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Author Topic: New Aussie cheaper 406 beacon  (Read 2655 times)
alice
Recruit

Posts: 42

« on: March 21, 2007, 09:53:13 PM »

Good news from Australia about beacons.  Read all about it at:
http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/Buying_and_registering/Low_cost_406_beacons.asp

And they've got a nice commercial, too, online about Switch to 406.
http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/

Meanwhile, AOPA and CAP are playing the violins like Nero while the USA's beacon industry falls behind Australia's...  What will it take for CAP to show some leadership on a national level on the 121.5 satellite alerting phase-out?  Egads!  CAP still does not have at least a 406 info button on its homepage as it promised a multi-agency government working group it would do more than 2 years ago.
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Alice Mansell, LtCol CAP
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Commercial Tech Imagery
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2007, 03:42:15 AM »

A much more important issue than name tapes. :)
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DNall
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2007, 06:33:01 PM »

We've known cheaper beacons would be coming for years, it's nice to see that starting to happen. We do know where that is headed & roughly where it will settle with regard to CAP. So other than confirmation that we're on the timeline or info for aircraft owners, it's not that big a deal, and certainly beyond our influence.
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Hartley
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Posts: 36

« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2007, 08:52:45 PM »

Hi Guys,

  Just looking thru the new Landfall navigation and West Marine catalogs.. I see both the ACR "Aquafix" and McMurdo "Fastfind" GPS-equipped PLBs for $549, and the non-GPS ACR for $449.

  These guys sell only Marine stuff, so no aircraft ELTs, but the ACR & McMurdo EPIRBs with GPS are just under $900.  (the difference between a PLB and a full EPIRB is that the PLB needs to work for 24 hours and the EPIRB has to run for at least 48 hours (and most EPIRBs have a strobe light built in).  Non-GPS EPIRBs run anywhere from $489 to $629.  Float -free and automatic deployment models cost more.
 (incidentally, West Marine was a little higher than Landfall on almost everything)

  I'm sure an aircraft version (with G-switch and all the attendant certification hurdles) will cost more than a marine unit, but in all fairness, those prices are pretty close to the prices quoted for PLBs in the Australian page..

73 DE Hartley

p.s. I suspect that the Australian dollar figures would look better translated into US dollars..:-)
 
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Pylon
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Michael Kieloch, Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 09:49:03 PM »

p.s. I suspect that the Australian dollar figures would look better translated into US dollars..:-)

Indeed.  ;)

$600 AUD = $483 USD.   
$400 AUD = $322 USD.
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
wingnut
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2007, 03:43:09 AM »

Guys

The US is also moving forward on the 406 ELTs, as of June 2006 the US Coast Guard is no longer responding to 121.5 ELTs, all ships must now have a 406 ELT. the FAA is a litttle slow but I think we will have at least 3 years to change over. Besides the 406 signal we will still be DFing the 121.5 signal that is still going to be used (Lower power).
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sardak
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2007, 04:35:23 AM »

Guys
The US is also moving forward on the 406 ELTs, as of June 2006 the US Coast Guard is ...
Already been discussed over here http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=1714.20

Mike
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Pylon
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Michael Kieloch, Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2007, 12:44:36 PM »

Guys

The US is also moving forward on the 406 ELTs, as of June 2006 the US Coast Guard is no longer responding to 121.5 ELTs, all ships must now have a 406 ELT. the FAA is a litttle slow but I think we will have at least 3 years to change over. Besides the 406 signal we will still be DFing the 121.5 signal that is still going to be used (Lower power).

It's not that people feel the US is behind Australia in switching to 406 MHz, but rather than the Aussies may be ahead of us in developing lower-cost ELTs and EPIRBS for the switch.  Given the staggering cost of one of the new 406 MHz ELT's, I can understand the demand for lower-cost options.
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
alice
Recruit

Posts: 42

« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2007, 08:56:20 PM »

Right, my point was the Aussies are way ahead of the USA. Plus the fact the whole USA effort on "Switch to 406" has stalled in the aviation world.

There was talk a couple of years ago about trying to get FAA to change the FARs to allow carriage after 1 Feb 2009 of a 406 PLB in lieu of a 121.5 ELT.  The PLB could be in a flight kit, pocket or a simple bracket near the pilot.  That would eliminate all the cost of installing a 406 beacon in an aircraft with an antena through the airframe.  I seem to remember the Aussies allowing that option for small planes.

After reading the recent CAP Winter Board meeting notes, given CAP has a newly renamed "community" full-time person and we've all sorts of public affairs, ES and safety officers in our squadrons, why CAP can't make 406  ELT and PLB public education a serious national priority puzzles me.  And we have an MOU with the USCGAuxiliary -- we could do joint ELT/EPRIB education with them, too. 
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Alice Mansell, LtCol CAP
sardak
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Posts: 1,250

« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2007, 12:08:42 AM »

Australian Civil Aviation Regulation 252A does allow a portable ELT to be carried in lieu of a fixed ELT on the aircraft.  However, there is no requirement that the fixed or portable ELT be a 406 beacon.

For CAP to be out promoting the switch to 406 MHz ELTs, it must be switching, too.  New Cessnas come with a 406 MHz ELT.  From what I've been told, when old ELTs need to be replaced, CAP is replacing them with 406 beacons.   Perhaps CAP has a master plan to replace all ELTs with 406 beacons before 2009, but I doubt it.  If it did, one would think that CAP would be out telling the aviation community why all aircraft owners should be switching, too.

As I said in the other thread, I think I know why CAP isn't promoting the switch to 406 beacons, and I don't like the probable reasons.

Mike
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alice
Recruit

Posts: 42

« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2007, 10:47:15 PM »

Sardak:  No, CAP HQ is **not** replacing failed old 121.5 ELTs with 406s.  The CAP aircraft assigned to my local squadron had its ELT fail last year and it was not replaced.  Just "repaired" and put right back in.  The oldest TSO 91 model.  Oh joy.  A wonder it still sorta kinda "works."

Got so mad, I asked around and found out CAP hasn't a budget or any real plan to retrofit the fleet to 406 before 1 Feb 09 even when a beacon fails so badly it has to be pulled out.

Funny thing.... USCG effectively does not allow old 121.5 beacons anymore to be repaired and reinstalled.  They are facing the 1 Feb 09 phase-out with a sane brain.

What is the CAP leadership thinking?!  What do you think they intend to do after 1 Feb 09 if one of our own CAP  planes goes down with just a 121.5 beacon aboard?   Or we have a search aircrew killed looking for someone else with just an old 121.5 model?

Must every SAR advancement come after someone dies needlessly and very publically?  What is this?!  The "Good Job Brownie" Death Spiral?

Is CAP a "leading" search and rescue outfit or not?
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Alice Mansell, LtCol CAP
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