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RTCA December 2021 Digest

December 16, 2021
Home / News / RTCA December 2021 Digest

Standards Oversight Committee Acts on Emerging Technologies and Safety Oversight

RTCA’s Program Management Committee (PMC) held its final 2021 meeting approving two guidance documents, reviewing workplans for the Special Committees (SC), and incorporating changes to the various committee Terms of Reference (TOR) that reflect leadership and work plan changes.

Chaired by Dr. Chris Hegarty of The MITRE Corporation, the 20-member PMC is the RTCA oversight body charged with producing timely and robust standards and guidance documents to ensure interoperability of aviation systems and equipment. The standards encourage innovation and serve as the basis for meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. An important responsibility of the PMC is ensuring the operational application of the technical standards.

As mentioned, the Members of the PMC approved two standards:

· DO-391 – Aeronautical Information System Security Framework Guidance, presented by SC-216, Aeronautical Systems Security

This document is concerned with the overarching context of the shared responsibility for Aeronautical Information System Security (AISS) through the identification and description of topics which have to be addressed. It deals with shared responsibility of all relevant stakeholders who are part of civil aviation. The purpose of security in this context should be understood as ensuring safety of flight and maintaining the operation of the civil aviation infrastructure without significant disruption.


· DO-388A – Guidance Document on Aircraft Cleaning and Disinfection, presented by SC-241, Cockpit and Cabin Cleaning Committee 

This document contains best practices and technologies for aircraft cabin and flight deck cleaning/disinfecting for use by all aircraft operators. It has been updated with the latest information and comments from the CDC and industry. Although the guidance is intended specifically for airline use, it could also be beneficial to large charter operators, corporate and fractional ownership operators, and general aviation operators. It is intended to be a “living” document to be updated in the future as best practices and technologies improve, and so be useful for protection against this and any future pandemics.

Six SCs received approval for changes to their work plans.  These are SC-159 – Navigation Equipment Using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS); SC-206 – Aeronautical Information and Meteorological Data Link; SC-214 – Standards for Air Traffic Data Communication Services; SC-222 – Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (Route) Services (AMS(R)S); SC-230 – Airborne Weather Detection Systems; and SC-236 – Standards for Wireless Avionics Intra-Communication System. Four special committees (SCs) received approval for administrative changes to their TORs.

Additionally, the PMC discussed approved a Special Committee as a standing committee to address Spectrum matters in the future, received inputs on 1030/1090/978 MHz spectrum and surveillance as well as Digital Flight Rules.  There was also discussion on FAA Actions on previously published documents, International Coordination, SC Chairmen reports, and input to an ECC request for information and assistance on conflict between results of various studies and test.

NOTE: These two new documents are available on the RTCA Store at:

RTCA launched a new membership interview series this year and we were pleased to have had so many insightful discussions with industry leaders.  A new drone pilot program at Classical Academy High School, IATA’s predictions on the future of global travel, and safety topics from Boeing, Reliable Robotics, and Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility Division were just a few of the highlights.   Full video series here:

Terry McVenes interviews Dr. Ratan Khatwa, Lead Strategist and Designer – Human Factors, Flight Deck Crew Operations at Boeing.  Dr. Khatwa discusses the evolution of technology and human factors engineering.  WATCH:

RTCA Special Committees - Year End Review

In 2021, RTCA Special Committees remained committed to their work creating 17 documents to present to the PMC for publication in 2021 including 5 brand new documents on topics ranging from Test Procedures for vision systems to guidance on Information Security Event Management. The Special Committees maintain membership who are aware of the consensus standards needed for the current aviation environment. While our Special Committees have faced challenges reaching consensus when meeting virtually, we want to thank each volunteer for their commitment to write industry consensus standards that can be referenced by regulators or used in support of design and development as part of certification packages.

During the year, RTCA hosed on average 175+ virtual meetings with over 2500+ participants per month. RTCA remains committed to provide a hybrid option for meeting attendance as we all learn to adopt to the new normal when we return to meeting in person. RTCA offices are open, and we have hosted a few meetings with attendees in-person utilizing our remodeled facilities. We hope more of our meetings are hybrid as we transition into the new year.

RTCA released a new tool for Special Committee collaboration in March to facilitate document creation and committee communications. Our new tool, AerOpus, provides calendar, mailing list, document repository, and balloting functionality for each Special Committee. AerOpus is more robust than our previous tool, and we want to thank everyone who has helped make the tool easier to use by making suggestions for improvements.  New features are planned for 2022 that will aid in better collaboration and document creation.

In 2022, RTCA will continue producing and publishing globally harmonized aviation standards such as MOPS and MASPS while expanding the scope of the committees to provide the documents that industry needs. In the new year, watch for a new committee, SC-242, to be stood up to address broader issues related to RF Spectrum use and management for Aviation.



RTCA Announces New Human Factors Course, coming January 2022

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A SPECIAL THANK YOU to the RTCA 2021 Virtual Event Sponsors:

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A Message From RTCA President, Terry McVenes

As we close out 2021, I’m pleased to report that it was another fabulous year for RTCA. While challenges from the pandemic continued to prohibit most of our special committees to meet in person, the work continued to progress without abatement. We also managed to transition our training programs into a virtual setting, which allowed for our programs to continue to provide a quality education environment that supported our membership’s training needs. As we look forward to 2022, we will continue to evolve the RTCA organization to support new and emerging trends in the aviation industry, empowering and enabling innovation through collaboration, and building upon our legacy of accomplishment. Thank you to all of our members, government and industry partners, and the RTCA staff for making 2021 another exceptional year.

For more information about the Digest, please contact:
Name: Ka'Nika Evans

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