Breakthrough Insights

Build and Manage Safety-Critical Avionics Systems with Jama Connect and AFuzion

As in the majority of industries today, the complexity of avionics products is rapidly expanding. In contrast, budgets and development schedules are shrinking as teams work to ensure that product safety remains the first priority.

To help Jama’s avionics customers develop safe, quality products on expedited timelines, we’ve teamed up with the safety-critical experts at AFuzion. The result is our Avionics Services offering, which provides teams with an out-of-the-box configuration of Jama Connect specifically tailored for avionics development along with customized training and documentation templates.

Given the forward-thinking nature of our avionics customers, we knew we needed a trusted partner and thought leader to put together this comprehensive package. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, as well as more around the world, AFuzion offers safety-critical certification and consulting for innovators on the cutting edge of avionics, in addition to training and workshops.

Vance Hilderman, CEO and cofounder of AFuzion, calls his team “senior aviation and safety-critical engineers with an average of 20-plus years of engineering experience – plenty of gray hair and hopefully gray matter.”

We spoke with Hilderman to learn more about how Jama Connect customers can leverage AFuzion’s services to develop stronger avionics products.

Q: Can you talk briefly talk about AFuzion, the industries you serve, and the value you offer your customers?

A: Most of our work is aviation, but we also do automotive, satellites, ground systems, spacecraft, missiles, civil aircraft and military aircraft. Our engineers have worked with 95 of the world’s 100 largest aviation companies. Though most of our work is engineering development, we also do certification, mentoring, and training. Interestingly, we’ve trained 22,000 engineers in aviation development standards, which is more than all 30 of our competitors combined. We also have a large library of safety-critical whitepapers, all developed by us.

Q: Why is requirements management a central concern for your customers?

A: AFuzion teaches that good requirements and good requirements management are key to avoiding erroneous assumptions and creating project success. Project success is created, planned, executed, and measured. You need great tools for that, and such is our reason for standardizing on Jama Connect.

Q: What AFuzion solutions or services are currently available with Jama, and what benefits do they deliver for our customers?

A: AFuzion’s safety-critical checklists and templates are hugely popular, especially for aviation. Companies get a working solution out of the box and can avoid rework and delays – it’s a huge jump-start to success, especially when used in conjunction with Jama Connect. And AFuzion can provide standards training while Jama provides the corresponding requirements management training. For the clients, it’s a win-win-win.

Q: What’s the best way to leverage Jama to comply with DO-178, DO-254, and ISO 26262 or IEC-61508?

A: First, get training in requirements management from Jama and the relevant standard from AFuzion. Then initiate Jama deployment and AFuzion’s processes and templates. Consider a gap analysis from AFuzion to show how to best minimize rework and optimize successful project certification and compliance.

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes or misconceptions you see avionics professionals make when they’re first starting to develop safety-critical products?

A: One: Proceeding without a written plan and alternatives. Two: Outsourcing. Engineering is incredibly complex already and it helps when you are all in the same room, same time zone, and speaking the same language. Outsourcing without a CMMI level 4 compliance playbook increases risk. Now, we don’t mind when companies try that: Over half of our clients come to us after they fail at that. But we’d rather see them reduce costs by succeeding first and avoiding failure.

Q: Are aerospace companies doing their best to keep their products secure? What are the cybersecurity threats facing the aerospace industry?

A: Great question. In fact, the FAA and EASA just escalated cybersecurity to the highest level and mandated that all aviation companies deploy proven solutions based upon DO-326A (ED-202A in Europe) before year-end 2019. AFuzion’s aviation cybersecurity whitepaper is very popular and available for free download at our website.

Companies need training, frameworks, and cybersecurity tools throughout development and product deployment/operations, and AFuzion handles all of this. Our new aviation cybersecurity DO-326A / ED-202A training is proving hugely popular: We just had a sold-out class in Munich during Aerospace Tech Week. Threats are rapidly increasing worldwide, so the solutions need to keep up. AFuzion will help ensure that happens.

Q: What are some success stories you’ve heard from people using AFuzion’s services?

A: In just the past three months, we’ve helped companies certify 20-plus aviation products; taught 1,500 engineers how to succeed with DO-178C, DO-254, and ARP4754A; co-developed 10 aviation airborne- and ground-based systems; and have maintained a 100% client repeat rate, where clients call us back for additional work or say they intend to. That’s honestly the greatest reward. Many people think aerospace is staid and boring. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Aerospace is real technology, real money, real results.

View our datasheet to learn more about Jama Software’s Avionics Services package.