Is there any U.S. / FAA regulation that could apply for aviation software?

Luis Arriojas
  • Is there any U.S. / FAA regulation that could apply for aviation software? Luis Arriojas

    I want to build some software applications applied to the aviation industry and would want to know if any U.S. / FAA regulation could apply in the design of them.

    I know there are some regulations when a software holds information related with finance, health or kids.

  • As a general statement, a number of software vendors making non-certified applications are sure to include big bold warnings that the software is only used to increase situational awareness and should not be relied upon for instrument conditions.

    For example, the Garmin Pilot Manual has a number of disclaimers (most common sense) to remind you that it is not a substitute for other systems.

    That said, as Qantas 94 Heavy pointed out, the answer is quite different for certified avionics, and that depends on which part of the FAR the aircraft is being certified under.

    If you make something like an E6B app, you're probably in the clear. After all, you would have just made some calculator with preprogrammed functions.

  • For simulators you have Part 60 of CFR 14

    For airborne software the FAA has published AC 20-115, but the main document that refers to is the FAA/EASA RTCA DO-178/ED-12 currently at the "C" version: Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification.
    If you want to certify (and thus commercialize) your software for flight, this is the main document to read.

    Depending on the scope of the software and the design/development process there might be different supplements (see here):

    • DO-330 Software Tool Qualification Considerations
    • DO-331 Model-Based Development and Verification Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278
    • DO-332 Object-Oriented Technology and Related Techniques Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278A
    • DO-333 Formal Methods Supplement to DO-178C and DO-278A

    It has been prepared by the RTCA/EUROCAE joint committee and approved by both FAA and EASA under different names, but the content is the same.

    Note that these documents are not freely available.

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