RTCA Do-160 – Guidelines And Test Procedures For Airborne Equipment

The RTCA or Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics is a nonprofit that volunteers technical guidance to be used by different industries. This committee was created in the early thirties and was reincorporated during the nineties. There are more than 200 committees within this group that act as advisers to the Federal Aviation Administration. The purpose of this committee is ensuring air safety, minimize the amount of performance requirements and develop guidelines for the FAA. It is important to remember that the documents created by this committee are considered guidelines and not requirements.

Test Procedures For Equipment

The Do-160 Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment, was first publicly published in 1980. The RTCA designed the Do-160 to offer guidelines for certain designs within avionics and air craft’s. Since 1980 there have been various revisions added to the guidelines of the Do-160. Within the Do-160 there is a purpose of Standard. This purpose outlines the major theme of the Do-160. This helps users of this guide better understand what to use it for. The guideline basically outlines the basic standards and tests done on aeronautic equipment. This guideline adds a certain level of confidence and competence to aeronautic equipment testing and its usage.

Standard Conditions and Descriptions

Along with the basic standards found on the Do-160, there are some examples of conditions as well as conditions. These standard conditions can be used to as a guide or check list to ensure that all components are working properly. The following is a list of standards found within the Do-160:

• The temperature check focuses on temperature’s affects on a system. Things such as condensation and evaporation can play similar roles on a system as well.

• The Altitude focuses upon the effects of pressure and altitude stress on a device or piece of equipment. Different factors may be tested alongside altitude to ensure a more realistic testing environment.

• Humidity checks for the effects of corrosion over a period of time on certain systems and equipment. In reality this checks, for all affects of liquids especially water dripping or splash on a unit.

• Crash Safety checks for certain effects on mechanical shocks on a complete system. This safety check is very important as it ensures that there are no potential projectiles that could shatter on impact causing more damage.

• Vibration checks the affects of certain movements on the overall integrity of a system, part or equipment. This ensures that during takeoff or descent that all of the components of a craft are still intact.

• Power up and down, checks how a system handles power during certain conditions. These conditions may include during takeoff, landing and during a power surge.


The benefits of having this type of guide at your disposal, is it offers all of the possible problems that can be experienced within a system. This helps air craft’s and aeronautics specialists to better prepare for a variety of different problems.

By Robert Fogarty

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