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:|
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.