I continue to get questions about the avionics in our Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). Thanks to Mike Rogers for creating a special place within the BLOG section of the website. It’s a perfect place to start a series of quick tips about how to get maximum value from our avionics. The goal is not to give a complete training, but to highlight areas of interest.

Let’s start with one that doesn’t get talked about much. The Audio Panel. Yep, many people don’t think twice about the audio panel, but with it being part of the core of your communications, it is critical to understand it’s operation.

By the way, there is an on/off control on the unit. The left small knob, when turned all the way counter clockwise, will click, turning off the unit. That same knob controls the volume of the Pilot’s intercom (ICS) volume. It does not control the volume of ATC. That is controlled on the Comm Radio. Speaking of the small knobs, the right one controls the Co-Pilot ICS… AND the backseat passengers. The way to control the passengers’ ICS volume is to pull the right small knob out before setting the volume. When finished, push the small right knob in, and its back to controlling the co-pilot’s ICS volume. Click on Read More to read more (can’t be more clear than that).

Point of interest, if power is lost to the unit or it is turned off, there is a failsafe mode which automatically connects the pilot’s communications to the COM1 radio.

If you are flying with a “co-pilot”, please be aware of the COM ½ button on the panel. It’s a great asset. When pushed, the pilot’s radio is on COM1 for both transmit and receive, while the co-pilot transmits and receives on COM2. Great to use when the pilot is talking to ATC, so the co-pilot can pick up ATIS, get updated weather, give a pilot report, etc.

The use of the “cabin audio” mode buttons are especially useful when there are passengers aboard. If they do not have a headset (ouch), use of the SPKR button will allow all inbound communications to be heard over the cabin speaker. The PA button will put the pilot’s voice (when the mic is keyed) over the cabin speaker (no need to push the SPKR button).

The ICS Isolation buttons allow you to control who communicates with whom in the cabin. Pressing the PILOT button isolates the pilot from the rest of the headsets. So no one can hear ATC communications or talk to the pilot. (and the pilot cannot talk to anyone in the plane either). The CREW button isolates the front seats from the back seats. The pilot and co-pilot can talk and hear each other (and ATC), while the back seat occupants can only hear each other. This is good to use when the passengers do not want to hear ATC, or if you don’t want them to hear what you are saying to your co-pilot or ATC. Just remember, with this on, you will not hear the back seat passenger try to warn you that your wing is about to hit a fence post (more about that another time).

I hope this was of value. I will post others, but request you please let me know of any questions you may have.



Marc Epner is an instrument rated private pilot who earned his rating in 1976. After a 25-year hiatus, Marc rekindled his love of aviation in 2004 and has become a part owner of a SR-22. Marc looks for opportunities to be an advocate for general aviation through presentations, writing and flying.