Top DO-178C and DO-254 Optimization Tactics (Planning Aspects)

The rapid increase in the use of software in airborne systems and equipment on aircraft and engines in the early 1980s resulted in the need for industry-accepted guidance for satisfying airworthiness requirements. DO-178, “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification”, was written to satisfy this need.

RTCA DO-178C, published in December 13, 2011, provides the aviation community with guidance for determining, in a consistent manner and with an acceptable level of confidence, that the software aspects of airborne systems and equipment comply with airworthiness requirements. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to produce software for airborne systems and equipment that performs its intended function with a level of confidence and safety complying with airworthiness requirements.

We know that any reasonable engineering group follows a set of processes for development of safety-critical software. The question becomes: what are the typical Gaps relative to DO-178C and what are the challenging / important aspects of DO-178C over its predecessor, DO-178B?

This white paper is based on over two decades’ experience performing ConsuNova Avionics Gap Analysis Assessments worldwide and associated data, metrics and conclusions. This white paper does not attempt to provide a thorough understanding of DO-178C but assumes the reader is familiar with DO-178 (B or C revisions). The discussion herein focuses on the important challenges, recommendations and “takeaways” related to the Planning aspects of DO-178C.

This white paper is the first of a four-part series providing insight into the Top DO-178C Optimization Tactics and Recommendations.

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Avionics Certification