Avionics Industry Leader, Afuzion, Tells Us All About DO-178C

Having safety-critical systems in place in the Avionics industry is paramount. Safety-critical systems apply to circumstances where the loss or malfunction can lead to death or acute harm. These systems can be anything from developing software and hardware, and part of this development process is the DO-178, the guideline on avionics software development. 

Complying with the DO-178 guidelines requires staying up to date with the latest developments, and industry leaders like AFuzion offer training services for the latest DO-178C avionics software development. This article will look at who AFuzion is and what the DO-178C means for the Aviation industry. 

Who Is AFuzion?

AFuzion is a US-based company, their services focus on training, consulting, and certification of various safety-critical systems for commercial and military avionics, as well as Gap Analysis to ensure the efficacy of these systems. They have trained over 23, 000 engineers and managers from 35 countries. 

Their certification training includes the DO-178C, DO-254, DO-278A, DO-200B, DO-326A, ARP4754A, ARP4761A, and CAST-32A Multicore. Additionally, AFuzion provides various checklists, templates and plans related to safety-critical systems, including whitepapers and publications authored by AFuzion’s team of engineers and managers.   

What Is the DO-178C?

The DO-178 is otherwise referred to as just ‘178’ and stands for Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. AFuzion’s founder and CEO, Vance Hilderman, describes the DO-178 as the ‘bible of avionics software development’. As a document it is considered a guideline for applying safety-critical systems specifically for software development in avionics. 

DO-178C updated the previous version, DO-178B, in 2012. Conversely, the DO-254 focuses on hardware development, all being a part of an ‘eco-system’ of certification processes for avionics systems and safety development. It’s widely accepted as a de-facto standard for avionics software development, and can be confusing in its application as it’s not necessarily required by law, but it is still mandatory. 

Before applying the DO-178C there needs to be a solid structure, this involves setting up a Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP), wherein the DO-178C can do its work. Without a defined plan users will chase their tails trying to verify system requirements, but an important point to remember about the DO-178 is that it does not verify the efficacy of system requirements, these need to be effective already. The DO-178 converts system requirements to software. 

When applying the DO-178, the software undergoes a Development Assurance Level (DAL), also referred to as the ‘criticality level’, this guarantees and measures the development process and accuracy of the software. There are five levels, namely Level A (catastrophic) to Level E (No Effect). 

Final Takeaways

The DO-178C is certainly beneficial in that it offers more detail and clarity when it comes to software requirements. The overall software is better quality; there are fewer bugs in the system, less coding updates are required, improved testing, including regression testing, as well as improved Configuration Management. Visit AFuzion’s website for more information about the DO-178C training and certification processes associated with it.