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DO-178C Prelude

Introduction to DO-178C and transitioning from DO-178B to DO-178C.  A DO-178C overview explaining differences between DO-178B and DO-178C and “why” DO-178C was necessary. Presumes basic DO-178B knowledge.

For Engineers & Managers
So DO-178B was becoming middle-aged and it was simply time to update it, right? Admittedly, the world of software development, even within the usually staid avionics community, had made many strides which DO-178B could not possibly have foreseen. In technology as in life, the only constant is change. Especially software technology: change is measured in months, not decades.

Because of the continued evolution in software development tools and methods, there needed to be updates to avionics certification strategies. These could have been addressed via FAA Advisory Circulars (“AC’s”) or even Certification Authorities Software Team (CAST) position papers. AC’s and CAST papers were continually being published to accomplish just that. Admittedly, it would have been imminently quicker and simpler to do just that versus updating DO-178 itself. Basically, the avionics development community was faced with making one of four choices for future avionics development and certification strategy:

a) Do nothing.
b) Give DO-178B a minor tune-up.
c) Give DO-178B a major tune-up
d) Overhaul DO-178B.