GBan
Topic Author
Posts: 488
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:10 pm

Post Certification Software Updates

Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:14 pm

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?
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8572
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Post Certification Software Updates

Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:59 pm



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.
 
avioniker
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: Post Certification Software Updates

Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:27 pm

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
 
tdscanuck
Posts: 8572
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Post Certification Software Updates

Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:30 pm



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.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: speedygonzales and 3 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos