ELTs are specifically designed for use on aircrafts. They can be activated automatically under the force of an impact such as a crash, or manually by someone aboard. Currently, ELTs available to aircraft owners operate on two different frequencies for satellite alerting: 406 MHz digital emergency beacons and 121.5/243 MHz analog emergency beacons.
As of February 1st 2009, 121.5/243.0 MHz emergency beacons no longer alert search and rescue authorities thought Cospas-Sarsat, the international satellite system for search and rescue. Only signals from 406 MHz emergency beacons will be processed.
A comparison of the 406 MHz and 121.5/243 MHz emergency beacons is available here.
Who needs an ELT
The Canadian Aviation Regulations, Section 605.38 identifies which aircraft require an ELT to operate in Canada.
What ELTs are approved for use in Canada
Industry Canada's radio standards specification for ELTs is available in RSS-287.
Transport Canada's list of Approved Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) for use in Canada.
Where to buy an ELT
Using the list of approved ELTs, you can contact your nearest aircraft parts supplier to order an ELT. It is important to ensure that the 406 MHz ELT is country coded for use in Canada. An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer will be able to code the emergency beacon for you.
What information is needed to code you ELT
If your aircraft requires an ELT, it must be coded as per Transport Canada required protocol noted in Airworthiness Manual Chapter 551. In order to code your ELT, you must provide your 24 bit aircraft address to the individual coding your ELT. This number can be found on your Transport Canada registration. To locate your 24 bit aircraft address online, please consult the
Canadian Civil Aircraft Register.
Registering your ELT
The Canadian Aviation Regulations 605.38 states that 406 MHz ELTs must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry. The information contained in the registry includes the owner's name, aircraft details and emergency contact information. Search and rescue authorities cross-reference the emergency beacon ID with the registry and with a single phone call can determine if the distress signal is a false alert or can collect additional details in order to better respond to the incident.
Disposal of your ELT
At the end of an ELT's useful life, it is vital that it be disposed of safely. Information about the proper disposal of emergency beacons can be found here.