January 28, 2010
By Ian J. Twombly
ACR Electronics put its foot into the subscription-based personal locator beacon market by acquiring SafeLife Systems, the manufacturer said recently.
By buying SafeLife, ACR is now able to offer beacon testing and non-critical text messaging and e-mail with its devices. ACR PLB owners can register and pay for the annual service online. Basic service that allows for beacon testing is $39.99, and premium service that will send “I’m OK” messages on demand to user-designated contacts is $59.99.
The move puts ACR in direct competition with Spot Satellite Messenger, which offers a device similar to ACR’s PLBs, but without the 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz tracking.
ACR also introduced a new PLB called the SARLink View. The SARLink View is a PLB with 406 MHz, 121.5 MHz, and GPS capability, but the added benefit of a digital readout. The display can tell a user if the GPS and beacon are working, the current GPS coordinates, and how much battery life is left.
The new ACR SARLink View retails for $649.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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