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Post Certification Software Updates  
User currently offlineGBan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1309 times:

When I was thinking about the BA crash I wondered if the cause might have been related to a software glitch and if so, if this might have been a glitch introduced with a recent software update. In the context of the crash I think that it does not make much sense to discuss such wild theories without any substantial supporting evidence.

Nevertheless I'd be very interested to know how post certification software updates are handled in the aviation industry. Do they have to be certified by the certification authorities? Maybe not all changes require a certification process? What are the rules?

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1276 times:



Quoting GBan (Thread starter):
I'd be very interested to know how post certification software updates are handled in the aviation industry.

Software is treated like a part. It has a part number and is controlled like any other part.

Quoting GBan (Thread starter):
Do they have to be certified by the certification authorities?

Yes. All parts on the aircraft have to be certified, software included. A lot of part-level certification is delegated down to the manufacturers (for obvious reasons, FAA/EASA can't directly certify every part on an airplane).

Quoting GBan (Thread starter):
Maybe not all changes require a certification process?

They do. It won't always result in a change of P/N but any change will require that a regulator or their delegate certify that it complies with the appropriate regulations.

Tom.


User currently offlineAvioniker From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1109 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1204 times:

I'm sorry but I must disagree. I just left a company over just that issue. They are allowed to make "minor" software modifications without so much as a P/N suffix and field the software as a voluntary update or upgrade without so much as an S/B.
Been there to see it and watched the FAA guys not take any action regardless of the system function.
If the OEM is the modifying agency it's up to them to determine the degree of modification or effect of the final product.
There's a severe loophole in the system. Parts 21 & 25 don't cover it well enough.
I can't speak of or for the JAR system but I do know for a fact that some mods have been done on non-US registered aircraft and at least one non-US government VIP aircraft on a system that interfaces the FMS and CMS. The aircraft is made in Canada and the software and CMS systems are made in the US.
I'm sorry I can't be more specific but I don't need the trouble it could cause.
Now if anyone with the authority to do anything about my complaint wants to contact me, I'm not that hard to find.

 Smile
 Silly



One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1187 times:



Quoting Avioniker (Reply 2):
I'm sorry but I must disagree. I just left a company over just that issue. They are allowed to make "minor" software modifications without so much as a P/N suffix and field the software as a voluntary update or upgrade without so much as an S/B.

I know...that's why I said a change won't always result in a P/N roll. If it's form/fit/function identical then you can sometimes get away without rolling a P/N (although I don't like that, personally).

If you don't change the P/N there's no need for an SB because the P/N is what matters from the certification point of view...if you don't change the P/N, you don't change the certified configuration, hence no SB needed.

Quoting Avioniker (Reply 2):
I can't speak of or for the JAR system but I do know for a fact that some mods have been done on non-US registered aircraft and at least one non-US government VIP aircraft on a system that interfaces the FMS and CMS. The aircraft is made in Canada and the software and CMS systems are made in the US.

If they're not N-registered aircraft FAA regulations don't automatically apply. Ultimately, it is up to the operator to maintain the aircraft in certification...if they can get their local regulator to buy off on it, they're covered.

Tom.


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