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DO-254 Design Assurance for Airborne Electronic Hardware is the go-to guideline for manufacturing airborne electronic hardware.

Although it is often considered the ‘Little Sibling’ counterpart to the DO-178C, it is no less complex. DO-254 kicks off with a classification system that allows you to separate electronic hardware items into simple or complex categories, and then provides systematic design guidelines for both.

DO-254 is similar again to DO-178C in that it uses a Design Assurance Level (DAL) framework as well. DO-254 uses a range of 5 levels too, ranging from A-E, with the most severe being A and the least impactful being E.

The efforts needed in order to achieve compliance scale along with the amount of damage a hardware failure can cause.

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.

This means that 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 (FAA in the US, EASA in the EU).

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. 

Of course, DO-254 does have its critics. In reality, DO-254 compliance can be a lengthy and expensive process, so it’s no wonder that some working in avionics development wonder what the point is.

However, experts in this area say that if you are prepared with the right information, processes, and tools, DO-254 compliance can be extremely beneficial for your organization. First of all, this level of airborne systems compliance helps you create products that put passenger, crew, and operator safety first. 

It also strengthens the health of your organizational business practices, which can be helpful in many different areas. Additionally, DO-254  gives your organization a competitive edge as some projects require DO-178C/DO-254 compliance capabilities, and you will have an advantage compared to other manufacturers and developers who don’t offer it.

Want to know more? Tonex offers DO-254 Training: Avionics Hardware, a 2-day course that discusses various angles of DO-254 guidelines and will help you develop and implement this standard in your organization.

DO-254, aka Eurocae ED-80, is an official avionics guideline, which demonstrates strategies of design assurance associated with airborne electronic hardware. DO-254 covers the required information comprehensively from the conceptual design, through planning, designating, executing, verifying, to validation. 

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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