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Is an Emergency locator transmitter - ELT required on any type of aircraft carrying passengers over water? Does it need to be fitted with an hydrostatic release unit so that it doesn't sink with the aircraft?

If they don't carry a releasable ELT, how are aircraft planned to be located after an accident over the ocean?

References to regulatory documentation definitely a plus (e.g. for the US, or for island countries like Australia or New Zealand).

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  • $\begingroup$ related: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/2153/… $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Mar 30 '16 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ 14 CFR 91.207 for FAA, ELTs are required to be carried, but they do not have to be hydrostatically released since this would require external mounting. ELTs have to operate for 48 hours. In the event of a water "landing", many FDR's have a sonar "ping" for location purposes, but I don't think the ELT is required to operate under water. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 30 '16 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ I know you are asking about requirements, but Honeywell does make a water activated ELT which looks to be a "portable" unit. It is TSO'd but it doesn't look like something you mount, just carry on board. It doesn't say anything about hydrostatic release. All the other ELT's are G-Force activated. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 30 '16 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ @mins I know, I was just mentioning that FDR's have the ability to operate under water, while I don't believe that there is a requirement for ELT's to operate under water, since the radio waves don't work very well under water. Its also important to note that Helicopters are not required to carry ELT's for Part 135 operations, even carrying passengers... Read 14 CFR 91.207 closely, it says airplane, not aircraft... $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 30 '16 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer: Agreeing with your last comment. Does 14 CFR 91.207.f.2 "Aircraft while engaged in scheduled flights by scheduled air carriers" prevent the requirement to apply to airlines? $\endgroup$ – mins Mar 30 '16 at 21:23
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Is an ELT required on any type of aircraft carrying passengers over water?

Generally, commercial transport aircraft are not required to carry an ELT.

how are aircraft planned to be located after an accident over the ocean?

  1. I believe pilots are expected to use radio to inform controllers of any emergency.

  2. If ATC are unable to contact an aircraft for an extended time, they instigate S&R based on the last known location of the aircraft.

  3. The FDR and CVR are required to include an underwater location beacon (ULB), though this is only short range and has limited duration.

  4. It is expected that, sometime in the future, commercial transport aircraft will be required to have automated systems that report their position frequently (perhaps every 15 minutes)


References:

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