(05/06/2019) Emergency Locator Transmitter 101:

We had an activation of our ELT last week, resulting in responding phone calls from Search & Rescue.

I thought it would be appropriate to send out some information on its operation.

To begin with, there is no need to touch anything ELT related in normal flight operations.  I suppose some confusion came into play because of the markings on the remote switch on the instrument panel (which by the way is required when installing the newer technology ELT's).

The remote switch has 3 positions: 1. "ON" which is the top position, which when pressed, starts the transmission to the satellite system within 50 seconds. In other words, this activates the ELT giving off the distress signal.  2.  Center position which is marked "ARM/OFF" and is the position of the switch that should always be maintained during normal operations.  and 3.  "TEST"  Let maintenance do the testing.

The "OFF" part of the marking in number 2 above means that the ELT is not emitting a signal (and is armed).

Note that the remote switch is marked "For Emergency Use Only". 

There is a buzzer located in the back of the plane on the panel covering the ELT compartment. It usually cannot be heard while the engine is running, but if the ELT is activated, both the buzzer and the LED light on the panel will be on.

The PML Aero Club currently owns one aircraft, N5231R. 31R is a 1974 C-172M SuperHawk. While she may not be the prettiest of colors she performs exceptionally well with the installed 180hp Lycoming STC from Penn Yan. In addition to the Penn Yan conversion, 31R is equipped with the following:

  • JPI EDM 700


  • Apollo GPS Model GX50

  • Garmin GTX 327 transponder with ADS-B in & out

  • AIRTEX ELT 345