Modern aircraft are wondrous feats of engineering that make use of complex networks of components, systems and materials. To ensure these machines can safely carry people and property across the globe, their hardware systems must be carefully designed, evaluated and certified before becoming a “live” part of the system of systems that is an airplane. That’s where DO-254 comes in to play.
DO-254 is an objective-driven and process-oriented safety standard used to evaluate the simple, advanced and complex electronics in aircraft. We’ve covered the full range of processes and procedures that make up DO-254 guidelines in other articles, so, in this piece we address how and why the standard is such an important tool in the industry, and why proper training on it is crucial for every avionics professional.
Here are the top four reasons avionics professionals need DO-254 training:
1. Risk Mitigation
Developing aircraft hardware systems is an arduous and highly regulated task, and for good (hopefully obvious) reasons; airplanes carry thousands of lives and millions of dollars of assets every day, so the margin for error in any of their components is razor thin. Adding DO-254 standards and guidelines to your design and development workflow will not only create better, safer systems, but also protect you and your teams from reworking your project. Even better, because verification and validation occur throughout a DO-254 project, you’ll confidently move through each phase of your project knowing that what you’re working on has been certified at every stage of its lifecycle.
2. Reduce Costs
Understanding and utilizing the procedures and guidelines of DO-254 in your hardware project helps ensure that the aircraft involved ultimately flies safely. And though following DO-254 adds extra cost to a project that doesn’t use this guideline, a project without DO-254 planning and certification will lead to massive and frequent additional costs. Redesigns and new workflows as a result of verification and audit failures can triple the initial cost of a project, and exceed any cost associated with DO-254 adherence. Becoming better educated in the underlying concepts and components of DO-254 through DO-254 training will help reduce the upfront cost of using the standard, and will certainly save you time, money and headaches in the long run.
3. Knowledge is Power
Understanding the processes involved will help any avionics professional hone their craft. Because every DO-254 hardware project revolves around a formal set of distinct requirements, anyone with formal training on DO-254 will learn how these concepts are applied to both their individual projects and the industry. And because each DO-254 requirement is put on-record, given a unique reference name and reviewed for a variety of criteria including understandability, testability, verifiability and more, professionals who have an understanding of DO-254 will have a comprehensive understanding of hardware systems and the confidence to complete any project for any organization. Read: DO-254 training helps you look good to your boss and other avionics professionals.
4. The Gold Standard
DO-254 is the most ubiquitous document for airborne electronic hardware development and aircraft component certification. Being formally trained on the standards and practices involved in this go-to guideline of certification authorities throughout the world, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), will help you, your team and the individuals you serve quickly and confidently complete your tasks. While there are more documents and certification bodies associated with getting hardware projects completed and certified, the standards, practices and guidelines of DO-254 are the most critical.
Understanding DO-254 can significantly reduce the overall time and monetary costs of completing any aircraft’s hardware project. If you’re planning on creating a hardware system related to your aircraft, understanding DO-254 specifications is the most important tool in your avionics tool belt.