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EAAer Keys Mexican ELT Rule Extension

October 6, 2009 — Thanks to coordination efforts by EAA member Rick Gardner (EAA 791548) of travel service provider Caribbean Sky Tours, the Mexican government extended its emergency locator transmitter (ELT) rules through April 2010 for general aviation aircraft flying in Mexico. The extension will allow certain U.S. pilots operating 121.5 MHz ELTs to fly into Mexico through April 2, 2010, by complying with the following guidelines:

  1. If an aircraft is equipped with a 406 MHz ELT, there are no restrictions.
  2. If an aircraft has a new ELT installed on or after October 2, 2009, it must be a 406 MHz ELT.
  3. If an aircraft is still equipped with a 121.5 MHz ELT, it can continue to fly into Mexico:
    1. Until the ELT battery expires or the ELT needs to be replaced, or;
    2. Until April 2, 2010.
  4. After April 2, 2010 all general aviation aircraft flying into Mexico must be equipped with an operable 406 MHz ELT.

Gardner and his wife, Pia, own and operate Cancun, Mexico-based Caribbean Sky Tours, which offers a variety of travel services for pilots flying to the Bahamas, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. They are longtime AirVenture and Sun ’n Fun exhibitors and regularly conduct forums on flying to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as other international travel-related subjects (including the Customs and Border Patrol’s e-APIS requirements).

Gardner worked directly with the Direccion General De Aeronautica Civil (DGAC - the Mexican equivalent of the FAA) on the 406 MHz ELT regulation for the last two years. This extension decision by the DGCA is the product of those efforts.

“We have had a very good relationship with the DGAC for many years and have worked together on a number of different issues to facilitate the arrival of visiting general aviation aircraft into Mexico,” he said. “We are also on the executive council of the Mexican Federation of Pilots (FEMPPA) and are an authorized distributor for INEGI, the Mexican charting office, which allows us to stay abreast of Mexican aeronautical issues and products.”

Randy Hansen, EAA government relations director, notes that EAA has worked in partnership with Gardner for many years in resolving U.S./Mexico border crossing issues. “Based on his outstanding working relationship with our southern neighbors, EAA encourages members planning on flying to or from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean to consult with Caribbean Sky Tours,” Hansen said. “They’re uniquely qualified to answer your international flying questions.”

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