Quality Assurance for Safety Critical

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Quality Assurance (“QA”) is arguably the most critical aspect of avionics software and hardware certification within DO-178C, DO-254 and related guidelines/standards.  However, QA is rarely given the attention or credit befitting its crucial role.  Consider the following statements and assess whether they are true or false; answers and explanations are provided within this paper:


  1. 1.     T / F:   QA’s most important role is assessing final product quality.
  2. 2.     T / F:   QA personnel perform technical reviews.
  3. 3.     T / F:   QA personnel assess avionics development engineer’s adherence to criteria specified in DO-178 and DO-254.
  4. 4.     T / F:   The four Stage Of Involvement (“SOI”) events represent the four QA audits of the avionics development process.
  5. 5.     T / F:   Every Level A and Level B avionics development project requires at least three different persons, and the most crucial of those for certification is the independent QA person.

If the above questions were truly easy, congratulate yourself on your genuine QA knowledge. If they simply seemed easy, then the information that follows is for you. In tact. answering the above without understanding the overall quality assurance role in 00-1780 and 00-254 is like understanding Fourier transforms without first understanding The Calculus: impossible for mere mortals

In avionics systems. hardware and software development. CA has two primary responsibilities:

1. Ensuring the project specific development plans and standards comply with 00-1 78C/254.

2. Assessing. and then ensuring that the independent development organization has followed those plans. from project inception through completed delivery.

In other non-avionics development activities ‘Quality Assurance’ often implies a more adjunct, and more passive, measurement role. Wikipedia, for example. aptly states QA ‘is the systematic measurement. comparison with a standard. monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that…

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