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Mexico to enforce 406 MHz ELT mandate

Pilots planning to fly their aircraft to Mexico must be equipped with a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) beginning June 30.

Mexico will begin enforcing the 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter requirement June 30. AOPA file photo.

The requirement was ordered by Mexico’s Direccion General De Aeronautica Civil (DGAC), ending a series of extensions requested by AOPA since the mandate was originally scheduled to take effect on Jan. 15, 2002.

“AOPA contacted DGAC in early June to request a further extension of the mandate, and we were informed that no further extensions are being entertained due to the cost of equipment being much lower for GA, and Mexico's intention of complying with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) international standard for 406 MHz requirements,” said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director for airspace and air traffic.

Mexican authorities have notified airports that the rule is set to take effect, and pilots should be prepared for a possible ramp check upon arrival at Mexico destinations as of June 30.

The United States, Canada, and Caribbean nations are continuing without 406 MHz ELT requirements, Duke added.

AOPA has opposed attempts to mandate or otherwise require replacement of 121.5/243 MHz ELTs with 406 MHz units, but supports installing them on a voluntary basis.

AOPA recognizes the benefits that can be derived from advanced ELTs now available, but the benefits should be balanced against cost and the needs of aircraft owners.

Individual owners may opt to invest in accident-prevention technology such as Non Required Safety Enhancing Equipment (NORSEE) as an alternative to spending similar amounts of money on a 406 MHz ELT, which is only effective once an accident has occurred, Duke said.

With recent advances in general aviation focused on reducing the cost of producing and equipping GA aircraft, a strategic decision about replacing an ELT should be left to the aircraft owner, he said, adding that AOPA supports and participates in educating pilots and aircraft owners about the limits of 121.5/243 MHz ELTs and the benefits of 406 MHz units.

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Mexico, Flight Planning, Emergency

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