ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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Beacon Awareness Day #406Day18 Aviation Safety | The story behind ELTs Finding Carla

In March 1967, a Cessna 195 flew from Oregon towards San Francisco carrying a family of three: Alvin Oien, Sr. (the pilot), his wife Phyllis and step-daughter Carla Corbus. Due to worse-than-predicted weather, it went down in the Trinity Mountains of California only eight miles from a highway and beneath a busy commercial airway. This was before radio-beacon type emergency locators were required equipment for airplanes; the family survived the crash for almost two months but the ruggedness of the terrain and the fact that they were far off their intended course made finding them by sight impossible. Searchers determined the weather in the mountains also made living impossible after a period of time had passed.

 

Half a year later, the eventual finding of the wreck by hunters shocked the nation. A diary and series of letters from the survivors explained their predicament. These Oien family documents as well as photos of the family and from the search are included in the story.

This tragedy spurred political action towards the mandatory Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) that are carried aboard all U.S. civil aircraft. ELT radios have saved thousands of lives since they were mandated and their technology continues to improve and find more lost people. Pilots who read this story will never fly without a flight plan, survival gear, or a working ELT. In aviation, we say the regulations are “written in blood.” This compelling story is the “blood” behind the ELT regulations.

Finding Carla

While indeed tragic, the Oien family’s legacy has a brighter side: Their story led directly to this effective legislation of requirements for the airplane locators that have since saved so many lives in search-and-rescue operations. Their complete story is now told for the first time — the “Carla Corbus Diary” is uncovered here along with the family letters that accompanied it, never before published in full. By: Ross Nixon

1515 ACR ELT84145
Pictured: ARTEX brand ELT 345 (Emergency Locator Transmitter) they provide GPS data to Search and Rescue personnel with the aircraft location, within 100 meters, in less than a minute.

 

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ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal Highlight Enhanced Life-Saving Benefits of their MEOSAR-Compatible Beacons

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ACR Electronics, Inc. and Ocean Signal are highlighting to all boaters how the life-saving capabilities of its distress beacons and the importance of including an EPIRB and PLB in their safety kit are significantly enhanced due to Cospas-Sarsat’s next-generation Medium-Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system.

Revolutionising the search and rescue process, 24 EU launched Galileo navigation satellites will carry second generation SAR transponders for the Cospas-Sarsat system at Medium Earth Orbit altitude to supplement the existing LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit) and GEOSAR (Geostationary Orbit) systems. The increased number of satellites offers much faster signal detection, greater location accuracy, strengthened coverage and greater reliability to improve alerting times for distress beacon owners in emergency situations.

All ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal beacons, including the ACR GlobalFIX V4 and GlobalFIX iPro EPIRBs, the ACR ResQLink PLBs, plus the Ocean Signal SafeSea E100 and E100G EPIRBs, rescueME EPIRB1 and rescueME PLB1, are compatible with the next-gen satellites, ensuring they will offer the near instantaneous signal detection and transmission enabled by the global MEOSAR satellite transponders and upgraded ground-station components.

Estimates indicate that when using the next-gen network, anyone activating a GPS-enabled ACR or Ocean Signal EPIRB or PLB can expect their beacon to be located within 100 metres (328 feet), 95% of the time, within 5 minutes of the distress signal instead of taking up to the one to two hours typical with the current LEOSAR and GEOSAR system.

Chris Hoffman, Chairman of the RTCM (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) Board of Directors and chair of the RTCM Special Committee SC110 on Emergency Beacons, said: “As the representative of beacon manufacturers within the Cospas-Sarsat community, we work closely with companies like ACR and Ocean Signal to ensure that the needs of end users are taken into account when developing these new systems and enhancements.”

Hoffman, who is also Director of Technology Strategy for ACR Electronics, added: “The new MEOSAR network is poised to have a huge impact on search and rescue and will ultimately result in more lives saved. In the light of this ground-breaking update in technology, we want to ensure that anyone who spends time at sea is aware of the development and the value it adds to beacons, so they can make an informed decision about why they should carry an EPIRB and a PLB.

“The ACR and Ocean Signal 406 MHz distress beacons have been meticulously designed to be compact, reliable, and easy to use, carry and maintain. Critically, they are MEOSAR compatible, so users can benefit from this unfolding revolution in search and rescue, with even more power at their fingertips to ensure they and their friends and family can reach the rescue authorities quickly and easily, and stay safe out on the water.”

When complete there will be 72 MEOSAR satellites positioned at Medium Earth Orbit altitude, over six times the number of existing satellites in orbit. MEOSAR relays more beacon signals to ground stations using a technique known as ‘bent pipe’ which is an average of 46 minutes faster than LEOSAR. The network of ground stations, called MEOLUTs (Local User Terminals), along with multiple antenna systems, results in close to 100% reliability and near instantaneous global coverage.

MEOSAR satellites are compatible with the existing first generation Cospas-Sarsat technology. The Galileo satellites will also allow second generation alerting technology to be introduced such as the ability to send a return link signal in the form of a confirmation message back to beacons acknowledging that the signal was received.

The first rescues demonstrating near real-time signal detection using a MEOSAR satellite have already been documented, with the new Cospas-Sarsat system expected to reach full operational capability in 2020-21. When the system is fully operational, there will always be multiple MEOSAR satellites in view, subject to clear visibility of the sky, enabling fast alerting and location independent of waiting for a pass of a LEOSAR satellite.

Since 1982, the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite SAR systems has helped to save more than 40,000 lives by pinpointing the location of emergency distress beacon signals.

Today’s EPIRBs and PLBs by ACR Electronics and Ocean Signal are compact and user friendly with an exceptional battery life. They are now an affordable product for inclusion in any boat’s safety kit. EPIRBs are available for under $400 and PLBs priced in the mid $200s.

For further information about ACR Electronics’ products, visit www.acrartex.com, and for Ocean Signal’s products, visit www.oceansignal.com.


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Aviation History Month – my story by:ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

In the spirit of Aviation History Month Here is my aviation story by: ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

With November being Aviation History Month, I had the honor of presenting the history of ELT and ARTEX to my fellow employees.  As I researched and prepared the briefing, it prompted reflection on my own personal aviation history.  Attaining flight is such an intriguing combination of physics that completely infected my imagination.  My journey started as many young boys did, with a glider and then a rubber band powered model.  Back in the 60s the Guillows Company provided many youngsters the ability to build and launch their flying dreams.  My first powered craft was Piper Cub.  In its maiden flight, a shirtless 10 year old found that speed and ground proximity were a disastrous combination for a balsa wood airframe.

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First Piper Cub flight, 1970 – Farmington Hills, MI

Having witnessed a flying machine of my own construction take flight, my passion for flight would lead to larger aircraft with gas engines and radio controls.  My first radio controlled aircraft was a “Falcon 56” and it was a beautiful yet forgiving aircraft to fly.  At 13 years of age I was all in for flight.  As the Falcon flew over me, I looked up and said to myself, how do I get in the cockpit?  My career path was set and in just 4 more years, I would be an aviator.

Falcon 56 Airframe, 1972 – Farmington Hills, MIteen JG

Falcon 56 first flight, 1973 – Farmington Hills, MI

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My parents signed the early entry form required for a 17 year old to join the military.  The selection process for enlisted aircrew was competitive but due to my exceptional vision and depth perception, my dream was realized.  I was selected for the KC-135 Tanker boom operator position.  Boom operators maneuver a flying boom to “connect” with a trailing aircraft and perform in-flight refueling. Before an aircrew can attend training for the specific type of aircraft, the selectee must attend survival schools.  Water, prisoner of war, ground and Arctic survival schools were required. In addition to learning the skills of survival, the schools provided another means of eliminating the less dedicated.  In 1978, during my water survival school students would float in Biscayne Bay, Florida for hours to simulate the ocean bailout.  We used flares, dye and strobe lights to signal each other.  My first experience with ACR Electronics Inc. was utilizing a very well made bright orange strobe light.   Little did realize that ACR and I would cross paths again 35 years later.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine picturing water survival training

After completion of the survival schools my first ride in a tanker took place at Castle Air Force base, Merced California in 1979.  We flew many missions refueling all USAF aircraft types.  I was photographed in Airman Magazine, August of 1979 for a C-130 mission.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine, C 130 Mission

My first base posting was Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda Michigan.  Although we rotated aircraft often, number 38038 was a frequent selection for our training.  This particular aircraft was a newer  KC-135 manufactured in late 1960.  Most tankers were manufactured in 1957-59.  I was 19 years old the first time I flew on this aircraft. We are both 57 now and I am not sure who will live longer, 38038 or me!   I still recall the sound of the J-57s with water injection.  The sound in the cockpit was deafening as the pilot pushed the throttles forward.  I still recall the feeling of speed as we raced toward the end of the runway.  The pilot would call out “S-1” which meant we passed the speed threshold of not being able to stop, we were dedicated to takeoff.  I flew in the jump seat often and had the best view of the cockpit being in between both pilots

In 1983, I became an instructor Boom operator.  Part of the training was to fly co-pilot for 2 touch and go landings just in case there was a need to fill in.  I had acquired 25 hours in a Cessna 172 but the tanker flew like nothing I had experienced.  I will never forget the takeoff sequence of pushing up the engines and steering with the rudders after 80 knots.  Being seated up front made the speed more intense as we powered past 140 knots.  I pulled back, assumed a steady 15 degrees of climb, got the gear and flaps up.  Just like the Falcon 56 model used to climb, but I was inside this bird.

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USAF 38038 with Jeff Geraci onboard – October 1980

I completed 2 tours in the USAF but did not make it a career.  The lure of private sector income and running my own business moved me on.  I always looked up when I heard an aircraft overhead.  I know how that feels I thought to myself.

My aviation career would be revived in 2000 as I sold my business and took a position with a Michigan company called Advanced Data Research (ADR).  Based upon a commercial device, we developed the first version of the electronic flight bag.  Our customers were corporate flight departments worldwide.  I was back in cockpits helping to determine mounting locations for the computers.

Fast forward to 2013 and good friend, Mike Schmidt calls me and asks what I am doing.  Mike and I worked at the flight bag company and recently had taken position at ACR Electronics in Fort Lauderdale Florida.  Mike helped me secure a position with ACR in September of 2013.

Speaking of history, the mission at ACR is to make sure pilots and their occupants do not become history.   ACR and ARTEX share a long and important lineage of making a difference to those in trouble.

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ARTEX History Presentation November 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL


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Introducing the New ARTEX ELT 1000 Emergency Locator Transmitter with Built-In GPS Navigational Interface

Fort Lauderdale, FL – ACR Electronics, Inc. announces today that the all-new ELT 1000 (Emergency Locator Transmitter) has received its Cospas-Sarsat and FAA approvals and is now available for sale. The ARTEX ELT 1000 is competitively priced and designed with multiple installation configurations to reduce overall installation cost.

The state of the art electronics maximize frequency stability and power while incorporating a new, built-in GPS navigational interface. Including GPS data in the emergency transmission allows Search and Rescue personnel to know your location within 100 meters in less than a minute. Designed to accommodate multiple installation configurations, the new ELT 1000 is a quick, easy and affordable retrofit for obsolete 121.5 MHz ELTs.

ELT100_ISO_2Built under the exacting standards of AS9100C quality certification, the ELT 1000 exceeds all government and regulatory standards including the latest FAA guidelines with its new robust stainless steel mounting strap.

The ARTEX ELT 1000 features and specifications are listed below:

  • Quick and easy retrofit for general aviation aircraft
  • Single antenna output for emergency transmission on both 406 MHz (Cospas-Sarsat) and 121.5 MHz frequencies (local Search & Rescue)
  • Enhanced positional accuracy with a built-in GPS interface that does not require aircraft power
  • Encoded digital message broadcasts aircraft identification/registration and owner/emergency contact details
  • New stainless steel mounting strap for increased stability that complies with the most current FAA guidelines
  • Simple self-testing from the cockpit. When combined with 406Test.com, the self-test will provide SMS/e-mail confirmation within seconds that the ELT signal reached the satellites successfully
  • New hermetically sealed G-Switch for increased reliability

ARTEX designs and manufactures an array of ELT’s, battery packs and ELT accessories. ARTEX products serve a wide category of aircrafts ranging from general aviation to the world’s leading airframe manufacturers, large commercial airlines and government aircraft.

406Link.com ACR Electronic’s Advanced Satellite Testing System

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ACR/ARTEX is proud to bring you 406Link.com, the first and only advanced satellite testing system used to receive self test notifications (SMS/Email) from your ACR Personal Locator Beacon, EPIRB, or Artex 406 MHz ELT. This optional subscription service is designed to enhance the functionality of your ACR or ARTEX 406 MHz beacon and provides you and your loved ones with the peace of mind of receiving your satellite test message directly on your cell phone or email.

Once you subscribe, a successful self-test will trigger an email and SMS text message notification to you and/or your loved ones. By choosing the Plus plan, you will also be able to have a customized message sent to your list of contacts. In addition, when conducting a GPS self-test, your actual location will appear on a map and be sent to your contacts along with your message. You and your loved ones will breathe easier knowing that your beacon is working properly should you ever need to use it in an emergency.

Try our Free Trial and use the service free of charge for two days (no credit card or automatic renewal required). You will quickly realize the amazing value and ease of use of 406Link.


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Cautionary advice when buying beacons and survival gear online

5 quick buying tips NOT to miss

when buying a beacon from an online auction or personal on line listing!

  1. Know what beacon is right for the type of activity you enjoy doing. Read the guide below. (Boaters = EPIRB, Pilots = ELT, etc.)
  2. Find out if the beacon is Brand New and Unregistered or Used (Registered to previous owner).  If the beacon is used and has been previously registered, the current owner will need to contact NOAA (in the USA) and notify them to cancel their registration so that the new owner can properly register it.
  3. If you are buying and EPIRB, Personal Locator Beacon or ELT that has a dedicated Lithium battery, ask for the battery expiration date.  Know how many years are remaining on the battery before you buy it.
  4. Ask the seller for the country code in which the beacon is programmed.  If the beacon is programmed for the United States and you live in Australia or a country other than the United States, your beacon will need to be reprogrammed for your country (a reprogramming fee will apply) before you can register it.
  5. Have a question?? – Contact the manufacturer before you purchase.

Understanding the Difference between Safety/Signaling and Survival Beacons

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) – For BoatersACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB with built in GPS, GPS Interface and Digital Display
An EPIRB is a critical piece of last-resort lifesaving gear on your boat when you are out of range of a VHF radio, smartphone or other means of communication. EPIRBs are small radio transmitters, connected to a global government-run satellite network (Cospas-Sarsat), which is used worldwide to alert Search and Rescue agencies in the event of a dire emergency. Used only when all other means of rescue or communication have failed, these emergency beacons can be activated if your boat is in danger of sinking, or if you have a life-threatening accident or medical emergency.

EPIRBs are required to activate and transmit when they are removed from their brackets and immersed in water or manually activated in/out of the bracket. Category I brackets will automatically deploy the beacon when submerged between 3′ and 14′, while Category II brackets need to have the beacon released manually.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) – For any outdoor enthusiastACR ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon with built in GPS
Personal Locator Beacons, which use the same frequency and technology as an EPIRB, can be carried with you just about anywhere. They provide the same worldwide coverage as EPIRBs, and can rescue hunters, hikers, kayakers, climbers, pilots, boaters and most any outdoor enthusiast. PLBs are different from EPIRBs in some important ways. Their battery life (24hr. minimum transmit time) is often half that of an EPIRB. PLBs are not required to float or have a strobe light (but many do), and are manually deployed and activated. Like 406 MHz EPIRBs, PLBs have an additional 121.5MHz homing signal to help planes, helicopters and other searchers find you.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELTs) – For AircraftARTEX ME406 Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
An Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is an aircraft distress beacon that can be manually or automatically activated to transmit a 406 MHz emergency signal to the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system. ELTs that activate automatically use a “G-Switch” (gravity switch) that triggers the ELT when it senses that a crash has occurred. With ELTs, Search and Rescue teams may more easily pin-point the exact location of a downed aircraft. Section 91.207 of the Federal Aviation Regulations states that no person, as well as Part 121 operators and operations governed by Part 135, may operate a U.S. registered civil aircraft unless an approved automatic type emergency locator transmitter is attached to the aircraft. Similar regulations are established by aviation authorities throughout the world.

As of 2009, traditional 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer monitored by satellite. The system has been replaced by a far more powerful and robust system operating on 406 MHz. When you upgrade your ELT to 406 MHz, you will have peace of mind knowing you can be found quickly in the event of an emergency or unplanned landing. If your aircraft currently has an older 121.5 MHz ELT it’s still important to have an upgraded 406 MHz ELT that can automatically transmit a distress signal with your location. Without upgrading your ELT, it can take days or sometimes weeks to locate a crash scene. Upgrading your ELT means rescuers will know within minutes that you’re in distress, who you are, and exactly where you’re located. This will drastically increase your chances of survival.

Why a 406 MHz Beacon is Your Best Last Chance

The biggest difference between an EPIRB/Personal Locator Beacon/ELT and other signaling devices is the built in redundancy required by Search and Rescue agencies to be included inside 406 MHz beacons before they can be approved for sale.
Main Frequency: 406 MHz, this dedicated Search and Rescue frequency is transmitted to the Cospas-Sarsat Satellites with your beacons Unique Identification Number which links you and your beacon together (if properly registered).
GPS: beacons with a built in GPS provide the exact search radius
121.5 MHz homing frequency: provides Search and Rescue forces with another tool to home in on your exact location.

Additional Benefits: 406 MHz beacons are regulated and approved worldwide by the Search and Rescue community before they can ever be offered for sale. These very strict regulations require an independent test lab to validate that the beacons meet the stringent requirements. These distress beacons are a directly link to Search and Rescue forces worldwide, there is no monthly subscription fees, no cost for activating and being rescued and no third party call center required to forward your distress signal onto the appropriate Search and Rescue Agencies.

Satellite Emergency Notification Devices (SEND) – For outdoor enthusiast
This is a relatively new category of distress beacons that have just hit the market in the past few years. While they have some very popular features, it is important to understand some of their limitations when it comes to Search and Rescue. The main thing to know is the lack of redundancy, most SEND devices rely solely on having a GPS position to transmit your position. If the device is unable to acquire your GPS coordinates because of heavy tree canopy or severe weather, Search and Rescue will not know where to look for you until the beacon is able to provide this information. SEND Devices also use commercial satellites such as iridium or GlobalStar, this requires an annual subscription to use. Forget to renew your subscription and your beacon will not transmit your emergency distress signal. Finally, because these are commercial satellites, the distress signal is first received by a third party call center who then must forward it on to Search and Rescue forces and be able to provide them with all of your vital information.

Understanding the Pro’s and Con’s of different Survival Communication Devices

Product Type Benefits Limitations
EPIRBs
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  •  406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
    Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Personal Locator Beacons
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ACR beacons can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT)
  • Direct link to Search and Rescue forces world wide
  • No subscription fees
  • Built-in Redundancy
  • 406 MHz
  • GPS (Optional)
  • 121.5 Homing
  • Limited non-emergency communications (Only ARTEX ELTs can transmit a message through the        satellites to cell phones/email using their 406Link.com optional subscription).
Cell Phones
  • Most people commonly have on them at all times
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most
  • Limited Coverage
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are
Satellite Phones
  • Voice communication outside of standard cell phone ranges
  • Dead Battery when you need it the most.
  • Poor satellite reception
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Not Rugged or Waterproof
  • They rely on you to tell Search and Rescue where you are.
SEND Devices (SPOT, InReach)
  • Non-Emergency Communications
  • Tracking
  • SOS functions
  • Weak frequency
  • Low Power
  • No Redundancy
  • Costly subscription fees
  • Commercial satellites
  • 3rd party call centers
GPS Receivers
  • Tracking
  • Tells you where you are
  • GPS receivers tell You where you are, not Search and Rescue
  • Low Power Level
  • Poor Satellite Reception

How to register

You may register by visiting the SARSAT Beacon Registration page.

There is no charge for this service. IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE.

For more information see the NOAA SARSAT Homepage.