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406 ELT Prices Falling

By Ian Brown, EAA# 657159

February 2016 - We discussed the attractive price of the ACK E-04 emergency locator transmitter (ELT) upgrade to the older E-01 model. At $569 U.S. it looked like a very good price for an upgrade, considering it came with longer-lasting five-year lithium batteries.

I had mentioned in the September report that manufacturers reveal their new prices in the new year, and it seems that this was a good item for which to “wait and see.”

In the last month the price has come down even more, and you can find the same ACK 121.5 ELT upgrade to 406/121.5 for US$431 or thereabouts, and it’s available for around that price through Aircraft Spruce (CA$641 plus taxes), Gulf Coast Avionics, and others. If you already had the earlier model, the same remote panel indicator is used and most of the wiring is reused as well as the mounting cradle.

You Have Five Years!

The replacement battery cost may seem high, but by my calculations it’s actually cheaper to replace the lithium battery pack every five years than to replace the 8 D batteries if you are buying fresh ones every year.

Check that your supplier is going to do the programming for you. I’m assured that Gulf Coast Avionics will do all the programming and that an amateur-built Canadian aircraft can have its 406 ELT installed by the owner, leaving only registration with Transport Canada as the owner’s responsibility.

This is going to be one of those good winter projects, and important to do before any long trips, especially solo cross-country. I recently read of a pilot whose life was probably saved after an accident at a remote airport in which the pilot’s back was broken, thanks to a combination of the 406 ELT providing accurate location and some good follow-through by local police and ambulance services.

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