New ELT Install

Back in September of last year the FAA issued an AD encouraging owners to ditch their Ameri King ELTs. The FAA determined that the company was not manufacturing the ELTs up to standard and that the units were largely garbage (I’ve read numerous stories of them going off randomly on the ground or, worse, not going off at all in an accident) and so they must be tested every 12 months by a licenced avionics person.

Because I bought mine at the start of the project my battery had expired and I was finding it hard to find a new one so I decided to just replace it. I chose the ACK 406 which had the advantage of the remote unit being the same size as the Ameri King one – nothing would need to change with my panel.

So I removed the old ELT from under the baggage area and went to fit the new ELT there and it is just too tight. It would fit if the antenna cable attached at the back, but because it goes in the front there is just no room. So I had to come up with a new solution, which was to put it in the back.

ELT in Mount

Drilling the mount holes could be done from underneath because I could use the new cradle as a guide. But, getting the screws in so they went through the straps and the cradle was a real hassle, just so hard to get good access to things back there through the access hole. But a few curse words later, it was all in.

I hooked up the cables and ran the control cable up to the panel, removing the old one as I went.

The remote control needs a battery, as does the audio alert.

Battery in ELT Remote

I attached some velcro to the audio unit so I could stick on the forward fuselage somewhere.

ELT Audio Attachment Installed

The remote control was a direct swap with the old one, although the screw holes had to be enlarged just a little.

ELT Remote Installed

The unit has a nice little self test function which lets you know if the system is functional and I was able to hear the distress signal on 121.5. So I’m back in business with the ELT.

The package did come with a new antenna which I did not swap because I just can’t get to it without cutting an access panel in the side. AACK say that it isn’t required to use their antenna but theirs is COSPAS approved and is therefore preferred. Had the test not worked I would have of course swapped them but I’ll leave that for cooler days.

Although it wasn’t a whole lot of work, this made me realised how much I had missed building.