The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) says a pending new Transport Canada regulation that would require new emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) in private aircraft is too expensive and won't help to rescue lost pilots. The new 406 MHz gear would cost the general aviation sector $100 million -- with individual aircraft owners forking out $2,000 to $9,000 each -- and is not effective enough to justify the costs, according to COPA. "The geostationary satellites that receive the 406 alerting signal have limitations in latitude (unreliable above 70 degrees North) and mountainous terrain such that for 40 percent of Canada the ability to receive the 406 signal is degraded," says COPA. The association wants Transport Canada to allow each aircraft owner to decide what equipment is best suited to their own location and operations. The deadline for comments on the pending rule is Oct. 23.
As of Feb. 1, 2009, the international COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system that receives signals from the 121.5/243 MHz frequencies used in many ELTs will be discontinued. AOPA has taken a stand against making 406 MHz ELTs mandatory in the U.S. "The decisions to replace an existing ELT should be left to the discretion of the aircraft owner," says AOPA.