Avionics News January 2016 - 26
ALL HAIL THE HUMBLE
TODAY, THEY DO MORE
THAN EVER BEFORE
S T O R Y
D A V E
H I G D O N
nocking around fly-ins, air shows and general aviation airports, you still see a significant percentage of light GA aircraft flying without an audio control panel. Many aircraft
simply lack the need.
With one comm, some form of navigational receiver and a transponder, these aircraft often lack
an audio control panel but sport a portable intercom or a simple panel-mounted intercom.
The first Part 23 aircraft in my life had one VHF nav/comm combination with glideslope, a
Mode C transponder, a Loran C navigator and a four-place portable intercom to manage cockpit
communications. A stand-alone marker beacon receiver rounded out the IFR equipment.
No audio panel; no need.
But decide to upgrade such a basic panel, and an audio panel may come into need. Such simple
avionics panels still come off production lines, often in light sport aircraft or experimental aircraft
with panels built around simple needs.
As many owners decide to move beyond their only basic panels, and for aircraft sporting erastraddling stacks - a mix of 1960- and 1970-vintage audio panels sharing stack space with a sameera VHF nav/comm plus a moving-map GPS - an audio panel becomes a viable option.
Go beyond VFR to IFR, and an audio panel is a smart choice to be part of the aircraft's panel.