What is DO-254? Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware

What is DO-254?

DO-254, “Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware,” was realeased in 2000 and formally recognized by the FAA in 2005 via AC-152 as a means of compliance. It provides guidance for the design of Complex Electronic Hardware (CEH) in airborne systems and equipment for use in aircraft or engines.

DO-178 is the established software counterpart of DO-254. Functions are classified as either software or hardware, and governed by the processes provided by the guidance of either DO-178 or DO-254 accordingly.

DO-254 Processes & Outputs

The basic hardware design life-cycle processes are:

  • The planning process.
  • The hardware design processes.
  • The four supporting processes.
    • Verification and Validation.
    • Configuration Management.
    • Process Assurance.
    • Certification Liason.
  • Traceability.

The outputs of these processes can be varied and many are subjected to the level of assurance required. Four items of substantiation are required to be provided to the certificate organization.

  • Plan for Hardware Aspects of Certification (PHAC)
  • Hardware Verification Plan (HVP)
  • Top-Level Drawing
  • Hardware Accomplishment Summary (HAS)

Primary Means of Compliance

The primary means of compliance is by the demonstration, execution, and development of objective evidence that adheres to hardware life-cycle and life-cycle processes.

The guideline does not prescribe a preferred life-cycle model or imply a structure for the organization, but it does require execution of key processes. Those processes include: hardware planning process, design processes, and supporting processes whose objectives must be satisfied for all design assurance levels.

Overall, DO-254 is designed to be flexible, and allows for many hardware development models. The flexibility and application  will cause some confusion. The approach can be flexible, but it must be approved by the certification authorities. It is best to have an independent Designated Engineering Representative (DER), of which Consunova has a full staff.

For more information and to request the full DO-254 Overview Whitepaper, please visit Consunova’s website.

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