FAA Certification with Canaan Avionics

What's the Certification Process?

Look before we leap -

Before a certification project is started, Canaan Avionics provides you with a technically feasible solution. Our digital adapters are usually central to integration of other systems. We eliminate technical risks and ensure that the project will be an absolute success. Canaan Avionics provides lab integrations and proofs of concept before the project is even started. We provide bench-level lash-ups and reverse engineering. Let’s have a proof of concept in hand first, and then we can approach your customers and the FAA with a known solution. Having block diagrams and high level requirements upfront is the key to success.

14 CFR Part 21 Certification - Procedures For Products And Articles outlines the rules for obtaining certification of an aircraft and aircraft parts. There are varying means of approval, each having their own scope of authority. The FAA provides Advisory Circulars which outline processes for FAA Form 337 and Supplemental Type Certificates. The FAA Industry Guide to Product Certification is particularly helpful.

The designs need to be approved and the actual modification to the aircraft itself needs to be approved; this is often referred to as Design Approval and Installation Approval respectively. These approvals are considered holistically, meaning that the whole aircraft [as an aircraft-level system] is certified instead of addressing only the modification. The aircraft is the system.

The Technical Standard Order (TSO) for our adapter modules provides Design Approval for the adapter hardware itself, but additional approvals are required for the Hosted Application and functionality in an aircraft system. Unlike most other avionics (such as a NAV Radio) a digital adapter is basically functionless on its own. The TSO doesn’t appropriately account for an adapter’s functionality and additional work is needed to give the unit a purpose. For most projects, there isn’t an appropriate TSO for a digital adapter and the FAA does not grant a "partial TSO". To do this right, the STC applicant must use additional data and processes provided by Canaan Avionics order to get Design Approval for the whole aircraft as a system. The STC and the TSO are stitched together.

Canaan Avionics provides you the data that makes your STC easy.

The typical STC project will include the following list of documents. The STC documents are filed by the applicant, and the Canaan Support documents are where we are fill in the gaps.

STC Document

Canaan Support

Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP)

This is the certification plan that connects your project to the rules outlined in 14 CFR Part 21.

Our engineering supplements project roles and responsibilities in this whole column. Identify these roles in the PSCP.

Also, see the following table which identifies Design Approval data provided by Canaan which should be accounted for in the PSCP.

Functional Hazard Assessment (FHA)

This assessment identifies critical systems and what functional hazards may exist if something goes wrong. An FHA should provide an allowance associated with each Hazard. Depending what system is modified (such as new flight displays), there may be an Advisory Circular (in this case AC 25-11B) which will provide a maximum Qualitative Probability for each Hazard Classification (see Table 4-1 for example).

Provide a system architecture that can achieve safety critical objectives. Sometimes redundancies are needed or defensive designs. Canaan provides safety solutions that work on paper as well as on the aircraft.

System Safety Assessment (SSA)

This is a written assessment that addresses the flight hazards quantitatively. Often a Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) is needed for each Flight Hazard identified in the FHA. The SSA identifies how the Hazards are addressed. If the system is novel or complex, the FAA usually wants the FHA and a Preliminary SSA (PSSA) to be filed with the PSCP.

Canaan addresses each hazard and provides a MIL-HDBK-217F failure rate for use in the FTA. These failure rates are usually categorized between Loss and Misleading of a particular functionality where the adapter has an effect. The failure rates are organized by function and by the possible contribution that the unit has for that function.

For Design Assurance Level (DAL) -A- software applications, Canaan will need to trace aSRD requirements to your SSA where they are derived or have a particular safety related aspect.

Aircraft Flight Manual Supplement (AFMS)

The AFMS (see 25.1581-1) needs to provide information for safe operation of the aircraft. The AFMS should provide a brief Introduction, Operation Limitations, Operation Procedures (Normal/Abnormal/Emergency), Performance, Limits and Loading.

We have particular experience in developing AFMS, including human factors. We can support the development of any AFMS contents.

Installation Drawings

The Design Approval is attached to detailed designs. The installation will eventually be conformed to these drawings before acceptance testing.

Canaan Avionics provides Application Notes and Installation Manuals which provide high-level integration details and operational details.

Acceptance Tests

An avionics STC needs a Ground Tests Plan (GTP), and often needs a Flight Test Plan (FTP). These acceptance tests are accomplished for each modified aircraft.

Canaan follows the V-Model approach to software certification. Software tests are done at the Aircraft-Level , the Black Box-Level , and the Unit Test-Level Our software processes are a lot like ARP-4754, even when this process is not required under this project. We trace requirements, software code and verification using CARMA.

Conveniently, Canaan provides Test Cases and Procedures for the Black Box Level to you incorporate into your GTP & FTP. Traceability ensures that the functional requirements of the system are Structurally Covered.

The FAA will expect certain substantiation data directly from Canaan Avionics. The Design Approval will include data that is both on the STC-side and on the TSO-side. A lot of this data has to do with the Life Cycle Management processes and Qualification Most of the substantiation data is accomplished under the TSO.

DO-160G Environmental Qualification

The U1713 (and other adapters) are qualified for most Part 25 fixed-wing environments. Several categories exceed typical applications identified in DO-160G, and Canaan is open of testing to higher qualifications where required. A list of the current Environmental Qualifications is found in the Installation Manual.



  • Environmental Qualification Test Plan (QTP)
  • Environmental Qualification Test Results (QTR)

Identify TSO and Qualifications in PSCP.

DO-178C Software Certification

Canaan develops and maintains software according to a Life Cycle process certified by DO-178C, Design Assurance Level (DAL) -A-.

In the case of the U1713, the base TSO is accomplished under C-153A, which means that there is Core Software that is certified under the TSO and Hosted Applications that provide the functionality. The software lifecycle is certified and maintained at Canaan, but we provide you the certification documents needed for the application on the STC-side.

Core Software Data

Hosted Application Software Data

Software Planning (SOI-1)

  • Plan for Software Aspects of Certification (PSAC)
  • Software Development Plan (SDP)
  • Software Verification Plan (SVP)
  • Software Configuration Management Plan(SCMP)
  • Software Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP)
  • Software Requirements Standards (SRS)
  • Software Coding Standard (SCS)

The hosted application is developed according to plans outlined under the previously certified TSO.

Software Design (SOI-2)

  • Core Software Requirements Document (c_SRD)
  • Core Software Design Document (c_SDD)

  • Application Software Requirements Document (a_SDD)

Software Verification (SOI-3)

  • Core Software Verification Cases & Procedures (c_SVCP)
  • Core Software Verification Results (c_SVR)
  • Software Code Coverage & Analysis Resolution (SCAR)
  • Software Data Coupling Analysis (SDCA)

  • Application Software Verification Cases & Procedures (a_SVCP)
  • Application Software Verification Results (a_SVR)

Software Accomplishment (SOI-4)

  • Core Software Environment & Configuration Index (c_SCI)
  • Core Software Accomplishment Summary (c_SAS)

  • Application Software Environment & Configuration Index (a_SCI)
  • Application Software Accomplishment Summary (a_SAS)

At a very high-level, the end-to-end process for certifying an adapter module is:

  • Contact Canaan Avionics and propose a new project
  • Coordinate a lash-up where prudent. Often a clean sheet project doesn't need to be mocked up at first, such as new designs or designs that don't require reverse engineering.
  • Establish the Cert Basis and reference the above documents in the plans
  • Create a custom part number for the adapter and provide a new top level drawing
  • Conduct Preliminary Design Reviews
  • Complete documents needed for the Hosted Application Approval
  • Conduct Critical Design Review
  • Black Box integration Testing
  • Get installation approvals for the adapter via installation drawings on the STC/TC or Field Approval
  • Install a loaner Red Label or Black Label adapter module
  • Perform acceptance testing
  • Coordinate the Certification