September 2015 Issue

NASA’s Latest Crash Tests

Testing ELTs, so you donít have to.

If there is any one thing guaranteed to frustrate an airplane owneróthere actually are several, but work with us hereóitís the emergency locator transmitter, or ELT. The ELT, which was mandated by Congress in the early 1970s, got off to a bad start. Relatively short deadlines meant there werenít enough of the devices available to meet the mandated demand. And they failed to activate in a crash more than 75 percent of the time. When they did activate, a whopping 97 percent were false alarms, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), resulting from something like a hard landing.

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