Saturday, May 24, 2008
I have mixed emotions about the arrival of the new Artex 406 MhZ ELT (emergency locator transmitter). What luxuries I'm putting into my plane, mostly involve safety. At $992, this is one of them, although if I ever need it, it pretty much means I've crashed the airplane. Still, Steve Fossett being "out there" somewhere is a sobering thought and I guess I wouldn't want my family wondering whatever happened to me.
I could've, I guess, gotten a much cheaper ELT that broadcasts only on 121.5, but the monitoring of that frequency is being phased out, and it's not as good in pinpointing a location. Nor, I believe, does it broadcast aircraft identifying information as the new ones do.
This will probably be one of the first pieces of electronics I'm going to install, and I'm coming up empty on where to put the antenna.
Especially with the old 121.5 ELTs, a lot of RV builders put them on the aft side of the rollbar (See VAF thread), but that ignores the requirement that it be within 15 degrees of vertical. I've seen folks mount it horizontally along the spars in the horizontal stabilizer. And that, of course, also doesn't qualify. I've seen people stick it forward from the bulkhead in the baggage compartment and that just looks like a great way to start your trip with a poke in the eye while stuffing stuff in back there.
Personally, I can't see a good reason not to stick it out in the breeze, on the top of the skin, perhaps just forward of the vertical stabilizer? I realize some people would be concerned about knocking 1 knot off their speed, or it might not look good, but why would you spend $1,000 on something, and then half-ass the installation with something that has a good chance of not working?
That's not a rhetorical question, by the way. If there's an easier and effective way, I'm all ears.