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RTCA Summer Digest 2023

June 27, 2023
Home / News / RTCA Summer Digest 2023

Standards Oversight Committee Acts on Emerging Technologies and Safety Oversight

RTCA’s Program Management Committee (PMC) held its summer meeting and reviewed and approved one new document and two revised documents for publication, accepted one white paper, approved six Special Committee (SC) work plan schedules, received updates on important SC activities, and discussed several significant topics.

Key areas and issues discussed:

•       Approved Documents:
DO-220B – Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Airborne Weather Radar Systems, with Supplement, presented by SC-230, Airborne Weather Detection Systems –            added requirements and test procedures for a high-altitude ice crystal detection function for airborne weather radar.

DO-385A – Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Airborne Collision Avoidance System X (ACAS X) (ACAS Xa and ACAS Xo) Volume I and II, presented by SC-147,              Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) – This document sets forth minimum operational performance standards for the ACAS X equipment to improve air safety by            acting as a last-resort method of preventing mi-air collision between aircraft. Read More


Leading security experts from Aviation ISAC and other organizations discuss industry-wide efforts to address cybersecurity threats and solutions. Patrick Morrissey from Collins Aerospace and Co-Chair of SC-216 – Aeronautical Systems Security provides the audience with an update on the current standards work by the committee and upcoming documents scheduled for release.

Longtime SC-216 Committee Co-Chair Dave Pierce Reflects on Successes, Challenges, as Retirement is on the Horizon

David Pierce, the only original member left on SC-216:  Aeronautical System Security, is set to retire in the near future.  As he looks back on his time with RTCA, David says he is proud of the way SC-216 expanded its scope, the way the industry has risen to the exponentially difficult challenge of cybersecurity, and the ways RTCA and EUROCAE have worked together to push measures that have increased safety for the flying public.

David initially started as a member of SC-216 at its inception in 2007, eventually serving as Chair, rarely ever missing a meeting. When he joined the committee, David was the only employee of GE Aviation Systems tasked with cybersecurity.  Back then, the industry was just beginning to sense how important cyber security was to the future of aviation, he said.  At that time, everyone focused on cybersecurity and malware affecting individual aircraft.  Now, David said, this concern has expanded to encompass the cybersecurity of airports, reservation systems, airline employee information and a whole host of vulnerabilities.

During his tenure, SC-216 published nine documents, and subsequent updates, as well as a white paper outlining a glossary of terms.  He also has a hand in two more updates and two new documents*, which are expected to be completed by the end of next year, bringing the total number of completed documents to 13 by the end of 2024. While working on SC-216, David earned RTCA’s Special Recognition Award in 2023, EUROCAE’s “Global Harmonisation” Award in 2019, and RTCA Significant Contributor Awards in 2019, 2015, and 2012. Read More

AAM Webinar Details Fascinating Leaps in AAM

In the third of three AAM Webinars, RTCA took a deep dive into the different paths required for crewed, partially crewed and completely autonomous operations when moving from concept of operations to operational deployment.  RTCA President and CEO Terry McVenes hosted this discussion in May with industry experts Erick Corona, Director of ConOps and Airspace Ecosystem Development with all-electric, self-flying eVTOL air taxi company, Wisk Aero LLC; Amber Harrison, Regulatory Counsel at instant delivery and logistics company Zipline; and Ruby Sayyed, Acting Director, ATM Infrastructure, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

As the industry buzzes with talk of AAM, McVenes said he sees this as the next inflection point of change in an industry expending a great deal of energy into the topic and garnering political and legislative support.

The discussion began with Harrison describing Zipline’s globally tested, long range fixed wing parachute delivery system, which launches a 55-pound package at a max rate of 56 knots, with a two-hour endurance and recovery via a rarity line, and Zipline’s urban platform, which uses a fixed wing helicopter with droid delivery (flyzipline.com).  Corona described Wisk Aero’s Gen 6 aircraft, which he expects to become the first autonomous, certified four passenger air taxi, with a range of 90 miles, a traveling speech of 110-120 knots and a charge time of 15 minutes (wisk.aero). More

RTCA 2023 Jackson Award Recipient, Dr. Timothy Needham

This year’s William E. Jackson Award is presented to Dr. Timothy Needham for his Thesis entitled “Gravity Modeling in High-Integrity GNSS-Aided Inertial Navigation Systems.” Tim served on SC-159 Working Group 2C and coauthored Appendix O of DO-384. He holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Ohio University.


RTCA extends a huge congratulations to all of the this year’s awardees. Thank you for all of your hard work and contributions to the industry!

To view our 2023 Significant Contributor and Outstanding Leadership award recipients, please visit our awards and scholarship page, here

RTCA and Japan Aviation Innovation Development Association (AIDA), sign Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on aviation issues and share expertise and best practices. RTCA looks forward to increasing engagement with AIDA and maximizing our global harmonization efforts. Learn more

Upcoming Fall Training

DO-178C, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification September 11-14
Supplements to DO-178CSeptember 15
Airworthiness SecuritySeptember 25-28
Safety Management Systems (SMS) OverviewSeptember 25-28
DO-160G, Environmental TestingOctober 9-13
*RTCA member organizations receive discounted rates!

AAM Workshop Outlines Path Forward to Answer Repeatedly Raised Questions

On May 23, RTCA hosted the third of three AAM Workshops.  The day included an FCC Project Overview with Ryan Steinbach of the DOT Office of Aviation Analysis, two group discussions on FAA UAM ComOps V2.0 and on RTCA’s White Paper, and concluded with participation in Aviation Week’s Network Webinar.

In the morning, participants dove into a presentation on creating the transportation system of the future, which seeks participation from the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Defense Homeland Security, Energy, Labor, and Agriculture, as well as FCC and NASA.  The purpose of the AAM Interagency Working Group (IWG) would be to work together to grow new transportation options, amplify economic activity and jobs, advance environmental sustainability and new technologies, and support emergency preparedness and competitiveness.  The group would outline parameters and timelines, then develop recommendations and detail roles and responsibilities.  Finally, when consensus is reached, the IWG would enact this national strategy with departments working toward shared goals and defined measures of success.

The group then discussed the UAM Concept of Operations (ConOps) v2.0 plan that was developed with input from FAA, NASA, and industry partners.  It expands on the June 2020 1.0 version and includes a set of operations that leverage the current regulatory framework and rules such as VFR and IFR.  The 2.0 version is guided by a crawl-walk-run approach that will allow entry of new aircraft types, increased frequency of UAM operations and new operational rules and infrastructure as UAM continues to mature.  Read More


RTCA and EUROCAE renewed their commitment of cooperation in the development of joint standards for aviation systems. During the annual EUROCAE Symposium held at the National Air & Space Museum in Paris, France, RTCA President Terry McVenes and EUROCAE Director General Anna von Groote signed an updated Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC). The MoC renews the agreement for both organizations to continue working together for the development of aviation standards.

The cooperative arrangements will enable the development of timely, reliable and effective standards to support interoperability and sustainability in an increasingly complex, global environment. These standards will continue to be developed collaboratively as one team between all industry stakeholders.

Terry McVenes, President and CEO of RTCA, said, “The renewal of this agreement underscores the commitment of RTCA and EUROCAE towards promoting a culture of international cooperation and teamwork in the creation of standards that enhance safety and efficiency in the aviation industry. We are delighted to continue our collaborative efforts in this regard”.


RTCA Special Committee Recap for May 2023

May 11 – SC-239, Low Range Radar Altimeter, met in joint plenary with EUROCAE WG-119 at EUROCAE Headquarters in Saint-Denis, France. The path to publication of the document, DO-399/ED-310, will be discussed at the June 2023 Program Management Committee meeting. The group also made progress on the revisions to DO-155/ED-30 which will be a Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for Low Range Radar Altimeters.

May 16-18 – SC-235, Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries, met in Plenary virtually to continue comment resolution for DO-227B Final Review and Comment (FRAC). Due to the amount of content change resulting from this resolution process, the group agreed a second FRAC will be needed. Publication is still expected late this year.

May 16-18 – SC-237, Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS), met jointly with EUROCAE WG-110 at RTCA Headquarters to continue work on a new MOPS for helicopter on-shore operations. At the conclusion of the meeting, the group decided to enter the document for Final Review and Comment/Open Consultation (FRAC/OC). The next meeting is scheduled for August 23-24 at EUROCAE with publication expected later this year.


RTCA Adds Two New Staff Members to the Team

RTCA welcomes James Venslauskas and Kendal Gabor to the staff. James and Kendal bring diverse backgrounds to RTCA to help support RTCA committee work and membership benefits.


For more information about the Digest, please contact:
Name: Ka'Nika Evans
Email: kevans@rtca.org

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