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Doing the Annual ELT Inspection
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After a lot of searching I can't believe how hard it has been to find an answer to what should be a simple question.  How do you conduct the annual ELT inspection and how do you log it.  According to 91.207, all I have to do is remove an access plate (permitted by Part 43, App A), and to comply with 91.207(d):
  1. verify proper installation
  2.  inspect for battery corrosion (and observe battery label for expiration)
  3. operate the controls and activate crash sensor (set to TX and set to Arm)
  4. verify operation by monitoring 121.5 for a signal (1975 Grumman Cheetah).
And as the Owner/operator, I make the log book entry.  What am I missing here?
8 Replies
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1230 Posts
What you're missing is that conduct of this inspection is not one of the 31 items of preventive maintenance listed in Appendix A to Part 43, so it takes an A&P to sign the log entry.  You can certainly pull the cover off the tail, remove the ELT, hand it to the mechanic for inspection, and then replace it when the mechanic is done, but the mechanic has to do the actual inspection and sign the log.
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Thanks for the clarification.  I was assuming (my mistake) that this was being signed off as part of the Annual Inspection, but it is not part of the required Annual.  The A&P only noted that the equipment was installed, but did not make an entry specifically referencing 91.207.  I'll get this taken care of now, and make sure it gets covered during my next Annual.
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You are correct in that the ELT inspection is not specifically part of the annual inspection. To most owners, it is a logical time to have it performed as all the airplane inspection panels are open, and the mechanic is already inspecting and performing repairs and maintenance on the airplane.

The mechanic must verify the ELT unit is installed properly and securely, the battery is not corroded or expired, the controls (arm, off, activate) work, and that the unit transmits the emergency tone. Guidance is that this tone check be done during the first five minutes of any hour.

To ensure there is no doubt, a logbook entry specifically detailing the check and regulatory reference is very helpful to owners. And as Ron correctly noted, this is not something an owner can perform under preventive maintenance.
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I wonder how many other owner/operators are out there that have made that same incorrect assumption.  After watching my A&P perform the required checks, it really looks like something that should be added to Part 43 App A.  There are no structural or control issues involved, and even App A allows changing of batteries.  I've replaced both main landing gear wheels myself, and that's a much more involved procedure.
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As others stated here; the tests / inspections required by part 91 (91.207d) must be done by a licensed airframe mechanic. and is to be done each 12 calendar months. Should the unit (ELT) not pass test or inspection, it can be removed from the plane for repair or replacement. By the airframe mechanic not the owner operator, unless he is supervisde "in person" by the mechanic. log entry / placarding (if necessary) is done by the licensed airframe mechanic.
Usually this is done at an annual inspection if the 12th month is due or close (same with battery replacement, which is also not preventitive maintenance). Incidentally anything done is signed off indvidually, at least in general. A signed annual dos'nt necessarly  mean the airplane is returened to service if there are excetions to airworthyness it just means it has been inspected. If all is good, then their will be a statement stating the condition is "airworthy".  
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How about experimentals? I know I have to get the transponder test done by an A&P, but the ELT also?