Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Staying Safe

A guide to gadgets that will keep you and your passengers secure

staying safeRemember when CB radios were actually useful? Like CBs and just about everything originally intended for emergency purposes, many of the safety items listed in this article are for situations of distress, where life, eyesight or organ health is in danger. Let’s all be careful and professional when using PLBs (personal locator beacons) and ELTs (emergency locator transmitters).
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staying safeArtex 406 MHz ELT
The Artex line of 406 MHz ELTs is designed to afford the user maximum exposure to search and rescue whenever the devices are activated. Hannes Geiger (Sales and Marketing Manager) cautioned against having a false sense of security from relying on just a PLB as a substitute for an automatic (fixed) ELT. PLBs (frequently carried by hunters or found in life-raft survival packs) need to be manually activated, “and what if you’re incapacitated or unconscious?” he asked. The Artex 406 MHz ELTs all have TSO-C126 approval and are complete systems with specific antennas. All fixed installations connect to a remote cockpit switch that allows manual activation and closes the G-switch loop. (They’re left open until installation, so they won’t go off accidentally when the units are in transport.) Antenna requirements are dependent on the rated speed of your aircraft: up to 200 knots, a whip antenna will do the job; up to 350, you can use a rod antenna; above that, you’ll need a blade antenna to ensure full functionality.
For more information, contact: Artex Aircraft Supplies Inc., (800) 547-8901,

staying safeBRS Parachutes
“We’ve turned a corner in the marketplace in the last five years,” said BRS CEO Larry Williams. “Then, the question was, ‘Why do you need a parachute for the airplane?’ Now, it’s ‘Why doesn’t this airplane have one?’” The gradual acceptance through the industry paralleled the consumer acceptance of (and finally demand for) air bags in cars. “With more than 205 documented ‘saves,’ the product is established,” said Williams, and the industry is responding. At AOPA Expo 2007, BRS announced that Cessna now offers a parachute option on the new C-162 Skycatcher LSA. In addition, Cessna service stations will begin sales, distribution and installation of the BRS parachutes for the 172 and 182 models as an aftermarket retrofit. BRS has also begun work on an STC for the C-206, making BRS whole-airframe parachutes available for the full line of Cessna single-engine pistons. Williams also reported that the D-JET system is scheduled to begin certification testing in November 2007.
For more information, contact: Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc., (651) 457-7491,

CO Guardian Model 152WD
CO Guardian can save your life for $149. That’s how much its Model 152WD (without display) costs; the 152A, which has a display that starts showing at 30 ppm of carbon monoxide (you need about 400 to go to sleep), lists at $179. Plug it into your 14- or 28-volt cigarette lighter, and it’s ready to alert you to dangerous CO. It’s shielded from radio-interference for aviation use, and it’s temperature-compensated to work in cabins from minus-20 to 70 degrees C—this Arizona-based company knows about extremes. It’s been tested at cabin altitudes up to 13,500 feet—all you’ll need. (Above that, you’re on oxygen, right?)
For more information, contact: CO Guardian, (800) 639-7139,

Eastern Aero Marine Aviation Rafts
Eastern Aero Marine’s line of aviation rafts starts with bare-bones, two-person, non-TSO’d units and goes up all the way to a 46-man, airline-approved monster. Among the smaller-sized flotation devices, single-tube Type II rafts and even smaller, lighter, less-expensive (non-TSO’d) rafts are popular choices—even the most basic raft is better than no raft at all! In the twin-tube designs, Eastern Aero Marine’s twin-tube Type I (TSO’d) rafts come in capacities as small as six-person (with an overload of nine). Additionally, this Miami-based company offers a variety of survival items, prepackaged kits (tailored for survival in various environments) and individual pieces of gear.
For more information, contact: Eastern Aero Marine Inc., (800) THE-RAFT,


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