Emergency Procedures resources

Emergency Procedures

Distress beacons

Emergency activation

Activation procedures ERSA EMERG

If you are forced down, activate the ELT immediately.

Where an ELT is permanently installed, and you are unable to confirm that it has activated automatically, activate the ELT manually, for example, by switching to the on or active position.

Where a portable distress beacon is being used, if possible, select an elevated site, clear of trees, boulders etc, and reasonably close to the aircraft.

Place the beacon on the ground on an earth mat. If an earth mat is not available, place the ELT on the wing of the aircraft or other reflective metal surface.

Secure the ELT with rocks, sticks, tape etc, so that the antenna remains vertical. Prevent anything touching the antenna as this will degrade ELT performance.

Do not switch off the beacon unless rescue is no longer required.

To avoid confusing direction-finding equipment on search aircraft, avoid activating two or more beacons within 1 nm of each other. If two or more beacons are available, their use should be rationalised to extend the alerting period.

In the event of a search, an aircraft may drop a radio to you. Before using the radio walk away from the beacon to avoid interference on the radio transmission frequency.

Water activation

If you are in the water and the beacon is water buoyant, it should be activated in the water and allowed to float to the end of the lanyard with the antenna vertical.

Do not hoist the ELT up a mast. The performance of an ELT can degrade if it is raised above the water surface.

Do not attach the lanyard to the aircraft, but rather attach it to a person or life raft. Keep the distress beacon vertical, with the antenna pointing skyward.

In situations where you are forced to use a distress beacon that is not certified for use in water, ensure that the beacon is kept dry. The beacon should operate successfully from inside a plastic bag.

Land activation

For operations over land you will get the best performance from a distress beacon operating from its permanent installation in the aircraft or on the ground on an earth mat.

A simple inexpensive earth mat can be made by taping household aluminium foil into a 120 cm square. It is suggested that, if you carry a distress beacon you make a foil earth mat, fold it and tape it to your distress beacon. To use the earth mat, unfold it and place it flat on the ground, holding the edges down with rocks or earth. Switch on your distress beacon and place in the centre of the earth mat.

Alternatively, place the distress beacon on the wing of the aircraft.

In many cases, using an earth mat will increase the effective range of your portable ELT by 50 per cent.

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