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Avionics Certification: A Complete Guide to DO-178 (Software), DO-254 (Hardware) Paperback – February 5, 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vance Hilderman spent 25 years designing and testing over 150 aerospace systems. He holds BSEE and MBA degrees, and a computer engineering MS from the Univ. of So. California. He founded the world's largest avionics software organization and completed several hundred programs for 50 major avionics companies. Tony Baghai has over 20 years' experience in software certification. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Aeronautical Engineering. He was one of the youngest Designated Engineering Representatives ever to earn FAA certification for Systems and Level A software
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Avionics Communications Inc.; 1st edition (February 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885544251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885544254
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an engineer that has used DO-178B since it was first published, I was intrigued by the title of the book. What a disappointment!! I can overlook the formatting, typographical, selling, and grammatical mistakes, of which there are many e.g. "Level A (least critical)" [p40] - is just sloppy editing, but the technical content and misinformation is more worrying, especially if used by inexperienced engineers.

The structure of the book follows the table of contents; unfortunately, the content of the chapters does not.

There is a great deal of repetition that was not checked. The book contradicts itself on the numbers, 20-40% for DO-178B cost, 25-40% level A-D [p140], 50% A-D [p40], cost metric table [p228], and quality/cost graph [p231]. I am not disputing the numbers, but I would expect the numbers to be consistent within the book, at least.

The errors in guidance are much harder to accept, because others may be using this book as a guide. Here are some examples:

1) "An operating system such as <commercial plug> can be certifiable, but tools, other components or board support package are not as they can only be verified when integrated with other software components." [p38] Unless the board support package can be partitioned from the operating system, which in general cannot be done, the board support package must have the same level of certification evidence as required by the operating system. .

2) In the discussion of independence, it is difficult to establish if the test/review is to be independent or the review of the coverage analysis [p143]. DO-178B is very clear on this in Table A7.

3) The explanation of Decision and MCDC coverage objectives is unnecessarily confusing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very excited to learn that this book was out, as the practical information about DO-178B is scattered throughout trade and technical journal articles, wikipedia pages, whitepapers, etc. This book truly is a significant contribution that puts a lot of practical information at your fingertips. The authors shoot from the hip and give both technical and practical advice.

Not being a true expert in avionics software certification, I cannot judge the book's technical quality from this regard. However, I do know that DO-178B is a living standard, and that all civil avionics software (practically everywhere in the world) on commercial planes these days had to be written to conform to DO-178B in some way. There are rumors that the recently announced Boeing 787 delay was partially due to the headaches of this standard. But the 787 is certainly one of the most complex avionics systems to have been developed, so this is no surprise that the certification to DO-178B is pushing the envelope and hard to predict in terms of time.

I do know quite well the text of the DO-178B standard. By itself, it provides little practical knowledge, as it was written and maintained by a smallish group of people within the US civil aviations industry. The FAQ part of the DO-178B standard, known as DO-248B, is more useful, but is still hard to digest for those of us trying to get some insight about this arena.

That being said, this book is simple and to the point, and it helps you understand where are the important pitfalls in a DO-178B certification. It's full of practical information, and it's obvious that you're getting the authors' bias of 20+ years' experience in avionics software development.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides a much needed independent discussion of the Avionics Software and Hardware process. While the text is in need of critical & DER review, this is a good start on a needed reference work.
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Format: Paperback
Finally, those who have "been there and done that" make their experience available to the rest of us. Anyone who is facing the prospect of certifying software / firmware applications for avionics will want to have this book on their desk. The authors have done an excellent job of making this complex subject and the associated FAA speak into a practical guide that will lead anyone through the process. You won't find all of the answers in this book, but you will have a map to where to find them and how to ask for them.
I found this book useful when discussing certification issues with my clients. It helps them to understnd and provides a 'dictionary' when addressing the processes to be followed. Everyone can learn something from this book and I highly recomend it to engineers and project managers involed in aircraft certification.
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Format: Paperback
Being relatively new to the DO-178B scene and having struggled with interoperating 178B this book gave some much needed real world insight into it. I have attended the 178B training offered by RTCA and while it was also very good I wish I would have read this book first as I feel I would have gotten a lot more from the class.
A much more enjoyable read then I had expected give the subject matter.
I only wish I would have had it 4 years ago when I started working with 178B as it would have saved me a lot of frustration and time.
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