FAA provides guides for exlaining the equipment process in the guide document called “THE FAA AND INDUSTRY GUIDE TO PRODUCT CERTIFICATION (CPI Guide), 3rd Ed.”. The document intends to inform the industry with the certification process to improve safety, teamwork, planning, accountability, quality, and continues improvement.
This post is to summarize the important sections of this document for an overview. The complete manuscript should be referred for formal studies and initiations.
The most important message given in this document is that the certification process requires partnership for ensuring the safety. Elements of ensuring safety is self evaluating the compliance level through Compliance Maturity and arranging partnership with FAA through the Partnership for Safety Plan as layed out in the aforementioned document.
FAA desribes the compliance maturity as a measure of the ability of an Applicant to perform the required compliance activities with a minimum level of FAA involvement. It provides the FAA with the assurance that they can move from direct involvement on most project tasks to an oversight role. There is an expectation that Industry will embrace a compliance maturity culture of ever advancing compliance competencies.
Partnership for Safety Plan
The PSP is a written “umbrella” agreement between the FAA and the Applicant that focuses on high level objectives such as open and effective communication, key principles including effective certification programs utilizing the Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP), designee utilization if applicable, issue resolution, continuous improvement, general expectations, and other agreements reached between the Applicant and the
FAA that further Applicant maturity.
The PSP also helps define the general discipline and methodology to be used in planning and administering certification projects using appropriate procedures. Although the stated procedures are not required, the procedures provide a means to help the Holder/Applicant move toward a more systematic process for conducting projects that the FAA can rely on without having to do direct oversight of the projects.
Partnership for Safety Plan is an umbrella agreement that covers the following specific activity areas:
- Continued Operational Safety
- Project Specific Certification Plan
- Risk Based Level of Project Involvement
- Continuous Improvement
- Issues Resolution Process
- Other as defined by the PSP
Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP)
Developed based on the needs of the project as defined in paragraph 2-3.d of FAA Order 8110.4, the PSCP must provide clarity for how the Applicant will comply with the regulations. The PSCP is a key tool in meeting the 14 CFR part 21 requirements for the certification and approval of a product.
Test Standard: RTCA-DO-160G
RTCA-DO-160G is the current test standard version to use for equipment certification testing. Everything airborne from small general aviation aircraft and rotary aircraft to large airliners and transport planes must go through DO-160 testing. The DO-160 standard and the EUROCAE ED-14 standard are identically worded. DO-160 standard procedures van be used in either FAA or EASA certification projects. The catergories, procedures, and test parameters are derived from FAA regulations and for most of the procedures there is a direct reference.
DO-160 testing involves a wide range of factors, from humidity and temperature to electrical interference and shock resistance. The standard is intended to cover almost anything that can disrupt the performance of an airborne electrical or electronic device. By undergoing the certification and testing process, a DO-160 compliant device can deliver reliable and accurate operation in any flight condition.
GDS Engineering R&D provides training on the RTCA-DO-160G testing. Part 21 process and all tests in DO-160 are covered in this short two and a half day training.
GDS Systems Engineering V&V Training Courses
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