Volume 13, Number 1

Study on Technical Focuses and Sampling Coverage Strategy of Airborne Software Reviews


Jinghua Sun1, Samuel Edwards2, Nic Connelly3, Andrew Bridge4 and Lei Zhang1, 1COMAC Shanghai Aircraft Design and Research Institute, China, 2Defence Aviation Safety Authority, Australia, 3RMIT University, Australia, 4European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Germany


Airborne software is invisible and intangible, it can have a significant impact on the safety of the aircraft. However, it cannot be exhaustively tested, and can only be assured through a structured, process, activity, and objective-based approach. This paper studied the similarities and differences of software review policies of the four selected National Airworthiness Authorities (NAAs) by using a comparative approach and analysed the general certification basis of specific regulation clauses from the International Civil Aviation Organization Conventions to each contracting States’ regulations by a traceability method. Then analyzed the development processes and objectives applicable to different software levels based on RTCA/DO-178C. Identified 82 technical focus points based on each airborne software development subprocess, then created a Process Technology Coverage matrix to demonstrate the technical focuses of each process. Developed an objective-oriented top-down and bottom-up sampling strategy for the 4 software Stage of Involvement reviews by taking into account the frequency and depth of involvement. Finally, created the Technology Objective Coverage matrix, which can support the reviewers to perform the efficient risk-based SOI reviews by considering the identified technical points, thus to ensure the safety of the aircraft from the software assurance perspective.


Airborne Software, SOI, DO-178C, Objective, Sampling Strategy.