Air Force technology drives new PS Engineering audio panel

Improves audio situational awareness

July 15, 2014

Editor's Note: PS Engineering received FAA technical standard order (TSO) approval of the PMA450 in time for EAA AirVenture and shipped its first unit July 28.

PS Engineering is incorporating U.S. Air Force technology into its new PMA450 audio panel.

Sorting friend from foe and dealing with various weapons systems can make for a busy fighter cockpit. To help pilots sort out the audio cues, the U.S. Air Force developed a means for placing sounds at different places in the headphone earcups, improving situational awareness. Now general aviation pilots can benefit from that same technology thanks to a patent licensing arrangement by PS Engineering.

The company, known for its audio panels and in-flight entertainment systems, is incorporating the patented technology into its new PMA450 audio panel—a plug-and-play replacement for the PMA8000 series and the Garmin GMA340 audio panel, reducing installation costs. PS Engineering brands the new licensed technology IntelliAudio. It places sound from Com 1 and Com 2 in up to nine positions within the earcup, allowing the pilot to focus on an air traffic control call on Com 1, for example, at a time when he might also be monitoring an ATIS frequency on Com 2.

In addition to IntelliAudio, the PMA450 provides a simplified user interface for managing audio and uses three buttons and a screen for pilot-controlled use of up to three switched audio inputs, each named as the pilot prefers. The buttons allow the pilot to drill down into each audio source for access to additional control of that input, whether stereo music, GPS or angle of attack alerts, or com or nav radios. The panel also includes a 10-watt USB charger for portable devices.

As with many other PS Engineering audio panels, the PMA450 includes a Bluetooth interface for connecting various devices to the aircraft audio system, including telephone calls to ATC for IFR clearances.

The PMA450 will be available for demonstration at the company’s booth at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 28 through Aug. 3. List price is $2,395 with a built-in marker beacon receiver; $100 less if you don’t need that receiver.

Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines | Editor in Chief, AOPA

AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.