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DO-178C is the aviation industry standard that defines software considerations in airborne systems and equipment certification.

It also provides recommendations for production of software for airborne systems and equipment that performs its intended function with a level of confidence in safety that complies with airworthiness requirements, according to the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA).

The document was first published by RTCA in 2011, and has continued to expand in applicability to avionics software requirements being integrated onto aircraft today. 

The overall DO-178C guidance consists of six key areas: planning, development, verification, configuration management, quality assurance and certification liaison. Testing forms a part – but not the whole – of verification. While testing follows development in the software life cycle, verification is really a concurrent process that carries on throughout. The planning stage of DO-178C, for example, requires development of a Software Verification Plan (SVP).

Verification includes:  

  • Review – of plans, design artefacts and trace-ability
  • Testing – to software requirements
  • Analysis – where testing would be either inconclusive or too expensive to be conclusive

Most experts in this area believe that creating and instilling a set of DO-178C best practices for avionics development helps engineers and stakeholders focus on the right processes at the right times.

Some of the not-always-obvious best practices include:

  • Improved LLR Detail
  • Model Framework Templates
  • Parallel Test Cast Definition
  • Automated Design Rule Checker
  • Testing Standards Implementation
  • Advanced Performance Testing

Want to learn more about DO-178C? Tonex offers DO-178C Training, a 3-day course where participants learn about the compliance aspects of 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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