Ameri-King Corporation loses TSO for ELT AK-450 and AK-451

evargas163

Manny Vargas
Location
Temecula CA
#1
Hello Everyone,

I do not know if this is the correct area to post this information or everyone may be aware of this issue. A friend just informed me that some Ameri-King ELT's are no longer authorized for certified aircraft. After looking through the logbook, I just found out that my Citabria 7GCAA is equipped with an Ameri-King AK-450 ELT. As per the enclosed AOPA article, this company lost the TSO for noncompliance and problems with the manufacturing process.

This is an AOPA article and Link:
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring repetitive inspections of Ameri-King Corp. Model AK-450- and AK-451-series emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) in response to multiple reports of ELT failures and a report of “noncompliance to quality standards and manufacturer processes.”
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/september/20/faa-issues-ad-for-ameriking-elts

This is the
https://www.federalregister.gov/doc...ing-corporation-emergency-locator-transmitter

Any recommendation for a replacement ELT. There are several listed on Aircraft Spruce. I am considering the Artex ELT model 345.

Thanks,
Manny
 

rmac

New member
Location
Vermont
#2
I did not interpret the AD the way you and your friend seem to have done. I think you can legally keep your AK-450 as long as you comply with the inspection requirements spelled out in the AD.

Whether you WANT to keep it is another story, given the AD, Ameri-King’s deceptive practices, their being out of business, and the marginal protection any 121.5 ELT now provides. I had the same unit you do, and I just decided I didn’t trust it. I went with a Kannad unit that is a plug-compatible, 406mhz replacement for the AK-450. It’s this one: https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/kannad_amerifit.php. It was a straightforward installation except that I had to replace my antenna for 406mhz compatibility. We didn’t find that the manual documented that fact clearly. There’s a list of compatible antennas on Kannad’s website, but I went with https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/ant200.php.

Rick
 

aftCG

Well-known member
Location
Tacoma, WA
#3
I have to see what ELT is in my plane. I use an InReach Explorer for many of my activities away from home, so I'll stick with whatever meets the legal requirement for the lowest cost for aircraft ELT.

The InReach works great in my case, because motorcycles and aircraft scare the stuffing out of my favorite woman. If she can look and see me still moving she's okay staying home. It shows my last position within 10 minutes to a casual observer, but actually logs position, altitude and speed in 1 minute intervals - and that data is available to SAR if needed.
If I'm alive I can text my status via satellite to any phone or email. It has an SOS button to summon the pros - something I hope to avoid if at all possible. If I'm not alive then I'm not in a hurry, and even if the unit was destroyed it would still place a recovery party dang close.
 

evargas163

Manny Vargas
Location
Temecula CA
#4
Thanks for the reply.

Based on my research, the recertification. Of the AK-451is about half the price of a new ELT plus AK is out of business.

In my case, a new ELT will be the best investment.

Manny
 
#5
Thanks for the reply.

Based on my research, the recertification. Of the AK-451is about half the price of a new ELT plus AK is out of business.

In my case, a new ELT will be the best investment.

Manny
What did you decide to go with? I’m needing to find a good replacement as well.
 

Joesf

Active member
#6
It sounds like the Kannad is the way to go. That's what Ill be doing by next annual. The install should minimal. I also carry a personal epirb when I fly. It is small and inexpensive portable insurance that can be used for other things such as backcountry excursions.
I just found this one . Battery lasts 6 years and costs $ 200 to replace. $560 for unit. Artex 345 ELT. Another one that they claim is an easy replace. Also has built in gps. So maybe this one. It also includes a whip antenna.
Manual
https://www.acrartex.com/download-product-attachment?download_id=856
Aircraft spruce
https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/artex11-13989.php
Battery and aceesories
https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/artex11-13989.php

I had a little bit of trouble finding the Kannad website. Here it is.
https://www.orolia.com/products-services/aviation/kannad-ameri-fit-pack

Kannad Integra manual
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1289468/Kannad-Af-Integra.html?page=50

Aircraft speuce
https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/kannad_amerifit.php
Battery info:
https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/kannadBAT200.php
KITBAT200 (P/N S1840510-01)
 
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#7
Thanks for the input. I was looking at the Artex 345, and leaning more towards it rather than the ACK 406/121.5. I haven't heard of the Kannad, so ill have to check it out. I was hoping it would be relatively easy to remove and replace, but when never know what to expect when routing the new wires and antenna.
 

Joesf

Active member
#8
It looks pretty easy on a citabria if you already have the panel control. The artex comes with an antenna. My antenna is mounted to the airframe inside near the battery behind the luggage space, so that’s a short run, if the coax needs to be replaced. .
Here’s the ack info from aircraft spruce. I hadn’t seen this one.
https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/avpages/elt406.php
 
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aftCG

Well-known member
Location
Tacoma, WA
#10
Ok, circling back on this. Checked my ELT and it's a Narco ELT-10. It's also in need of a battery ($32 thank you)

Some good arguments here and other places to update to this century. Looks like there is no drop in replacement for my Narco but that's not a show stopper given where my bits are located.

Rick,
The Kannad has a built in gps transmitter. The Artex does not. You pay for what you get.
Searching just now, the Artex does imply built in GPS:
"The ARTEX ELT 345 transmits on 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz frequencies while providing position accuracy thanks to the built-in GPS navigational interface. GPS data is embedded within the first emergency transmission"

However the Ack E-04 listed in my brand new Wag Aero catalog appears to be GPS free. Given the $100-ish price difference the Artex seems the best deal.

If...
Does the Artex use of the word "interface" mean I have to provide it GPS signal from somewhere else?

I ask because I have no panel mount GPS and won't be installing one. I am however about to install a GDL-82 which comes with a WAAS antenna. If it were possible to skim that location data then Artex it is.
 
#11
Ok, circling back on this. Checked my ELT and it's a Narco ELT-10. It's also in need of a battery ($32 thank you)

Some good arguments here and other places to update to this century. Looks like there is no drop in replacement for my Narco but that's not a show stopper given where my bits are located.


Searching just now, the Artex does imply built in GPS:
"The ARTEX ELT 345 transmits on 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz frequencies while providing position accuracy thanks to the built-in GPS navigational interface. GPS data is embedded within the first emergency transmission"

However the Ack E-04 listed in my brand new Wag Aero catalog appears to be GPS free. Given the $100-ish price difference the Artex seems the best deal.

If...
Does the Artex use of the word "interface" mean I have to provide it GPS signal from somewhere else?

I ask because I have no panel mount GPS and won't be installing one. I am however about to install a GDL-82 which comes with a WAAS antenna. If it were possible to skim that location data then Artex it is.
That is my impression as well, I am leaning toward the ARTEX, I also read the following form their website. "GPS data is embedded within the first emergency transmission and provides Search and Rescue personnel with the aircraft location, within 100 meters, in less than a minute."
I was hoping to hear from someone who had installed this system. Good luck
 
#12
From page16 of 57 from the Artex manual link I posted above. Note items 2d and 5.

The ELT automatically activates during a crash and transmits a continuous standard sweep tone on the 121.5 MHz frequency. The first digitally encoded 406 MHz burst will start transmitting. Approximately every 50 seconds thereafter, the 406 MHz transmitter turns on and transmits an encoded signal of either 440ms or 520 ms, depending on the beacon programming protocol. This message is received by the Cospas-Sarsat Search and Rescue (SAR) satellite system.
2) The information contained in the message includes:
a) Beacon serial number, or
b) Aircraft identification or registration number
c) Country of registration and country code

d) Position coordinates, if beacon is programmed to receive position data from the aircraft navigation system

3) When the 406 MHz signal is detected by the Cospas–Sarsat satellite system, a position is calculated and the 121.5 MHz signal is used to home in on the crash site.
4) The 406 MHz transmitter will operate in this mode for 24 hours and then shut down automatically. The 121.5 MHz transmitter (homer transmitter) will continue to operate until the batteries are exhausted, which is at least 50 hours.

5) The location accuracy of the 406 MHz transmitter is typically 3 km. If position information is extracted from the aircraft navigation system, the accuracy improves to approximately 100 meters (standard or national location protocol).

6) The 406 MHz digital message provides search and rescue authorities the information to contact the owner/operator of the aircraft through information contained in a database. The database may include:
a) Type of aircraft and aircraft registration number
b) Owner address and telephone number
c) Alternate emergency contact
7) Previous to February 9, 2009, the COSPAS-SARSAT system used the 121.5 MHz signal as an aid to determine beacon location. As of this date, the use of this signal for satellite location has been terminated, as the accuracy proved too poor. 406 MHz capable ELTs replace the older Class B beacons.
8) Aircraft communications transceivers are not capable of receiving 406 MHz transmissions; therefore, the only methods of monitoring the ELT are:
a) The blinking cockpit remote switch LED
b) The buzzer
c) 121.5 MHz transmissions, which can be monitored using the aircraft communications transceiver or an AM radio tuned to the frequency 121.5 MHz.
 

aftCG

Well-known member
Location
Tacoma, WA
#13
From page16 of 57 from the Artex manual link I posted above. Note items 2d and 5.

The ELT automatically activates during a crash and transmits a continuous standard sweep tone on the 121.5 MHz frequency. The first digitally encoded 406 MHz burst will start transmitting. Approximately every 50 seconds thereafter, the 406 MHz transmitter turns on and transmits an encoded signal of either 440ms or 520 ms, depending on the beacon programming protocol. This message is received by the Cospas-Sarsat Search and Rescue (SAR) satellite system.
2) The information contained in the message includes:
a) Beacon serial number, or
b) Aircraft identification or registration number
c) Country of registration and country code

d) Position coordinates, if beacon is programmed to receive position data from the aircraft navigation system

3) When the 406 MHz signal is detected by the Cospas–Sarsat satellite system, a position is calculated and the 121.5 MHz signal is used to home in on the crash site.
4) The 406 MHz transmitter will operate in this mode for 24 hours and then shut down automatically. The 121.5 MHz transmitter (homer transmitter) will continue to operate until the batteries are exhausted, which is at least 50 hours.

5) The location accuracy of the 406 MHz transmitter is typically 3 km. If position information is extracted from the aircraft navigation system, the accuracy improves to approximately 100 meters (standard or national location protocol).

6) The 406 MHz digital message provides search and rescue authorities the information to contact the owner/operator of the aircraft through information contained in a database. The database may include:
a) Type of aircraft and aircraft registration number
b) Owner address and telephone number
c) Alternate emergency contact
7) Previous to February 9, 2009, the COSPAS-SARSAT system used the 121.5 MHz signal as an aid to determine beacon location. As of this date, the use of this signal for satellite location has been terminated, as the accuracy proved too poor. 406 MHz capable ELTs replace the older Class B beacons.
8) Aircraft communications transceivers are not capable of receiving 406 MHz transmissions; therefore, the only methods of monitoring the ELT are:
a) The blinking cockpit remote switch LED
b) The buzzer
c) 121.5 MHz transmissions, which can be monitored using the aircraft communications transceiver or an AM radio tuned to the frequency 121.5 MHz.
Thank you Joesf.
That would indicate the need for signal from another device. Seems, uh, not that robust of a system. What if you have an emergency and need to kill the master switch? Seems like you're going to live (or not) with +/- 3km accuracy in that case.
 
#14
The question is how long does it take the satellites to get a fix without the gps? In some cases two satellite passes may be necessary.
Of course I am still flying around with the old Americans King. I do have the ACR PLB with me however. I think one of those is a good thing to have on you.
I’ve not made a decision yet but it seems once you forget about the extra up front money the Kannad may be the way to go.
 
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