ELT Requirements & 91.207(d)
Just because your ELT batteries are not expired, doesn´t mean that you´re legal with regard to ELT requirements. FAR 91.207(d) requires a sign-off on
1) Proper installation
2) Battery corrosion
3) Operation of controls and crash sensor
4) Presence of sufficient signal radiated from the antenna.
Nope, the pilot cannot sign it off. It must be repeatedly signed off every 12 months (not necessarily at annual, but that´s the logical time to do it). It can be done either by an AP/IA if the ELT mfr. provides instructions for the procedures, the mfr. if he can inspect the installation, or a certificated repair station (i.e. avionics shop). Otherwise, generally you may not fly more than 50 miles from home, and even then only on training flights. If you don´t already comply with this rule, the only way out is 91.207(f)(10). This allows the ELT to be temporarily removed (90 days) for work, as long as it´s logged and placarded. (Don´t forget the wt & bal in the logbook entry.) Ahh, yes,...just when you were getting bored,....
To actually comply with 91.207(d), you must follow the ICA´s (Instructions for Continued Airworthiness) published by your ELT manufacturer. The following ICA is typical and is for the ACK E-01 ELT. The following inspections MUST BE PERFORMED A MINIMUM OF ONE TIME EACH 12 MONTHS.
1. Inspect the ELT and mounting tray to insure all fasteners and mechanical assemblies are secure.
2. Inspect the coaxial cable connecting the ELT to the antenna for cuts or abrasions on it´s outer jacket. Disconnect the BNC connectors on each end. Examine both the BNC connectors and the mating plug on the antenna and ELT unit for any signs of corrosion.
3. Inspect the modular cable connecting the ELT to the RCPI (Remote Control Panel/Indicator unit) for signs of wear or abrasion on it´s outer jacket. Remove the modular plug connecting the ELT to the connecting cable and inspect the jack and plug assembly for corrosion.
4. Check the expiration date of the ELT and RCPI batteries, Replace if necessary.
5. Remove the battery case and inspect the battery compartment for signs of corrosion of battery leakage. If any battery leakage is present all batteries must be replaced. Although not required we strongly recommend that the batteries be replaced every two years. After two years of storage at normal temperatures the cells still have over 95% of their original capacity left and may be used to power other non critical electrical devices.
6. After completing the above inspections a function test as described in section 5 must be performed to verify proper operation. (Editor´s note: The function test is now inserted. The test must be performed ONLY during the first 5 minutes of each hour and must not last for more than 3 audio sweeps. If you are at a location where there is an FAA facility that may receive the signal while on the ground, you must notify the facility before beginning the tests.)
1) Monitor 121.5 Mhz using the aircraft COM receiver or a portable hand held receiver.
2) Place the main switch on the front of the ELT unit in the on position and verify that the audio sweep tone can be heard on the COM radio.
3) Place the main switch on the ELT unit in the armed position. While seated at the pilot´s normal operating position, press the "on" button on the RCPI unit. Verify that the red LED flashes and is readily visible from the pilot´s operating position. Verify that the audio sweep tone can be heard on the COM receiver. Push the "reset" button on the RCPI unit. The LED should stop flashing and the audio tone should stop. (Editor´s note: VERIFY THAT THE ELT HAS STOPPED TRANSMITTING! End of function test insertion.)
7. The G-switch and AM radio check as described in FAA ACTION NOTICE 8150.3 Supplemental Inspection Procedure Items 4 and 6 must also be performed at this time. They are listed below.
ITEM 4. Activate the ELT using applied force. The direction for mounting and force activation is indicated on the ELT. A TSO-C91 ELT can be activated by using a quick rap with the palm. A TSO-C91a ELT (Editor note:includes ACK Model E-01) can be activated by using a rapid forward (throwing) motion coupled by a rapid reversing action. Manufacturers instructions should be referred to prior to activation. Verify that the ELT has been activated by use of a wattmeter, the airplanes´ VHF radio communications receiver when tuned to 121.5 MHz, or other means. (This is not a measured check: it only indicates that the G-switch is working.)
ITEM 5: Reinstall the ELT into it´s mount and verify the proper direction for crash activation. Reconnect all cables. They should have some slack at each end and be properly secured to the airplane structure for support and protection.)
ITEM 6: Activate the ELT using the "on" or "Test" switch. A low-quality AM BROADCAST radio receiver should be used to determine if energy is being transmitted from the antenna. When the antenna of this radio (tuning dial on any setting) is held about 6-inches from the activated ELT antenna, The ELT aural tone will be heard. (This is not a measured check, but it does provide confidence that the antenna is radiating with sufficient power to aid search and rescue. The aircraft´s VHF receiver, tuned to 121.5 MHz may also be used. This receiver, however, is more sensitive and could pick up a weak signal even if the radiating ELT´s antenna is disconnected. Thus, it does not check the integrity of the ELT system or provide the same level of confidence as does an AM radio.)