406 ELT to be required for flights to Bahamas and Mexico

Jim Parker at Caribbean Flying Adventures is alerting pilots that they will soon need a 406 ELT for flight to the Bahamas and Mexico.

Parker notes that he successfully 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, he reports. The Cayman Islands waiver is valid through Dec. 1, 2013, but will almost certainly be extended, he said, adding his company “will work to insure that this happens.”

“Unfortunately, the waiver for an installed 406 ELT for the Bahamas will expire Feb. 1, 2013, and for Mexico June 1, 2013,” he said. “In order to be legal, pilots who want to fly to the Bahamas or Mexico will must install a 406 ELT.”

Parker noted his company researched this issue and found that the U.S. Coast Guard continues to utilize the 121.5 frequency in their search and rescue operations. Thus, mandating the installation of the 406 ELT makes little sense for island flying, he said. 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, The Cayman Islands or Puerto Rico,” he said. “But begining Feb 1, 2013, they do need to spend the money in order to fly to the Bahamas.

For more information: CaribbeanFlyingAdventures.com


  1. Chuck Raymond says

    I suppose my question would be: WHO is pushing the 406 ELT , if 121.5 is still the system that the people recusing you are still using? (Mainly the COAST GUARD)
    Seems a special interest group has their hands in there somewhere.
    If 406 ELT is a better system why hasn’t there been a smooth and timely over all transition instead of partial cutoffs here there and someplace else.
    There is enough red tape in General Aviation as it is.
    Interesting to see how this works out

  2. Jim Wolfgang says

    According to the 12/14 edition of AOPA ePilot, the GA waiver for the Bahamas is good until 2015.

    Bahamas flights don’t require 406 MHz ELT
    General aviation aircraft may continue to fly to the Bahamas without upgrading to 406 MHz ELTs, Bahamas Civil Aviation announced. Bahamian officials will allow GA aircraft to fly with 121.5 MHz ELTs until Feb. 1, 2015. Find tips for flying to the islands online.

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