Use the Audio Panel as a Checklist

Use buttons as a step-by-step guide to set up avionics.

Tip Audio Panel

Tip Audio Panel

When setting up for an IFR flight, there is no lack of things to remember. Mnemonics and checklists are very helpful in making sure that you don’t forget anything while setting up for a departure or an approach. One way to make sure that your avionics are set up properly is to use the audio panel as a checklist.

Simply go from button to button and set the appropriate frequency or setting for each one. And for navaids within range, don’t move on to the next button until you have verified the Morse code to ensure the station is functioning properly.

Starting with comm 1, most pilots prefer to have it set for the frequency currently in use. For example, if you are setting up for departure, comm 1 would be set on the ground frequency with the tower frequency in the standby box. Comm 2 should be set for the departure frequency. This way you can switch from frequency to frequency with one button push. If you know which frequency you are going to be passed on to after the initial departure frequency, you can set it in the standby box for comm 2.

After going through the comm buttons, move on to the navs. If you’re using a GPS or glass panel equipped airplane, check that the flight plan or approach is loaded properly and that the CDI is set to GPS. Also, if you are shooting an approach, make sure that any appropriate frequency, such as an ILS frequency, is loaded into nav 1 as a backup. You should also make sure that the standby position on nav 1 is set to a useful frequency. Perhaps there is a VOR that can be used in case there is a sudden problem with the ILS.

When you have set and verified the frequencies for nav 1, move on to nav 2. There may be VORs or other navigation aids that can be used for cross radials. Make sure the active and standby positions are loaded with useful frequencies.

The DME button will audibly verify that the DME is functioning, which may be critical if you’re shooting a VOR-DME or ILS-DME approach. If you’re still using ADF, you can also verify that the station you wish to use is functioning by pressing the ADF button.

A marker beacon button can also be found on the audio panel. If you are shooting an approach, you will most likely want to engage this switch.

Using the audio panel as a checklist either on the ground or long before you get vectored onto your approach ensures that you have everything setup for maximum efficiency when things start to get busy. It allows you to focus more on the most important task — flying the airplane. The audio panel is also a checklist that you can’t forget at home and won’t fly out the window.