Artex Aircraft Supplies, Inc.
ELTs are a great way to increase safety. Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) are used to help rescue crews find downed aircraft - increasing the likelihood of survival for aircraft occupants - especially in remote areas.
The original ELTs introduced in 1973 were manufactured to the specifications of FAA TSO-C91. In 1985, TSO-C91A was introduced to provide improved performance and reliability. Today, C91 units are no longer allowed in new installations. These first and second-generation units broadcast an analog signal on 121.5 and 243.0 MHz. The latest technology utilizes a frequency of 406 MHz. In November of 2000 the International Corpas-Sarsat Program announced that it plans to cease the processing of distress signals from 121.5 and 243 MHz beacons on February 1st, 2009. For details see the 121phaseout.pdf document. Unfortunately, 406 ELTs are quite a bit more expensive than 121.5 ELTs. The FAA has not announced any plans to obsolete 121.5 MHz ELTs.
USA Soaring Contest Rules - ELTs Required for all Contests in 2006
Starting in 2006 it looks like ELTs will be required in all sailplanes in US contests. Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) will not be acceptable. The FAQ on the US Sailplane Racing Association web site is an excellent source of answers to many ELT related questions. All types of mounted ELTs will be acceptable.