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EAA Seeks GA Relief From Proposed Canada ELT Rule

October 23, 2008 — EAA submitted comments to Transport Canada this week in an effort to reduce complexity and cost burdens on U.S. pilots flying into Canada post-February 1, 2009. On that date Canada will adopt the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard requiring digital 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) in all aircraft during international flights. However, here in the U.S. the FAA is not planning to make any changes to FAR 91.207 (the regulation requiring ELTs in most airplanes) for domestic flights, so many U.S. general aviation (GA) aircraft will remain compliant to U.S. regulations and forgo the upgrade from the existing 121.5 ELTs to the more costly 406 MHz ELTs.

EAA is recommending that United States-registered general aviation aircraft that are in compliance with U.S. ELT regulations (121.5 MHz) be allowed to fly north of the border without 406 MHz units. EAA’s recommendation would apply to all small U.S. registered aircraft - 12,500 pounds gross weight or less with a maximum five seats – claiming an equivalent level of safety under the U.S. ELT regulatory requirements.

“Requiring these U.S aircraft to install 406 MHz ELTs could have an adverse economic impact on general aviation industry and tourism between the U.S. and Canada,” said Randy Hansen, EAA government relations director. “Since the U.S. regulations currently require 121.5 MHz, many aircraft owners will likely opt not to install 406 MHz units and simply choose to stop flying into Canada, and that would be a lose-lose situation. We’re offering a win-win solution.”

If the recommendation is not accepted by TC, EAA offered an alternative that would allow U.S pilots to comply by using a 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) instead of an installed 406 ELT. EAA also asks that pilots who fly common/direct flight routes over Canada between the Northeastern U.S. area and Michigan with no intention of landing at a Canadian airport be allowed to continue doing so.

Denis Browne, chairman of EAA’s Canadian Council, concurs with the EAA’s recommendation, and has submitted comments recommending that Canadian registered GA aircraft also be allowed to fly with a 406 MHz PLB in lieu of an installed 406 MHz ELT.

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