RTCA/DO-178 "Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification"

A summary of some of the strengths and weaknesses of DO-178 from RTCA (aka EUROCAE ED-12B).

RTCA/DO-178B deals with software for aviation, a companion to RTCA/DO-254 "Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification". It's counterpart in EUROCAE is ED-12B.

Although widely referred to as a safety standard, it almost exclusively deals with the development of software, focussing on Software Levels to determine the processes required. One aspect of DO178B which can cause a great deal of consternation is the level of testing required, and in particular modified condition decision coverage (MCDC).

Due to the lack of general safety management and safety engineering material, this safety standard is most commonly used in combination with another safety standard, such as SAE ARP 4754 "Certification Considerations for Highly-Integrated or Complex Aircraft Systems" (which calls upon it for software development aspects) or MIL-STD-882 "System Safety Program Requirements"/"Standard Practice for System Safety" (which does not provide much detail on software development)

RTCA/DO-178 is available from RTCA, Inc..


Boeing Australia Limited, Aerospace Support division in their integration of a Stand Off Weapon to the F/RF-111C for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).


Contact RTCA, Inc. (www.rtca.org) to obtain RTCA/DO-178.