Flying to Mexico? Check your ELT

June 11, 2008

In a letter to the DGAC, Mexico’s equivalent of the FAA, AOPA is asking that U.S.-registered aircraft flying in Mexico be exempted from using a 406-MHz ELT (emergency locator transmitter), a requirement set to take effect July 1.

The letter notes that U.S. regulations do not require general aviation aircraft to carry a 406-MHz ELT. “In light of the increased challenges involved in making an international flight to Mexico, along with increased fuel costs, implementing this requirement will have a significant negative impact on general aviation traffic to Mexico with a corresponding negative impact on tourism revenue,” the letter warns.

The 406-MHz ELT requirement would bring Mexico in line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. Canada is considering implementing a similar requirement, and AOPA plans to comment, asking for an exemption from the ELT mandate in Canada for U.S.-registered aircraft.

AOPA opposes any attempt in the United States to mandate or otherwise require the replacement of existing 121.5/243-MHz ELTs with 406-MHz units. While the association recognizes the benefits that can be derived from the advanced ELTs available today, those benefits must be balanced against cost and the needs of the individual aircraft owner. AOPA supports the installation of these more advanced ELTs on a voluntary basis.