The DO-178 is currently used for avionics software development and testing the applications and reliability of such software. DO-254 is the document that provides guidelines for the development of electronic aviation hardware.
In the context of DO-254, it’s important to remember that hardware can refer to things like circuit boards, integrated technology components (like chip modules), and any easily replaceable units. The DO-254 has been officially recognized by the FAA since 2005.
Interestingly, Do-178 and DO-254 also offer unique versions intended for military aircraft versus commercial use.
Today, DO-254 provides guidelines for hardware development based on a variety of criteria. At its most basic, the document splits hardware components into two categories:
Simple Hardware Items: Hardware is classified as simple if a comprehensive combination of deterministic tests and analyses can ensure correct functional performance under all foreseeable operating conditions with no anomalous behavior.
Complex Hardware Items: Hardware is automatically classed as complex if it fails to meet the definition of a simple item. In other words, complex items have less predictable behavior than simple ones.
The body of DO-254 further demonstrates efficient ways to achieve process assurance for complex items. This is often done by an outside organization or expert authorized to carry out quality assurance checking.
The current version of DO-178 used in avionics is DO-178C.
The FAA approved AC 20-115C on 19 Jul 2013, making DO-178C a recognized acceptable means, but not the only means, for showing compliance with the applicable airworthiness regulations for the software aspects of airborne systems and equipment certification.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-178 And DO-254 Avionic Training Bootcamp, a 4-day course that covers the software and hardware aspects of avionic certification. You will learn the fundamental concepts, principals, tools, and methods associated with these two standards.
You also will understand the differences and similarities of DO-178 and DO-254. In this bootcamp, we will discuss the background of these certifications, how they have evolved over the past years, and what would be the current application of them.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.