The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a draft rulemaking that will implement a two-year postponement of the requirement for certain large airplanes certified in Europe to be equipped with emergency locator transmitters with distress tracking capability (ELT(DT)). An ELT(DT) is designed to activate automatically in flight when it detects conditions indicative of a distress situation; the flight crew can also manually activate it.
Under the new rules, airplanes with mtows exceeding 27,000 kilograms (59,500 pounds) and are first issued their certificate of airworthiness on or after Jan. 1, 2024, will be required by Jan. 1, 2025, to be equipped with an ELT(DT). These units must autonomously transmit information from which the aircraft's position can be determined by the operator at least once every minute when in distress.
The additional time for compliance from the original date of Jan. 1, 2023, is due to technical, equipment, and ATC issues, as well aircraft delivery and type certification delays stemming from the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years. Furthermore, EASA said international search and rescue (SAR) satellite-aided tracking programs are facing delays in setting up the communication infrastructure that is necessary to process and transmit ELT(DT) signals to SAR points of contact.