Using The Radios

Selecting, tuning, dialing it in

The radios in Flight Simulator are used to communicate with air traffic control. Occasionally you must tune the radios to new frequencies as you pass through various controllers' areas of responsibility.

There are two ways to tune the radios: by using the Autotune feature and by tuning manually. To learn about interacting with ATC, see Air Traffic Control.

Using Autotune

Switching radio frequencies is easy if you use the Autotune feature because the switching is done for you automatically. This frees you to concentrate on flying the aircraft and navigating to your destination. When you select an ATC menu item that contacts a new controller (for example Contact Approach), the radio frequency changes to the new controller's frequency automatically.

When using Autotune, you may not hear anything on the radio until you choose an item from the ATC menu, even if there are other aircraft talking to ATC (unless you're already tuned to an active frequency). That's because the radio is not tuned until you initiate contact by choosing a message from the menu.

Tuning the Radios Manually

Pilots who want to do it all can bypass the Autotune feature by tuning the radios by hand. This means you'll have to tune the radios manually each time a frequency change is required.

1-Standby frequency,
2-Standby flip/flop switch

New menu items appear in the ATC window when you tune the radio to a new frequency. If you want to see choices for messages to a tower controller, for example, you must first tune the radio to the tower frequency.

To tune a new frequency into a communication, navigation, or ADF radio

  1. Press SHIFT+2, or click on the panel to bring up the radio stack.
  2. Position the pointer over the radio frequency you want to change.
  3. Use the mouse wheel to change the frequency up or down.
- or -
  1. Point to the standby frequency numbers. The pointer changes to a hand.
  2. Move the pointer left or right.
    A plus sign (+) or minus sign (-) appears on it.
  3. To increase the frequency numbers, position the pointer so you see a plus sign, and then click the left mouse button.
  4. To decrease the frequency numbers, position the pointer so you see a minus sign, and then click the left mouse button.
  5. When you have the correct frequency dialed in, click the white button labeled STBY (sometimes called the flip-flop switch).

- or -

  1. Press C to select the primary frequency numbers on Com 1 radio (the numbers to the left of the decimal). Press C+2 to select the primary frequency numbers on Com 2 radio.

  1. Press the C key twice to select the secondary frequency numbers on Com 1 radio (the numbers to the right of the decimal). Press the C key twice, and then press 2 to select the secondary frequency numbers on Com 2 radio.
    • Press the PLUS SIGN key (+) to increase the frequency numbers.

      - or -

    • Press the MINUS SIGN key (-) to decrease the frequency numbers.

This also works for the NAV, ADF, and transponder radios by first pressing the N (N+2 for NAV 2), A, and T keys, respectively, or by using the mouse wheel.

The Audio Panel

Use the audio panel's Com 1, Com 2, or Both buttons to choose which radios you want to transmit on and listen to. To choose a radio to Autotune, transmit, and receive on, click either the Com 1 or Com 2 button on the Audio panel. If you click the Both button, you will still be transmitting on the radio you had previously selected, but listening to both radios. This can be especially helpful on approach, since you don't want to tune away from the controller in order to hear ATIS (if you do, you'll miss traffic calls). You can also listen to the audio identifiers for the nav radios by selecting their buttons on the audio panel as well. If you have controllers tuned in on both radios, and the Both button is lit on the audio panel, it will sound very busy and perhaps be difficult to understand.

Audio panel for the Cessnas.
The audio panel may look
different in other aircraft.


To use the audio panel

  • Click the button for the radio you want to listen to.

When the green light on the button is lit, the audio channel for that radio is active.

To listen to more than one radio at the same time

  • Click the Both button on the audio panel.


To find a particular communication or navigation frequency

  • Look up the frequency using real-world charts.
- or -
  1. On the World menu, select Map.
  2. On the map, point to the airport or navigation aid whose frequency you are looking for.
    (You may have to use the map's Zoom feature.)