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Published by RTCA with EUROCAE, DO-178C (Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification) is the most widely used approach for demonstrating the airworthiness of an avionics or aerospace system.

DO-178C is a successful standard with a proven history and many benefits, including:

  • Greater upfront requirements clarity
  • Fewer coding iterations
  • Fewer bugs found during module testing
  • Fewer defects found during integration
  • Fewer in-the-field defects 

Industry analysts also point out that developing software in accordance to Level D of DO-178 will catch many bugs, including potential security loopholes that otherwise could have been exploited.

DO-178C became necessary because aircraft and defense systems are made up of many different parts, including highly complex software and hardware components. Since many of these qualify as mission-critical applications whose faults can have deadly consequences for passengers and crew, avionics is a very heavily regulated industry.

Consequently, in order for an aircraft to go to market, it must undergo a long certification process to be considered airworthy. The certification process includes submission to the relevant regulatory authorities in order to get a test certificate. Then manufacturers go through rounds of design approvals, simulations, prototype model testing, structural tests, and in-flight tests to make sure the aircraft is safe for use. 

The DO-178C software planning process is comprised of five significant areas:

  • PSAC: Plan for Software Aspects of Certification
  • SDP: Software Development Plan
  • SVP: Software Verification Plan
  • SQAP: Software Quality Assurance Plan
  • SCMP: Software Configuration Management Plan

DO-178C compliance is achieved when all applicable objectives have been satisfied by performing all planned activities and capturing the related evidence. You will sometimes hear people use the term “certified” and sometimes use the term “certifiable.” 

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Advanced DO-178C Training Workshop, a 4-day course that focuses on the aspects of DO-178C guideline, as well as its supplementary standards.

You will be introduced to the philosophy, rationale, and history behind DO-178C and will learn about the methods and techniques required to develop and implement it in your organization.

Advanced DO-178C training workshop covers the main notions behind DO-178B/C avionics certification. It also reviews the differences between DO-178B and DO-178C.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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