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DOT, FAA Comment on FCC 121.5 ELT Proposal

September 5, 2013 - DOT and FAA responded to the FCC's Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks to ban the use of 121.5 MHz ELTs in aircraft.

DOT and FAA remain strongly against the FCC's proposal, noting that while the agencies "agree that 406 MHz ELT technology is an advance over that used in 121.5 MHz-only ELTs ... 49 U.S.C. § 44712(d) sets forth Congress's unequivocal intent to permit the use of 121.5 ELTs in civil aircraft" and that "[w]e continue to find that voluntary equipage and the use of other new technologies best address this recommendation."

"This is the third time that the FCC is attempting to insert itself into aviation safety regarding ELTs, and the third time the FAA politely asked them to drop the issue," said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. "Hopefully the third time is a charm, and the FCC will permanently excuse itself from the business of trying to regulate aviation safety devices, which is the FAA's duty."

EAA is firmly against the proposal, which would make operating aircraft using a 121.5 MHz ELT illegal and require a switch to 406 MHz ELTs.

"The cost associated with such a major, sweeping regulation is completely out of step with whatever, if any, safety benefits would come with having fleet-wide 406 MHz ELTs," Macnair said. "The FCC, however, inexplicably continues trying to force this $500 million overreach onto aviation."

View previous coverage of this issue and EAA's comments to the FCC regarding the third proposal.
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