DO-178B/C

WHAT IS DO-178? DO-178 DEFINES THE GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AVIATION SOFTWARE IN THE USA.

DO-178 has become a de facto standard. Produced by Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, Inc. (RTCA), the FAA’s Advisory Circular AC20-115B established DO-178 as the accepted means of certifying all new aviation software.

DO-178 is primarily concerned with development processes. As a result, certification to DO-178 requires delivery of multiple supporting documents and records. The quantity of items needed for DO-178 certification, and the amount of information that they must contain, is determined by the level of certification being sought.

The targeted DO-178 certification level is either A, B, C, D, or E. Correspondingly, these DO-178 levels describe the consequences of a potential failure of the software: catastrophic, hazardous-severe, major, minor, or no-effect.

DO-178 Certification Requirements

All items are not required at all certification levels.

DO-178 Documents: DO-178 Records:
  • Plan for Software Aspects of Certification (PSAC)
  • Software Development Plan (SDP)
  • Software Verification Plan (SVP)
  • Software Configuration Management Plan (SCMP)
  • Software Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP)
  • Software Requirements Standards (SRS)
  • Software Design Standards (SDS)
  • Software Code Standards (SCS)
  • Software Requirements Data (SRD)
  • Software Design Description (SDD)
  • Software Verification Cases and Procedures (SVCP)
  • Software Life Cycle Environment Configuration Index (SECI)
  • Software Configuration Index (SCI)
  • Software Accomplishment Summary (SAS)
  • Software Verification Results (SVR)
  • Problem Reports
  • Software Configuration Management Records
  • Software Quality Assurance Records

The DO-178 certification process is most demanding at higher levels. A product certified to DO-178 level A would have the largest potential market, but it would require thorough, labor-intensive preparation of most of the items on the DO-178 support list.

Conversely, a product certifying to DO-178 level E would require fewer support items and be less taxing on company resources. Unfortunately, the product would have a smaller range of applicability than if certified at a higher level.