I had my first ELT experience as an Airport Manager on Friday night. I left the terminal around 5pm and headed to the store to do some grocery shopping with my wife. When we got home later that night I had 4 messages on my answering machine that there is a possible downed aircraft and 911, CAP, and EMS are looking for me to help in the S&R operations.
We searched using CAP, a helicopter w/ FLIR, and an aircraft for hours! Finally around 1am on Saturday morning we opened up hangar 7 on field a the plane inside had the ELT going off! It seemed to be a faulty power wire connection combined with a aging ELT.
The ironic thing is that I had received an e-mail from the FAA that morning about the phasing out of the 121.5MHz ELT’s by Feb 1, 2009.
It was a learning experience that is leading to the updating of emergency procedures at my airport and the re-issuing of hangar locks so that the airport, and EMS, has a single master key.