July 2008 Issue

Letters: 07/08

Your report on ELTs, PLBs and the SPOT was useful. But I think you didnít give SPOT a fair assessment. Allow me to augment what you printed on the subject. SPOT does not rely on the unit surviving and operating correctly after an accident in order to summon help. I was heavily involved in the search for Steve Fossett and I couldnít figure out why his ELT had not led us to him. From Web research, I soon discovered that ELTs get destroyed, drowned, detach their antenna or battery, or arenít working even before the crash. If Steve had a SPOT on board, it would have tracked him to the scene of the accident, with a recorded trace readily available. It would have summoned help instantly if he was physically able to press the button. Even if he couldnít do that, the alarm would have been sounded within the hour of his being overdue.

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