AVOID KANNAD ELTS!
This is more of a pilot warning than an adventure.
When N844X was built we dropped in a KANNAD ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) because why not?
The price was about $1,000 (including battery), which is sort of expensive but maybe worth it?
Fast forward a few annuals and soon it is time to replace the ELT BATTERY!
This has to be done from time to time, by law.
Kannads price on the new BATTERY?
Right around $999.
I looked at my old (identical) battery: It looked to me like about 4 Duracelle D-cells hooked together in shrink-wrap, but with worse quality and workmanship.
And the new battery, apparently no better but required by law to go in every several years or so: About a THOUSAND dollars.
That’s about a THOUSAND dollars for what looks like the equivalent of about 4 Duracelle D-cells shrunk-wrapped together in a little plastic bag.
And almost NOBODY has a choice but to be price-gouged like this, because battery replacement is mandatory, and who will go to the trouble to buy and install a different ELT?
So much easier to just get price-gouged and move on. Just try not to think about it.
This is the type of corporate extortion we see all the time: Price gouge whenever you can find a way to get away with it.
Looking up Kannad online, each web page forwards to another, tracking the acquisition history of the company, now owned by something called OROLIA? Or is it McMURDO? Can you even TELL?
It’s like each time a bigger group decided to buy the company, another level of confusion was introduced into the web pages, until they don’t even WORK right any more.
This is what part of it looks like now:
Could it be that each time a bigger company gobbled up the smaller one, the high-level managers cared less and less about the customers or their reputation and just said: “Hey how much do you think we can get out of them once we have an ELT in their airplane?”
Is that actually the dumbest question I have ever even asked?
About a thousand dollars for what looks to me like about 4 d-cells in a plastic bag, sold by a company whose name and ownership I can no longer even determine.
I don’t think so.
So I threw my Kannad in the trash and got an ARTEX, where they don’t price-gouge you for the batteries.
So if anyone reading this is home-building an airplane and looking for an ELT, be aware that if you get a Kannad you are setting yourself up to pay about thousand dollars for what to me looks like the equivalent of about 4 D-cell batteries in a shrink-wrap bag, every time the batteries comes due for replacement. With all of the construction and maintenance I’ve done on 844X, there’s been plenty of expensive stuff, but this is the most obvious case of price-gouging I’ve seen, confirmed by seeing the small handful of little batteries that look like D-cells in a plastic bag and knowing that someone at Kannad, or Oroila, or McMurdo, or some other company in the tangled ownership chain, knew how hard it is to switch over to a different ELT brand.
So if you are reading this and considering an ELT for your airplane, be aware of the above.