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The DO-254 guidance outlines complex custom micro-coded devices such as PLDs, FPGAs and ASICs used in commercial airborne hardware subject to a stringent development process.

What this means is that the design and verification activities for these types of devices must follow the requirements-based development process described in DO-254.

The primary purpose of DO-254 is to provide assurance that the device under test meets its intended functions under all foreseeable operating conditions. Requirements express the functions of the device under test, therefore must drive the design and verification activities.

Published by RTCA, DO-254 was formally recognized by the FAA in 2005 via AC 20-152 as a means of compliance for the design assurance of electronic hardware in airborne systems. The guidance in this document is applicable, but not limited, to electronic hardware, including:

  • Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components
  • Circuit board assemblies (CBA)
  • Line replaceable units (quickly replaceable components)
  • Custom micro-coded components
  • Integrated technology components

Overall, DO-254 is a requirements-driven process-oriented safety standard used on commercial electronics that go into aircraft. Conceptually speaking, this standard applies to all electronics in anything that flies or could crash and pose a hazard to the public.

There are many managerial concerns about the impact of DO-254 certification on the cost efficiency of design organizations, and on the end equipment price of avionics and military equipment subject to certification.

This results in cost risk and uncertainty in development schedules, inefficiency where DO-254 documentation practices are not yet in place, and inability to scope projects where certification procedures are not clear. Many feel experienced partners and consultants are the best bulwark against this cost and efficiency risk

Additionally, experts in this field believe DO-254 training is a good idea because, understanding DO-254 and how to achieve DO-254 approval is not as simple as downloading and thoroughly reading the document.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-254 Training | Design Assurance of Airborne Electronic Hardware, a 2-day course that covers principals, objectives and guidance for design assurance of airborne electronic hardware based on RTCA DO-254/Eurocae ED-80 standards.

Do-254 Training covers all aspects of  airborne electronic hardware from conception through initial certification and subsequent post certification product improvements to ensure continued airworthiness.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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