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DO-178C is the primary document by which the certification authorities such as FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approve all commercial software-based aerospace systems.

The overall DO-178C guidance consists of six key areas:

  • Planning
  • Development
  • Verification
  • Configuration management
  • Quality assurance
  • Certification liaison

The number of objectives to be satisfied is determined by the software level A-E:

  • Level A:  This is a catastrophic failure condition with 71 objectives.
  • Level B:  This is a hazardous failure condition with 69 objectives.
  • Level C:  This is a major failure condition with 62 objectives.
  • Level D: This is a minor failure condition with 26 objectives.
  • Level E: This is a no safety effect condition with 0 objectives.

Traceability is an important factor in the DO-178C standard. DO-178C requires a documented connection (called a trace) between the certification artifacts. For example, a Low Level Requirement (LLR) traces up to a High Level Requirement (HLR).

A traceability analysis is then used to ensure that each requirement is fulfilled by the source code, that each requirement is tested, that each line of source code has a purpose (is connected to a requirement), and so forth. Traceability ensures the system is complete.

The rigor and detail of the certification artifacts is related to the software level.

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.

In general DO-178C keeps most of the text of its predecessor DO-178B. However, there are several difference between DO-178C and DO-178B such as the addition of the statement that The Executable Object Code satisfies the software requirements and provides confidence in the absence of unintended functionality.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-178C Training | Workshop, a 3-day course that covers all aspects of Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. DO-178C Training provides insight to this recommendations for the production of airborne systems and equipment software.

Upon attending DO-178C  Training, participants are able to understand the compliance aspects of the DO-178C and comprehend the objectives of DO-178C as the primary means for meeting airworthiness requirements to obtain approval of software used in civil aviation products.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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