DO-160, Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment

DO-160, Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment is a standard for environmental test of avionics hardware published by RTCA, Incorporated.



[edit] Outline of contents

[edit] Introduction

The DO-160 standard was first published on January 25, 1980 to specify test conditions for the design of avionics electronic hardware in airborne systems. Since then the standard has undergone subsequent revisions up through revision F.

[edit] Purpose and applicability

This document outlines a set of minimal standard environmental test conditions (categories) and corresponding test procedures for airborne equipment. The purpose of these tests is to provide a controlled (laboratory) means of assuring the performance characteristics of airborne equipment in environmental conditions similar of those which may be encountered in airborne operation of the equipment. The standard environmental test conditions and test procedures contained within the standard, may be used in conjunction with applicable equipment performance standards, as a minimum specification under environmental conditions, which can ensure an adequate degree of confidence in performance during use aboard an air vehicle. The Standard Includes Sections on:

Name Description
Standard conditions
Temperature This checks the effects of temperature on the system. Condensation also can be a factor coming from cold temperatures.
Altitude These tests check the effects (in terms of performance) of altitude, including loss of cabin pressure on the device/system/equipment. Factors tested include dielectric strength, cooling under low pressure, and resilience to rapid change in air pressure. The norm defines the different temperature profiles under which the equipment must be tested. Due to the variety of aircraft, the equipment are classified in categories.
Temperature variation  
Humidity These tests under humidity check the effects of water dripping / splashing on the unit (corrosion).
Shock & Crash safety This aircraft type dependent test checks the effects of mechanical shock. Crash safety test insures the item does not become a projectile in a crash. The norm describes the test procedure for airborne equipment.
Vibration Aircraft type dependent test checks the effects of vibration.
Explosion proof
Water proof  
Fluids susceptibility Aviation related fluids susceptibility
Sand & Dust
Fungus resist This checks the materials for decomposition in warm moist climates.
Salt & Fog
Magnetic effect This ensures that the aircraft’s compass is not affected.
power input Input power conducted emissions and susceptibility, transients, drop-outs and hold-up. The power input tests simulate conditions of aircraft power from before engine start to after landing including emergencies.
Voltage spike
Audio Frequency Conducted Susceptibility  
Induced Signal Susceptibility  
RF emission and susceptibility Radio frequency energy: — radiated emissions and radiated susceptibility (HIRF) via an (Electromagnetic reverberation chamber).
Lightning susceptibility Direct and indirect effects depending on mounting location; includes induced transients into the airframe/wirebundle.
ESD This checks for resilience vs ESD in handling and operation.

The user of the standard must also decide interdependently of the standard, how much additional test margin to allow for uncertainty of test conditions and measurement in each test.

[edit] Resources

  • FAR Part 23/25 §1301/§1309
  • FAR Part 27/29
  • AC 23/25.1309
  • RTCA DO-160

[edit] Bibliography

  • Aircraft Systems: Mechanical, Electrical and Avionics Subsystems Integration (Aerospace Series (PEP)) (Jun 3, 2008) by Ian Moir and Allan Seabridge
  • Avionics: Development and Implementation (Electrical Engineering Handbook) by Cary R. Spitzer (Hardcover – Dec 15, 2006)
  • Avionics Navigation Systems (April 1997) by Myron Kayton and Walter R. Fried
  • The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment EUROCAE ED-14

[edit] Certification in Europe

  • Replace FAA with EASA, JAA or CAA
  • Replace FAR with JAR
  • Replace AC with AMJ

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

  • is where the publication can be acquired

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