As the saying goes, “aviation regulation is written in blood.” In the case of the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) regulation, I suppose it would be more accurate to say “written in horrific survival.”
I just finished Ross Nixon’s detailed and informative book, “Finding Carla,” which tells the nightmarish story of 15-year-old Carla Corbus, her mother and step-father Phyllis and Al Oien, Sr.
The three survived a plane crash in the Trinity Mountains of California on March 11, 1967. At the time, there was no regulation requiring the use of an ELT in general aviation aircraft. Search and rescue efforts focused on the wrong areas.
From a diary found at the crash site in October 1967, readers learn mother and daughter survived for eight weeks. “No food, just snow and hope,” kept them alive.
As Carla’s story spread, momentum gathered to do something. Congress, the FAA and industry looked to find a solution. Learning the story behind the creation of FAR Part 91.207 and Aeronautical Information Manual 6-2-4 is a worthwhile effort.