View Full Version : Hardware / Software upgrades and certification

8th Apr 2004, 12:38

With a modern aircraft and the multitude of electronic systems on board, what is the upgrade procedure? For example, would a new A320 have the same software and hardware as one of the first models did, even though the technology is now twenty years old? Would the displays on the flight deck be the same, or have they evolved over time? And if the software / hardware has changed, what is the certification stance? Presumably software upgrades would occur from time to time...how are these vaildated? Would the FAA / JAA etc. need to approve any upgrades? I would imagine that the manufacturers would upgrade technology between models eg. from A320 to 321 to 319 to 318 etc., as these new models need to be certified themselves anyway. But does this mean that the technology onboard a particular model lasts the lifetime of the model?


8th Apr 2004, 18:43
I too would be interested to hear a bit about this. I watched a programme on National Geographic the other day about an A340 which ran out of fuel over the Atlantic (crikey!). All ended well and one of the changes made by Airbus was a warning message which indicated when fuel was being "used" quicker than the engine was burning it...i.e. showing a possible fuel leak.

That must have involved some minor software changes?


jettison valve
11th Apr 2004, 21:32

Basically, IŽd say: New deliveries come with the latest s/w standards/equipment available. But there are exceptions to this rule. Sadly...
Although I am not an expert, IŽd say the authorities are definitely involved in any change!


You are most probably refering to an Air Transat A330.
What AI (and Goodrich on the fuel side) have been offering is to generate a warning if the sum of fuel used and remaining fuel exceeds the initial fuel by ... hmm... 3.5t, I seem to remember. But bear in mind that this only works if everything else is fine on the aircraft (no major trouble in the fuel quantity indication system for example). You are right, that this involved new software standards (both, in the fuel system and the flight warning system). But these changes have not been mandated... (contrary to various FCOM changes)!