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DO-178C: AFuzion Tells Us Why It’s the Bible of Avionics Software Development

There is no doubt that mobility in general, and aviation in particular, is the focus of our socio-economic being. In the modern context, mobility in its various forms has at its center the need for efficiency, linkage, speed, and availability. This is especially true when it comes to aviation where safety is also of the utmost importance, and at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

As such, the aviation and avionics industry’s importance cannot be understated, and those who stand behind its development are at the helm of that significance. AFuzion, a global avionics company, shares its experience with us and tells us all about the significance of the DO-178C. 

What is DO-178C?

Also known as the Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification, DO-178C is a framework for the evolution of airborne software. It’s the main document used to accept commercial software-based aerospace systems by certification powers including the FAA, Transport Canada, and EASA, and is meant predominantly for engineers and managers in the industry. Although not a document that will provide development personnel and certification authorities absolute vision – it is the best standard currently available, or as Vance Hilderman, founder and CEO of Afuzion likes to say, “DO-178 is the worst standard in the world…except for all the others!”

Who is AFuzion?

The aviation knowledge of AFuzion has infiltrated most of the world’s aircraft and system development. They’ve done this through aiding better engineering, general efficiency, safety, and also certification. There is no doubt that safety is of the essence, and AFuzion’s engineering proficiency has been incorporated into 90% of the global aviation evolution. 

Hilderman, at the helm of the company, stands out as being the original developer of training in DO-178. He’s trained more than 8,000 engineers in more than 45 countries, and his expertise infiltrates the core of the company. This professional knowledge has also manifested in his being the main author of the first book to be published on DO-178 and DO-254. 

This is why DO-178C is the Bible of Avionics Software Development:

The concept first came about in the 80’s prior to any real software in safety-critical systems, but it has arisen as the manifestation of those very systems. The standards set out by DO-178 has found its place in nuclear power, medical devices, automotive, railroads, and Military aviation. It is not as important how it came to be the first such standard, but rather that it has. 

DO-178 consists of a safety assessment process (ARP-4761), environmental and EMI testing (DO-160), avionics system development (ARP-4754A), and hardware design assurance (DO-254). 

The systems which govern aircraft are so complicated that it’s impossible for one individual to understand every single nuance. However, DO-178 is the first step in seeing the bigger picture. It doesn’t prescribe exactly how to evolve software, but rather focuses on what is needed in order to do so. DO-178 is not meant as a standalone, but rather as one part of the avionics certification chain.