is not mandatory at this time. However, 406 MHz ELTs with 121.5 MHz capability approved to TSO-C126 or C126a may be installed to comply with the existing regulations for carriage of a 121.5 MHz ELT.

AEA COMMENTARY: The AEA is maintaining contact with specialists at TCCA and will participate in the upcoming CARAC process to review the proposed 406 ELT regulations.

Contact Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs, by email at or by phone at 202-589-1144.