Canada ELT Mandate



Canada ELT Mandate

ARTEX ELT 345 Front Face Image

Canada Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Mandate Now In Effect (Starting November 25, 2020) – Upgrade to a 406 MHz ELT

Canada Emergency Locator Transmitter or ELT Mandate Now In Effect (Starting November 25, 2020) – Upgrade to a 406 MHz ELT

On November 25, 2020, Canada put into place new regulations to ensure all aircraft flying in the country are safer with the now required digital 406 Megahertz (MHz) Emergency Locator Transmitters or ELT.  All aircraft with very limited exceptions that include gliders, ultra-lights, gyroplanes, balloons, and airships will be required to have a properly registered ELT that is satellite detectable on the 406 MHz distress frequency. 

The primary objective behind these ELT requirements is to optimize Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, enhancing both their efficiency and passengers’ safety. By ensuring distress signals can be promptly and effectively received by SAR authorities, this mandate aims to elevate the safety quotient for all onboard.

All commercial air operators, foreign aircraft and private operators will need to be upgraded to a 406 MHz ELT, like the ARTEX ELT 345 no later than November 25, 2021. 

Recreational operators have 5 years to comply with the new regulations, however the cost of service to maintain the legacy 121 ELTs required on their aircraft with annual battery replacements make upgrading to a digital 406 MHz ELT more attractive. 

Don’t Wait To Upgrade Your ELT? 

With any mandate, waiting until the last year and especially the last months of the year before the mandate is enforced comes with a few common risks to keep in mind when deciding upon a date to make the upgrade.

Product and installation availability. 

The closer you get to the Canadian ELT Mandate deadline, specifically for recreational / General Aviators, the more in-demand for the product and the harder it is going to be to purchase. Even if you can buy the 406 MHz ELT, scheduling the installation to be compliant by November 2025 will become more difficult the closer to the mandate deadline. 

ELT Pricing.

Avionics in a mandated market typically do not decrease in price, especially with the current shortfall of electronic components in the global market.  As demand increases, price typically also increase.  So, you will likely pay more for the product and the installation the closer to the actual November 2025 mandate for General Aviation aircraft owners.

Legacy ELT Support.

The older 121.5 MHz have been discontinued years ago and supporting an old product with batteries and repair becomes very costly for the manufacturer as well as the aircraft owner.  If a manufacturer discontinues support for the equipment, your aircraft could be grounded until a new ELT can be installed.  

A general rule of thumb should always be the older the product, the more expensive support and replacement parts become.  The cost to replace a 121.5 MHz ELT battery can range as high as $200-$250 every 2 years, while a new 406 MHz ELT comes with a 5-year user replaceable battery which will save you more money in the long run by upgrading today. 

The 406 ELT Mandate is a progressive stride towards elevating aviation safety within Canadian airspace. By ensuring that aircraft are equipped with advanced ELT technology that meets the 406 MHz and dual broadcasting criteria, Transport Canada is bolstering the efficiency of Search and Rescue operations and, more importantly, prioritizing passengers’ well-being. The imposed deadlines underline the urgency for compliance, and the rationale for this mandate underscores its critical importance in the realm of aviation safety.

Frequently Asked Questions about the new Canadian ELT Mandate:

Who does the new Canadian ELT Requirement Effect?

The amendments apply to Canadian and foreign-registered aircraft operated in Canada, except for gliders, balloons, airships, ultra-lights and gyroplanes. 

What does this new regulation mean for USA aircraft flying into Canada?

All foreign aircraft entering into Canadian airspace must be equipped with a 406 MHz ELT. 

When do I have to upgrade my 121.5 MHZ ELT to a 406 MHZ ELT to comply with the mandate?

Commercial air operators, foreign aircraft, and private operators (as defined under CARs Subpart 604) have one year after the final publication of the amended regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II on November 25, 2020, to implement the amendments while recreational operators have five years to comply. 

Who is considered a “Recreational Operator” and does not need to upgrade until 2025?

Private operators who are not subject to Subpart 604 subsection 2 (604.02); recreational operators (i.e. the person that has possession of an aircraft as the owner, lessee or otherwise, for recreational purposes). 
All other Canadian aircraft are required to have upgraded to a 406 MHz ELT by November 2021 including aircraft operated by air commercial and private operators (Subpart 705 — Airline Operations, Subpart 704 — Commuter Operations, Subpart 703 — Air Taxi Operations, Subpart 702 — Aerial Work, and Subpart 604 – Private Operators).

Where do I register my new 406 MHZ ELT in Canada?

Canadian Beacon Registry: Online Registration

What is the risk for Recreational Aircraft to wait until 2025 to upgrade?

While it is completely legal to continue flying with a legacy ELT until the actual day you are required to make the switch, the price of the newer ELT as well as the installation cost are both likely to increase significantly the closer you get to the mandate deadline.  Additionally, ELT inventory will be harder to get as will a time slot with your local avionics installer.  

Finally, the cost of supporting legacy ELTs with 2-year batteries is expensive.  So, before you buy any additional batteries for your legacy ELT, acquire a quote for the upgrade to a 406 MHz ELT.  The 5-year battery packs on the new digital ELTs will likely save you more money in the long run than continuing to invest in outdated technology.

Resource Center

ELT Installation Costs?

121.5 MHz vs 406 MHz?

The ELT 345 Advantage

The ELT 345 Kits

There are now three comprehensive kit options available that provide users with access to the ELT 345, the world’s most popular ELT.  Each option features a 2-wire remote switch, coax cable, antenna, and ELT installation kit.  The primary difference between the kits pertains to the antenna and/or switch offering.  Our most economical option (part number 8102), comes with our standard black whip antenna and standard 2-wire remote switch.  The other two kits include a lower profile antenna option featuring a black whip antenna designed for installations where a shorter form factor is required.  Lastly, while the 8102 and 8107 kits include the standard 2-wire remote switch, the 8108 kit features a new slim profile switch.  The new slim switch is perfect for ACK and Ameri-King ELT retrofits as it requires no modification to the switch panel cut-out when replacing a legacy phone cord style switch.  As an added benefit, the slim switch requires no batteries and operates using 2 wire connectivity for dependable cockpit panel operation.