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DO-178 has increasingly evolved into the de-facto standard for virtually all forms of commercial avionics except for experimental aircraft.

DO-178B and now DO-178C are mandatory for most Military avionics. The newer DO-178C made both minor and major changes. However, DO-178 possesses attributes common to all safety critical domains: planning, consistency, determinism, thorough documentation and testing, and proof of the preceding attributes.

Truly, DO-178 relies upon significant verification (reviews, tests, and analysis) to assess avionics quality. However, avionics quality comes from a quality process, design, and implementation, not just from testing.

The DO-178 (software) and DO-254 (hardware) standards presume that hardware and software must operate in harmonic unison, each with proven reliability. But avionics software and hardware are part of an overall “Ecosystem” including Safety, Systems, and ancillary guidelines.

In DO-178C “software” pertains to all drivers, BSP, RTOS, libraries, graphics, and the application software – in other words, any executable aspect that is loaded into memory during execution.

Software testing means ensuring that the lowest level detailed requirements are accurately implemented, paths are covered according to their criticality level, and full traceability is provided.

Today, tools are used to automate DO-178 processes. For example, almost all DO-178 projects now use a commercial traceability tool for avionics software. While traceability tools are not formally required, virtually every DO-178 compliant project uses them to meet DO-178’s top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top traceability.

While DO-178 does not require such tools (you can always provide traceability manually), a DO-178 compliant traceability tool greatly reduces the cost of compliance.

DO-178C testing is part of the overall process of complying with the guidance in DO178C, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification.

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.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-178C Training Crash Course, a 4-day course that provides the knowledge required to reduce DO-178C risks and costs, while also enhancing the quality of the software during avionics development.

During this intensive hands-on training, participants learn the best practices for real-life software development and how to stay away from common DO-178C errors.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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