DO-178C Costs versus Benefits

23 Dec

A new DO-178C Costs versus Benefits whitepaper has been published by AFuzion Incorporated’s Vance HIlderman and is available for download at

This 10-page technical whitepaper provides actual facts on DO-178C Costs along with DO-178C development metrics. The author shows how initial DO-178C deployment can readily add more than 100-150% to development, while experienced avionics development teams experience much lower initial incremental costs of 25-40%.

Many users complained of added costs associated with DO-178B, and DO-178C streamlines some of those costs but offsets others with increased rigor.  Truly, DO-178C is never cheap, certainly not on the first project.  And in clear cases outlined herein, DO-178C can increase costs above DO-178B, which already increased costs by 20-40% itself.  But is DO-178C really “too” expensive? Doesn’t it actually reduce costs over DO-178B for companies who were doing it “right”? Does it reduce long-term costs at the expense of increased development cost? Will it improve safety and reliability and if so, to what degree? Exactly what benefits are received from complying with DO-178C?  In what areas is DO-178C more expensive than DO-178B? These important questions are answered in this Vance Hilderman Whitepaper.


DO-178 has increasingly evolved into the de-facto standard for virtually all forms of commercial avionics except for experimental aircraft.  In the past decade, DO-178B and now DO-178C are mandatory for most Military avionics.  The new DO-178C made both minor and major changes; costs will definitely increase for those users taking shortcuts with the former DO-178B.  However, DO-178 possesses attributes common to all safety critical domains: planning, consistency, determinism, thorough documentation and testing, and proof of the preceding attributes. Truly, DO-178 relies upon significant verification (reviews, tests, and analysis) to assess avionics quality. However, avionics quality comes from a quality process, design, and implementation, not just from testing.

The full 10-page DO-178C Costs Versus Benefits is available for free downloading at

Additional technical aviation and avionics development whitepapers are available at:





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