Preparing for Growth: How DO254 Will help You Meet Future Demands

Chock-full of market fluctuations, the unusual series of unfortunate events of 2020 have affected the financial forecasts of every industry and business. Though those forecasts have been revised and re-revised throughout the year, it’s clear that a 2021 (and beyond) rebound is expected in most markets, and aerospace is no exception. Prior to Covid, average growth was expected to be around 2% a year for the next 20 years. Though it’s true that efforts from virtually every nation on Earth have created short term slow downs, virtually all of the industries and services that support the aerospace market are projected to rise in 2021 as the market recovers. As such, it’s important for aerospace and avionics professionals to have the toolsets, knowledge and confidence to prepare for that sustained annual growth. As the formal safety standard that applies to complex aircraft hardware, DO254 is a major piece of that growth preparation. 

The DO254 guideline was published in 2000, though regulatory agencies didn’t initially agree on its application in aerospace, let alone its specific methodology and processes for the development of hardware systems for aircraft. The guideline’s introduction was even more flighty as a result of the FAA and EASA creating their own supplemental guidance policies on hardware development. As a result, DO254 was viewed as a complicated and esoteric document by avionics professionals who using the guideline in its nascent stages, between 2000 and 2004. In 2005, the EASA and the FAA officially recognized the document as a means of compliance for aircraft hardware design assurance and verification, but since then, the FAA and EASA have been attempting to harmonize their views on DO254’s application. Only recently have these two prominent governing bodies come to an agreement, with the EASA publishing AMC 20-152A, a publication that acts as the fruits of that aforementioned harmonizing process. AMC 20-152A also provides objectives and clarification on hardware design, the use of Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, the use of COTS-IP in complex component design, and additional requirements for circuit board assemblies to support those found in DO254. The FAA is expected to publish a similar document to match AMC 20-152A later this year, AC 20-152A. 

Despite its complex history, DO254 has become the universal standard in all avionics hardware design (we mentioned how ubiquitous DO254 is in another post). It should come as no surprise, then, that DO254 involves numerous electronic hardware items inside aircraft. These items include things like circuit board assemblies (CBA), specialized micro-coded components (such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) and programmable logic devices (PLD)), and application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), and Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, among others. The design and development guidance DO254 provides for all aircraft hardware systems (both complex and simple) is invaluable to the completion and ultimate success of any of your aircraft projects related to the electronics and hard components of aircraft systems. Bottom line, you need to know the ins and outs of DO254 to be successful when developing hardware systems for aircraft.  

It’s important to understand the complete history, processes, pieces and programs associated with DO254 to maximize the range of project types you can engage in and to account for as any development challenges as possible. The best way to do that is to receive comprehensive training on all DO254 subjects, from compliance and Design Assurance Levels (DALs) to verification processes and tool assessments. Our courses offer complete coverage of all DO254 topics through lively, interactive sessions, with Q&A time allotted to each class and topic. Our courses ultimately provide attendees with comprehensive understanding of the DO254 guideline, and the ability to get their hardware projects done on-time and on-budget. For more information, visit our sign-up page and register for our upcoming, comprehensive 4-day DO254 fall course. 

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