Many pilots are upgrading to the more capable 406 MHz ELTs, even though, strictly speaking, 121.5 MHz ELTs still meet the FAA’s regulatory requirement. The possibility exists that a discarded 121.5 MHz ELT could be set off accidentally and prompt a search, if not disposed of properly.
CAP squadrons are reminding pilots, mechanics and FBOs to disconnect an ELT battery first, then send the ELT and its battery to an electronics waste facility.
The campaign was initiated after CAP headquarters received multiple reports of volunteers spending time and money searching for beacons that turned out to be in the trash. In California, one squadron searched through trash for six hours at a local recycling facility to locate an ELT and disconnect its battery, the CAP said.
“Emergency beacons were not meant to be discarded like common trash,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. While pilots may not be discarding their old beacons personally, it’s a good idea to remind their mechanic to do so, he stated. “Pilots can help save vital search and rescue resources,” he said. “Make sure to remind your mechanic to dispose of your ELT properly.”