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The aircraft I was flying today has a push to talk integrated button on each control yoke. I was sitting in the right seat, but my headset was plugged into the jacks on the left side of the cockpit. When I pushed the right mic button, the tower could hear a carrier wave but no voice transmission. It was only when I pushed the left mic button that they could hear my transmission. Is this normal? Seems like pushing either mic button should allow a transmission from either headset.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for all these responses. They make perfect sense to me now, although I wish the operation of the G1000 audio functions had been explained to me when I was first getting up to speed on it. They might be buried in the several hundred page operation manual, but I got bogged down in it after the first hundred pages! I'll be sure to let any of my future students know they have to switch plugs when they use a different PTT switch! $\endgroup$ – Lee Apr 15 at 14:52
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This is the expected behaviour. The other pilot might make some sound or even talk to someone else. You don't want any noise interfering with your own voice during transmission. Two microphones picking up your voice might also decrease the sound quality because of the small delay between the two locations.

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    $\begingroup$ The speed of sound over a few feet won't matter at all; you just don't want noise from the other mic. Also, if both pilots try to key up and talk, it's better that one of them (the first) gets heard and the other gets locked out, rahter than ATC or other pilots hearing a garbled mess. $\endgroup$ – StephenS Mar 17 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenS: I agree that the extra noise is more a problem than the voice echo, but there is no doubt that 3 to 6 ms multi-path delay (depending on the size of your cockpit) is noticeable and impairs sound quality. $\endgroup$ – bogl Mar 17 at 16:33
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That‘s what is supposed to happen. The person in the right seat might be having a conversation with another passenger and you don’t want their conversation to be transmitted to ATC.

Most audio panels also have a button that lets you isolate the pilot or crew from the rest of the passengers. I use that button all the time when on takeoff and landing so that passengers can continue to talk to each other and I don’t get distracted and miss important checklist items or radio calls.

My audio panel even lets the pilot and co-pilot talk on different frequencies.

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We can both be listening and able to talk on Com 1 radio or Com 2 radio. Or the pilot can be on Com 1 and the Co-pilot on Com 2 and vice versa. On my little plane it isn’t too useful, but it can be handy.

The pilot can be monitoring and talking to ATC for flight following while the co-pilot is talking to Flight Services and getting updated weather or filing a PIREP (pilot report of weather). Or if it is a busy frequency, the co-pilot can listen to the ATIS without having to pick out the details over the chatter on the main frequency.

Knowing how this works can be important. I have had the PTT switch fail in flight and the only way to communicate with ATC was to plug the headset into the other set of jacks and use the PTT switch on the other yoke to communicate.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your audio panel doesn't support a separate mic that either pilot can grab and use in case of headset failure? My Cessna 177B with PS Engineering intercom (one of the 6000 series) has that. Also I use two comm's frequently, such as having a pilot passenger grab the ATIS while I monitor ATC when approaching a busy airspace and I don't want to be off frequency. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Apr 15 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads My audio panel doesn’t have a mic input, but there is one in the plane. I probably should test it some day to see how it works. I also have a handheld that I can connect to an external-antenna jack in the dash. And I have called them up on my cell phone when the radios failed. So I guess I was overstating it a bit when I said that the only way to communicate was by using the co-pilot set of plugs. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Apr 15 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I have a jack for a handheld also, plugging it in connects to one of the antennas and disconnects the panel radio so the handheld isn't fighting the panel radio. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Apr 15 at 20:54

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