Notice Number: NOTC1518
Termination of satellite monitoring of 121.5 MHz ELTs will happen in under a month. Are you ready?
On 1 February 2009, the International Cospas-Sarsat  Organization (U.S. included) will terminate processing of distress signals emitted by 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). Pilots flying aircraft equipped with 121.5 MHz ELTs after that date will have to depend on pilots of over flying aircraft and or ground stations monitoring 121.5 to hear and report distress alert signals, transmitted from a possible crash site.
Protect each other…
Currently only 12-15% of the registered aircraft in the United States are flying with 406 MHz ELTs. This means that there is at least an 85% chance that an aircraft in an accident will only transmit a 121.5 MHz signal, thus remaining silent to the satellites. It will be up to other pilots monitoring the 121.5 MHz frequency in the cockpit to alert Search and Rescue authorities to accidents involving 121.5. When you fly, look out for your fellow pilots and when possible monitor 121.5 MHz.
If a 121.5 MHz ELT is heard on guard, report to the nearest air traffic control tower, the time and location of when you first detect the ELT, when it is the loudest and when it drops off your radio. Listening and reporting may well be the difference that saves a life.