7
$\begingroup$

I am considering designing and building an automatic air-sampling unit that can be placed in the cabin of an airliner and left unattended for an extended period of time. The device will use an electronic air sensor and (small) processor so that it can detect and sample fume events without crew intervention, will be battery powered using a small battery of a known-reliable type (i.e. not Lithium-Ion :), will not have any functions that intentionally emit RF, and will be packaged in an enclosure (either plastic with internal shielding or metal).

What EMC and electrical-safety requirements/specifications must this device meet in order to avoid posing a hazard to the aircraft it is placed on, and how do I ensure that this box is not mistakenly considered a security threat to the aircraft?

$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

I am assuming from your description this is not a permanent part of the aircraft and is just an instrument that will be brought on board. The DO-254's cited by Porcupine above are authorized under FAR 25.1309 which is only for permanent equipment that are an integral part of the aircraft design, not cargo items.

In general, there are no FAA regulations about that kind of equipment, other than hazardous cargo materials (flammables, lithium batteries, etc). Even radios and RF emitters are ok, if the airline company and pilot agree to it. Flight crews sometimes bring their own personal radios on board as backups, for example.

The policy about bringing something like this aboard would largely depend on the owner/operator and one might have completely different requirements or reaction than another. Your best bet would be to contact the operator (airline company) you want to work with and ask them what their requirements are.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ It is indeed an instrument that would be brought on board, although the RTCA specs do seem like a good idea anyway. $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Mar 4 '15 at 23:32
9
$\begingroup$

A document called RTCA DO-160 defines the testing for a number of environmental requirements. Within each test standard is normally a number of different test conditions. The level of required testing is normally defined by the customer of the device, who has the task of showing the regulating body (FAA, EASA, etc) that this is sufficient to ensure the aircraft meets all regulatory requirements. In addition, DO-254 gives guidance for electronic hardware and DO-178 handles software. There are other legacy documents like MIL-specs that define testing as well.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While this addresses environmental (EMC, electrical safety, ruggedness) quite well, this doesn't touch on the security side, which is just as much a concern in today's paranoid world... $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Mar 4 '15 at 0:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Others will have to pipe in on the security issue, but I suppose if this device is installed in the aircraft like any other installed component then there shouldn't be much of a concern. The installation of the device would have to be disseminated to each crew. $\endgroup$ – Porcupine911 Mar 4 '15 at 0:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @UnrecognizedFallingObject the security side will require you working with the airline you are going to place these devices on. $\endgroup$ – casey Mar 4 '15 at 13:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.