Caribbean Flying Adventures (CFA) has collaborated with civil aviation authorities in the Dominican Republic and The Caymans Islands to obtain a waiver from the 406 ELT requirement. The Dominican Republic waiver is indefinite. The Cayman Islands waiver is valid through Dec. 1, 2013, but will almost certainly be extended, according to CFA officials, who said they will work to ensure this happens.
Caribbean Flying Adventures officials said they have been working for years with many governments in the Caribbean to reduce airports fees and streamline airport procedures for private pilots. A recent ICAO rule mandating the replacement of the 121.5 ELT with a 406 ELT has discouraged a lot of private pilots from traveling to the Islands. FAA waived this requirement for private aircraft operating in the U.S. but it is unclear which Island nations have followed suit. The Bahamas’ waiver, for example, expires in six months on Feb. 1, 2013 after which pilots will be required to install a 406 ELT to be legal.
CFA officials said they researched this issue and found that the U.S. Coast Guard continues to utilize the 121.5 frequency in its search and rescue operations. Additionally, ICAO experts have concluded than an installed ELT is useless once the aircraft sinks after the passengers have safely exited the aircraft. A hand held personal locator beacon then becomes the optimal search and rescue tool.
“The bottom line is that pilots do not need to spend thousands of dollars installing a 406 ELT in order to fly to the Dominican Republic or The Cayman Islands,” CFA officials said.
For more information: CaribbeanFlyingAdventures.com
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