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Artex debuts small, inexpensive PLBArtex debuts small, inexpensive PLB

'At this price point no one should be without it''At this price point no one should be without it'

ACR Electronics Inc. introduced the Artex Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention and trade show in Las Vegas March 27.

Artex debuted a new compact, inexpensive personal locator beacon at the 2018 Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention and Trade Show. The PLB1 retails for $260 to $270 and the battery has a seven-year life. Photo by Mike Collins.

The PLB is exceptionally small and light, ensuring it can be easily carried by pilots and others for instant access to emergency services. Small enough to fit into a pocket, life vest, or survival vest, the beacon is suitable for use in the air, at sea, and on land. It meets international Cospas-Sarsat requirements for 406-MHz personal locator beacons.

The PLB can easily be operated with one hand. All the user has to do is extend the antenna, flip open a spring-loaded protective cover—regulations require a two-step activation process to prevent unintentional activation—and press the On button. Once activated, the beacon communicates its location to search-and-rescue services through the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system for at least 24 hours. The device also incorporates a 121.5-MHz homing beacon and a high-intensity strobe light.

The Artex PLB features a seven-year battery life and matching seven-year warranty. It weighs 116 grams and is 77 mm tall, 51 mm wide, and 32.5 mm deep. It will retail for $260 to $270, James Hunter of ACR Electronics said during the show. "At this price point, no one should be without it."

Dealers typically offer special show pricing at events like Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture, Hunter added. U.S. owners must register PLBs with NOAA, which by law must be provided with any changes in contact information—and which also must be notified if you sell the beacon.

The battery is good for seven years or one hour of operation—including any testing—before it must be replaced. The factory charges $180 for replacement of the battery.

European flight regulations implemented in August 2016, known as Part-NCO, require EASA aircraft to carry an ELT or PLB. The requirement applies to private operations of light airplanes and helicopters, as well as sailplanes and balloons when used over water if deemed appropriate by the pilot. There is no FAA requirement to carry a PLB, but many pilots, especially those operating in remote areas, choose to do so.

ACR also introduced what it said is the world's only approved 406-MHz Transport-grade alkaline battery-powered emergency locator transmitter (ELT). The alternative power source exempts the Artex 4000 ELT from FAA special conditions related to non-rechargeable lithium batteries. Its five-year replaceable alkaline battery does not require additional protective housing or a containment vessel, and it does not have to be shipped as hazardous material.

"The innovative Artex ELT 4000 offers overwhelming advantages for business- and Transport-level aircraft, with both fixed and rotor wing designs," said Jeffery Geraci, director of aviation sales. “The mounting tray footprint matches the legacy Artex ELT installation to further reduce engineering costs.” Unlike legacy ELT systems, it is a one-piece solution featuring built-in ARINC 429 nav interface, allowing for connection to on-board GPS. It has received Cospas-Sarsat and FAA TSO certification.

Artex offers the ELT 345 and ELT 1000 for lighter general aviation aircraft, including experimental and light sport.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Aircraft Electronics Association, Gear

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