19 December 2013
FAA may impose “special conditions” for A350 Type Certification concerned about safety & maintenance protection: has the design of the A350-900 allow for too much connectivity between the aircraft control domain and other electronic systems onboard?
The Federal Aviation Administration is concerned that the design of the Airbus A350-900 airplane might allow for too much connectivity between the aircraft control domain and other electronic systems onboard the aircraft, which could result in the “intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation or exploitation of data, systems, and networks critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane.”
Consequently, the FAA has announced that it may impose “special conditions” on that specific Airbus plane before issuing a “type certificate” that would allow the plane to fly commercially.
Those special conditions would require Airbus to “ensure airplane electronic system security protection from access to or by unauthorized sources external to the airplane,” that any threats are identified and assessed, that “electronic system security protection strategies are implemented,” and that procedures are put in place to ensure that continued airworthiness of the aircraft is maintained.
“These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with electronic system security protection from unauthorized external access,” explains the FAA’s notice. “The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature.”
“Contemporary transport category airplanes have both safety-related and non-safety-related electronic system networks for many operational functions,” the FAA notice continues. “However, electronic system network security considerations and functions have played a relatively minor role in the certification of such systems because of the isolation, protection mechanisms, and limited connectivity between the different networks.”
Based on the article “FAA concerned about interconnectivity of electronic systems on Airbus A350-900 airplanes “ published in Government security news.