Past Meetup

SCAPA Dinner, Meeting & Presentation


Join us for the monthly gathering of the South County Airport Pilots Association. We are a friendly and diverse group of pilots and aviation enthusiasts, and guests are welcome! We start gathering at 5:30 PM, serve dinner* at 6, hold a business meeting at 6:45, and we provide a speaker presentation at 7 PM as follows:

ELTs and PLBs: Differences and Similarities

Presented by Herb Patten, San Carlos Airport Pilots Association

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are becoming cheaper and more reliable. Why would a pilot need a PLB if they already have an onboard ELT? How would a PLB help a pilot in an emergency? What is a PLB anyway?

Most pilots are aware of the onboard Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) in their personal or rented airplane. Most know that the older models transmitted a distress signal on 121.5-MHz in the event of a hard landing. But how many know the details on how the new models work? How does an ELT differ from a PLB? Do you know the differences in who receives your distress signal and how quickly?

In this seminar we will explain the critical differences between PLBs and ELTs. We will review the history of the emergence of the regulations on ELTs, review accident data that highlights the problems and challenges of the original ELT design, describe the enhancements offered in the new 406-MHz ELT and how they function, and provide an update on proposed regulations for ELT requirements. Additionally, Herb will compare and contrast various PLB solutions on the market.

Herb Patten is an FAA certificated advanced and instrument ground instructor. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating, has over 600 hours and flown into 111 different California airports. He is a board member of the San Carlos Pilot Association, SCAPA, co-founder of the Bay Area Student and New Pilot group, and an executive member of the Upwind Summer Scholarship Program steering committee. When not giving presentations he can be found in the air pursuing his aviation interest or supporting others in their flying adventures.


*Dinner $15 members, $20 non-members