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Record Audio in Airplane

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Well-known member
Jan 7, 2002
I work for a news station and I'm bringing a reporter up in the plane with a camera so we can get some sweet arial shots. I want to be able to record the audio from ATC to the camera. Does anybody know what special stuff I would need to do that?

Nick Kitchen
[email protected]
1.) Best way - most of the portable intercom systems have a jack on them to allow this - it is the small size plug which is compatible to CD players and tape recorders.

2.) Easiest way - go to Radio Shack and get a normal "large stereo headphone to small stereo headphone conversion jack and plug this into one of your "phone" outputs. There is a caveat. Our sound in the airplane is considered "mono" or one channel. Therefore the recording will only pick up either a "right" or "left" track on the recording tape. Your reporter will have to get a technician to "dub" the right or left track onto the opposite side to make a decent sounding tape.

3.) I went one better but you have to understand how a stereo plug "fits" into our "mono" outlets. Then visiting radio shack again and this time using a soldering iron and some intercom wire, I connected the "mono" output from a male stereo plug to both channels of a female stereo phone plug. This "patch" cord was about 6 inches long and then I used the large to small plug as in #2 above but now without loss of sound on one channels.

PS. Mono plug has two wires (ground and sound). Stereo plugs has three wires (ground, right and left). When you put a Stereo plug in on of our "phone" outputs you only hear sound in one side, that's why you can't use stereo headphones in an airplane. (comfortably) Got it? A lot of the new aviation headphones have a "M/S" switch on the cord for this reason.

Good luck. Did you talk with AOPA or get their handout on handling the press? There are some nice insights on how to handle questions and putting a positive spin on aviation. If you are on a short time frame, I would call them (800 number) and get some info.

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