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Emergency Services Available to Pilots

121.5 MHz or 243.0 MHz ELT’s onboard will have

to depend upon either a nearby Air Traffic Control

facility receiving the alert signal or an overflying

aircraft monitoring 121.5 MHz or 243.0 MHz

detecting the alert. To ensure adequate monitoring of

these frequencies and timely alerts after 2009, all

airborne pilots should periodically monitor these

frequencies to try and detect an activated

121.5/243.0 MHz ELT.

b. Testing.


ELTs should be tested in accordance with the

manufacturer’s instructions, preferably in a shielded

or screened room or specially designed test container

to prevent the broadcast of signals which could

trigger a false alert.


When this cannot be done, aircraft operation-

al testing is authorized as follows:


Analog 121.5/243 MHz ELTs should only

be tested during the first 5 minutes after any hour. If

operational tests must be made outside of this period,

they should be coordinated with the nearest FAA

Control Tower or FSS. Tests should be no longer than

three audible sweeps. If the antenna is removable, a

dummy load should be substituted during test



Digital 406 MHz ELTs should only be

tested in accordance with the unit’s manufacturer’s



Airborne tests are not authorized.

c. False Alarms.


Caution should be exercised to prevent the

inadvertent activation of ELTs in the air or while they

are being handled on the ground. Accidental or

unauthorized activation will generate an emergency

signal that cannot be distinguished from the real

thing, leading to expensive and frustrating searches.

A false ELT signal could also interfere with genuine

emergency transmissions and hinder or prevent the

timely location of crash sites. Frequent false alarms

could also result in complacency and decrease the

vigorous reaction that must be attached to all ELT



Numerous cases of inadvertent activation

have occurred as a result of aerobatics, hard landings,

movement by ground crews and aircraft mainte-

nance. These false alarms can be minimized by

monitoring 121.5 MHz and/or 243.0 MHz as follows:


In flight when a receiver is available.


Before engine shut down at the end of

each flight.


When the ELT is handled during installa-

tion or maintenance.


When maintenance is being performed

near the ELT.


When a ground crew moves the aircraft.


If an ELT signal is heard, turn off the

aircraft’s ELT to determine if it is transmitting. If it

has been activated, maintenance might be required

before the unit is returned to the “ARMED” position.

You should contact the nearest Air Traffic facility and

notify it of the inadvertent activation.

d. Inflight Monitoring and Reporting.


Pilots are encouraged to monitor 121.5 MHz

and/or 243.0 MHz while inflight to assist in

identifying possible emergency ELT transmissions.

On receiving a signal, report the following

information to the nearest air traffic facility:


Your position at the time the signal was

first heard.


Your position at the time the signal was

last heard.


Your position at maximum signal



Your flight altitudes and frequency on

which the emergency signal was heard: 121.5 MHz or

243.0 MHz. If possible, positions should be given

relative to a navigation aid. If the aircraft has homing

equipment, provide the bearing to the emergency

signal with each reported position.



5. FAA K

9 Explosives Detection

Team Program


The FAA’s Office of Civil Aviation Security

Operations manages the FAA K−9 Explosives

Detection Team Program which was established in

1972. Through a unique agreement with law

enforcement agencies and airport authorities, the

FAA has strategically placed FAA−certified K−9

teams (a team is one handler and one dog) at airports

throughout the country. If a bomb threat is received

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