Caribbean Flying Adventures (CFA) has 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. The Cayman Islands waiver is valid through December 1, 2013 but will almost certainly be extended. CFA will work to insure that this happens.
Caribbean Flying Adventures, the most widely used pilot’s guide for the Bahamas and Caribbean, has 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 February 1, 2013 after which pilots will be required to install a 406 ELT to be legal.
CFA 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. 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. [ home ]