Aviation safety issues and actions

Single event effect general risk to avionics

Issue number: AO-2008-070-SI-07
Who it affects: All aircraft operators
Issue owner: All high capacity operators
Transport function: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2008-070
Issue release date: 19 December 2011
Current issue status: Partially addressed
Issue status justification:

The publication of IEC TS 62396 has significantly enhanced understanding and awareness of the issue and ways to address the issue. The proposed changes by the FAA and EASA indicate greater awareness and consideration of SEE during design and certification processes. However, there is still no formal requirement for the consideration of SEE.

Safety issue description

Single event effects (SEE) have the potential to adversely affect avionics systems that have not been specifically designed to be resilient to this hazard. There were no specific certification requirements for SEE, and until recently there was no formal guidance material available for addressing SEE during the design process.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2008-070-NSA-128
Action organisation: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 19 December 2011
Action status: Closed
In May 2010, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) advised that on recent aircraft certifications (including the A380 and A350), it had requested that the applicant consider the effects of single event upsets (SEUs) and multiple bit upsets (MBUs) on systems and equipment. It also advised that Airbus had required equipment manufacturers to consider the effects of SEU and MBU and to mitigate these effects. As discussed in section 3.6.6, Airbus had included IEC TS 62396 in its requirements for manufacturers since 2007.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2008-070-NSA-129
Action organisation: US Federal Aviation Administration
Date: 19 December 2011
Action status: Closed
In March 2010, the FAA advised that IEC TS 62396 was being considered for inclusion in future Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARPs), as well as FAA Issue Papers and Special Conditions. The FAA also advised that the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute (AVSI) helped develop TS 62396, and that one of AVSI’s goals is to encourage the establishment of additional test facilities to enable more cost-effective determination of the SEE immunity of systems or units. Additional facilities would further the understanding of new electronic parts’ susceptibility and for developing regulations and guidance material.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2008-070-NSA-133
Action organisation: International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
Date: 19 December 2011
Action status: Closed

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published Technical Specification (TS) 62396-1 in 2006 and subsequent parts soon after.

Last update 18 March 2016