My ELT Went Off


Well-Known Member
So a few days ago, I was flying from Chesapeake, VA to Manassas, VA and apparently I was flying and my ELT was going off throughout the entire flight. I requested flight following and the controller asked me if my ELT was activated because to him there was an "annoying" sound whenever I keyed the mic. This was the first time that happened to me after flying over 15 some years. I had no indications (in the cockpit) illuminating it was activated. Apparently it was, so I continued. After landing and I switched over to ground freq is when I heard it. The alarm was going off. Everyone could hear it. It went off for about 5 seconds on and off. And of course, the ground controller was telling me my ELT is going off. What I don't understand is how it was activated. I never did accidentally hit the ELT switch in the cockpit, nor my landing was NOT rough. I called the tower on my cellphone after shutdown and gave them a heads up that I am safely on the ground and asked if this would be a problem. She knew it was a false alarm and thought a bad landing could have triggered it. Anyway, I didn't want search and rescue to be deployed and waste their time because an ELT accidentally went off falsely. I hear it's a very common occurrence. But I am no student pilot....well, instrument rating student pilot you can say. The flight back today was fine. I monitored 121.5 on COMM2 and seems like there were no problems.

What did I do wrong and what SHOULD I have done if this happened again? Should I have not continue my flight and fly back to my originating airfield?


Estrellas Asesino
Does your "Cockpit Control" have an "OFF" position? I would have considered turning it off if it was inadvertently transmitting. Mainly to keep from annoying anyone whose job it is to monitor....

I have never heard of SAR being dispatched based on an ELT alone. It happens waaay too many times. A transmitting ELT + an overdue a/c or mayday call? Different story.

Personally, I probably would've arranged to have MX take a look at it where I landed. Might have been an easy fix on something you know is malfunctioning.

All that said, it doesn't sound like you did anything "wrong". No one got hurt and no one gave you any paperwork to fill out. I would simply say chalk it up as a leaning experience and consider what you would personally do differently next time it happens....

My $.02.


Well-Known Member
If its a 30 min flight and they can take a look at your destination, fine, a 2 hour solo x-country might not be advisable.

Definitely take a look at what the mechanics do when they check it out.