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Federal Aviation Administration. RTCA Update. Pat Cahill AJP-632; Fire Safety Team Wm. J. Hughes Technical Center Federal Aviation Administration Alan Thompson Environ Laboratories LLC.

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Rtca update

Federal Aviation


RTCA Update

Pat CahillAJP-632; Fire Safety TeamWm. J. Hughes Technical CenterFederal Aviation AdministrationAlan ThompsonEnviron Laboratories LLC

Rtca background

The FAA Technical Center was requested by the Avionics Systems Branch in Washington to work with members of the RTCA to develop flammability test criteria and procedures for electronic enclosures.

Advisory Circular (AC21-16F) identifying RTCA Doc. No. (RTCA/DO)-160F as an acceptable means of environmental qualifications for showing compliance with airworthiness requirements was released.

The AC excluded Section 26, “Fire and Flammability” as it is not as stringent as FAA accepted methods.

First Task Group meeting was held in Naples, Florida in March 2009

RTCA Background

Rtca background continued

The purpose of this group was to draft a new Section 26 for inclusion into RTCA DO-160 document.

Section 26 deals with flammability.

Members agreed developing a test or tests for an “electronic” box would take longer than one year.

“Electronic” refers to avionics equipment, communication equipment, operating components, etc.

Thus, the group focused on testing specified in FAR 25.853, Appendix F:

Vertical Bunsen burner test

Horizontal Bunsen burner test

The 60 degree wire test

The 45 degree test

RTCA Background (continued)

Rtca background continued1

In order to select the appropriate test method: inclusion into RTCA DO-160 document.

Define the product.

Define what needs testing (such as covers, internal components, printed circuit boards, etc.)

Determine what a small part is and does it fall under the small parts exclusion.

Determine configurations or parts of the product that may be exempt from testing.

Determine which test to conduct.

RTCA Background (continued)

Rtca background continued2

As an exercise, the task group was asked to perform a flammability analysis on two electronic units manufactured by Thrane and Thrane Company.

Thrane and Thrane provided the drawings and description of these units. These were sent to each task group member.

The two units were …

RTCA Background (continued)

Rtca background continued3

The SBU (Swift Broadband Unit) which is used to send and receive RF signals to the HLD Diplexer:

RTCA Background (continued)

SBU, Metal unit with cooling/vent holes

Rtca background continued4

The HLD (HPA/LNA/Diplexer which is a high power, low noise amplifier

RTCA Background (continued)

HLD, metal construction with no cooling/vent holes

Rtca ongoing work

The Section 26 Draft, Fire, Flammability was sent to Working Group members in early October for their review

Modified sections of the Fire Test Handbook have replaced the entire Category C: Flammability

Specifically, procedures that apply to the type of components being tested to DO160 procedures

The policy of the RTCA/DO160 document is to not make reference to any standard or agency

Therefore, the applicable test methods from the Handbook were not copied verbatim

The three tests that are applicable are:

Vertical Bunsen burner test

Horizontal Bunsen burner test

60 degree Bunsen burner test

RTCA Ongoing Work

Rtca ongoing work1

1 Group members in early October for their reviewst Review of Section 26 will be held at the RTCA Meeting scheduled for the week of March 17th.

All comments/changes will be forwarded to the working group members.

Once Revision G is finalized, we will continue working on alternate test methods through the working group.

RTCA Ongoing Work