FCC ELT Requirement Update

UPDATE: This is an update to AEA Regulatory Update dated June 21, which reported the Federal Communications Commissions’ actions to prohibit the future certification, manufacture, sale and use of legacy 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters. (For additional information about the FCC rule, visit www.aea.net.)

Today’s update:

  1. The August date listed in the AEA Regulatory Update June 21, is the absolute earliest date the FCC rule could have become effective. Thanks to the efforts of the AOPA, the AEA and other trade associations, the final rule has not been submitted to the Federal Register for publication; therefore, the 60-day clock for implementation of the rule has not begun. As such, at this time, there is no way of knowing if or when this rule will become final.

  2. The FCC has clarified that the rule is targeting legacy TSO C91a type ELTs, which operate primarily on 121.5 MHz, not the general use of frequency 121.5 MHz as the rule implies. Current TSO C126 ELTs are not affected by this ruling.

  3. While the AEA encourages its membership not to sell C91a ELTs to customers without them knowing the latest ruling of the FCC, there is no immediate regulatory need for operators to upgrade their legacy C91a ELTs to the more modern C126 ELTs. For safety reasons, the AEA continues to encourage operators to upgrade their ELTs to the modern C126 ELT. Operators of the legacy C91a ELTs should be made aware the usefulness of their ELTs is very limited, as the justification for the FCC ruling indicates, and most likely will not provide the search-and-rescue capabilities they might expect.

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