Reporting Accidents

Aeronautics Division

Call 406-444-2506

M-F 0800–1700 MST/MDT

Highway Patrol Dispatch

Call 406-841-7022

After hours, weekends or holidays.
Ask for the Aeronautics Duty Officer

The Montana Aeronautics Division was created by the Laws of Montana in 1945 and was charged with the responsibility of public safety relating to aviation, the promotion of aviation, and the coordination of state and federal agencies engaged in aviation operations within the state.

The Aeronautics Division is responsible for air search operations pertaining to civil aircraft within the state of Montana. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is responsible for search and rescue operations pertaining to incidents involving military and air carrier aircraft within the United States.

Responsibility for operations pertaining to aircraft search and rescue in Montana may be broken into two categories: the Montana Aeronautics Division and the County Sheriff Departments. The Montana Aeronautics Division is responsible for the air search for missing aircraft; assists the Flight Service Station with overdue aircraft and is responsible for Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) broadcasts in the state. Missing persons are the responsibility of the County Sheriff Departments, the ground search operations are the responsibility of the Sheriffs for their respective counties in Montana.

Montana Aeronautics SAR Division accomplishes the requirements of the air search operations by utilizing Montana Volunteer pilots and their aircraft. Air search operations are divided up into 14 Districts comprised of three to eight counties. In each of the 14 Districts are a volunteer coordinator and co-coordinator to assist in the planning and operations of the search.

406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter Beacons Require Owner Update

Did you just purchase a new aircraft equipped with a 406 MHz ELT, change your tail number, or install a new ELT in your aircraft? If so, please be sure to update your registration information with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

  • The FAA does NOT update ELT registration information when you buy or sell an aircraft or make any tail number or address changes.
  • It is a good idea to confirm your information is correct and updated at every annual inspection.
  • The information on the beacon is critical for finding you in the event of a search and rescue situation. Please be sure your name, home address, phone number, aircraft tail number, and your emergency contact names and numbers are all correct. It could make all the difference in locating you quicker in an emergency.

Please help prevent false ELT alerts!

Check your radio on frequency 121.5 before you shut down the engine every flight. Should your ELT be accidently activated, you will hear it sounding. If you find yourself in this situation, switch it off and call the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) to let them know it was accidentally going off, you silenced it, and everything is okay. Chances are, search efforts are already underway to look for you, even if your ELT was on for only a few seconds! Do not ignore it. You can contact AFRCC 24/7 at 1-800-851-3051.

Remember, always file a flight plan!

Montana law requires flight plans to be filed for all VFR flights over 250NM.

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