The New Mandatory ARP4754B for Safety Aircraft and Systems

Published August 21, 2023

Aircraft safety is continually in the news and accidents are always front-page in both mind and news feeds.  But is aviation today safe?  Fortunately the answer is “Yes, and becoming safer with the new SAE ARP4754B”. But what is this strange combination of letters and numbers really?

The prior “A” version,  ARP4754A, was officially titled “Guidelines for Development of Civil Aircraft And Systems.” It covered the development cycle for aircraft and avionics systems and frankly applies to all commercial aircraft.  And recently, the U.S. Army began requiring ARP4754A including on its latest aircraft, the FLRAA (Future Long-Range Attack Aircraft).  But rarely can one judge a book by its cover or title; however, in this case, the title literally conveys a powerful message:  if you are involved with development of aircraft or systems, you should be well versed in ARP4754B’s ‘guidelines.’  Why?  There are two key points which should be understood before first opening the pages of ARP4754B:

  1. ARP4754B’s title states “guidelines,” but failure to understand and apply ARP4754B may reduce safety and will greatly reduce your ability to achieve certification. The ability to demonstrate robust, safe avionics begins with the approach to systems safety before development. It is very difficult to apply retrospectively in order to rectify a weak system.
  2. While its predecessors ARP4754 and 4754A were largely similar, too many organizations treated it as “optional” befitting its name “Guideline”; however, certification organizations worldwide have increasingly, and formally, mandated adherence to this latest version, ARP4754B.

For experienced, proficient developers of aircraft or aircraft systems, ARP4754B reads like a book for maintaining good personal health: make a plan for health, understand healthy living, be safe, eat well, reduce stress, exercise, sleep, get regular check-ups to prove you followed your health plan, and repeat.  For aircraft, an analogous synopsis of ARP4754B would state:

  1. Plan your aircraft/system’s development lifecycle ecosystem;
  2. Implement Safety activities per ARP4761 (ARP4761A starting in 2024);
  3. Define and justify Assurance Level;
  4. Define system architecture and requirements; Validate;
  5. Coordinate safety assessments with all systems suppliers/integrators at the Aircraft and Integration level (a weakness with the prior existing 4754A);
  6. Perform Verification and Configuration Management;
  7. Implement Process Assurance and prove Transition Criteria.

Key updates in the new ARP4754B over ARP4754A include the following:

  • Better alignment of ARP4754B to the forthcoming ARP4761A (itself an update over ARP4761)
  • Changes to Development Assurance Level (DAL) assignment
  • Model-based systems engineering
  • Applying ARP4754B’s greatly enhanced “Modifications and Reuse” for aircraft and avionics systems
  • Better examples for applying ARP4754B

A key to success aircraft and system development in ARP4754A and ARP4754B are the seven major plans (one more in ARP4754A as it includes a Certification Plan):

  1. Aircraft/System Development Plan
  2. Aircraft/System Safety Program Plan
  3. Aircraft/System Requirements Management Plan
  4. Aircraft/System Validation Plan
  5. Aircraft/System Implementation Verification Plan
  6. Aircraft/System Configuration Management Plan
  7. Aircraft/System Process Assurance Plan

Fortunately, these ARP4754A and ARP4754B templates are readily available from several suppliers, the largest of which is AFuzion in USA.  With these new upgrades to ARP4754B, you can rest, and fly, assured knowing that aviation is the safest form of modern transportation in the world today.

CDN Newswire