- I already own a beacon tester so why should I use your system?
- You already have a beacon testing site, why did you build a new one?
- Is there any equipment I need to buy?
- How much does ELT test equipment cost?
- How does 406Test.com work?
- Does 406Test.com conform to 41 CFR Part 91.207?
- How much does it cost?
- Who can I contact for more information?
Unlike most bench testers which check individual components, 406Test.com allows you test the entire ELT system, end to end. With the ELT connected to the antenna and the switch, you will be able to tell if there are any connection issues. In addition, you are testing the ELT through the same satellite system that is used in case of an emergency.
The original ACR testing site is called http://www.406link.com/ which is designed for recreational beacon testing. It allows beacon owners to test their beacon, send back an "I'm Ok" message, and GPS coordinates (with select ACR beacons). One of our major customers, a fleet operator with 150 aircraft, approached us with some very specific requirements for ELT testing so we built a new site specifically designed for that application.
With their help, we developed the www.406Test.com website. One of their main requirements was to check the integrity of the entire ELT system. They currently own a bench tester and have used it extensively to test their beacons; however, one of their aircraft crashed after they had passed the ELT through their standard process but the ELT signal was not received. They found out that they still had an antenna connection issue which did not allow the signal to radiate even though the ELT was working properly. Since then, they use our system to check all of the connections and to verify the signal actually transmits through the antenna and up to the satellite system.
406Test.com is a web based program so there is no equipment to buy. You sign up for the service online by entering your tail number, owner information, A&P license information, ELT Hex ID, and facility. Once everything is added, you then press the "Perform Test" button and you have 48 hours to do the test. If you do not perform the test or if you have trouble with the beacon, you will receive a failure notification. If that happens, schedule it again (you have six months to complete the inspection).
The cost of ELT test equipment varies from $5,000 to well over $15,000 if you include the expense of a screen room, beacon tester, and antenna analyzer. But even if you buy all this equipment, you still are not testing all of the ELT system together in the aircraft where it will be used.
In order to use the system, the 406 MHz ELT must be installed on the aircraft, the aircraft antenna must have a clear view of the southern sky (in North America), and you must have registered the beacon and aircraft properly on the website. Once everything is in place, you press the "Perform Test" button online and then perform a self-test on the ELT within 48 hrs. The beacon transmits the test burst through the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system, which is the same system which receives the real emergency ELT alerts, to capture the 406 MHz test bursts.
If successful, you will receive a notification either via SMS text messaging or email telling of you success. You can then go to your account and print off and sign the certification form. The forms are stored in your account in case you ever need to check them and all of the information you input into the system is available for next year's testing.
It does conform to the following requirements:
- To check for proper installation,
- Operation of the controls,
- And the presence of a sufficient signal radiated from its antenna
It does not allow for the checking the crash sensor (g-switch) in most models.
There is a one-time cost of $30 to set up the system and an annual cost of $30 per beacon for six months worth of testing. For companies with over 50 ELT beacons, discounts are available.