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How are the Airbus flight computers coded? is it difficult?

Marc Stanford

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Marc Stanford

I was just wondering how the Airbus engineers programmed the flight computers such as the ELAC, SEC, FAC, FMGC, etc. Are they programmed with code in windows or whatever they use and then uploaded to the actual computer module itself? How are the computer software updated especially for the sharklets, do they update the code or replace the entire computer LRU?

Is it difficult?

Just curious.

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  • 2 months later...

The A320 code for flight control computers is not manually written. Instead Airbus us a graphical tool called SCADE for formal specification of the functional requirements which can then be used to automatically generate the code to meet the requirements specified. There's an interesting paper on the fly by wire architecture here if you want to read more: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-1-4020-8157-6_18.pdf 

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SCADE for developing software for embedded control components is not only used in the aviation industry, but also elsewhere, e. g. in automotive, train traffic control and other mission critical scenarios. SCADE comes with its own certified C-Compiler (KCG) that is used to generate the actual code from the SCADE specification. This C-compiler is certified to produce code that is error-free in terms of accurately representing the SCADE spec and that is free of deadlocks. 

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Duncan MacKellar
5 hours ago, Marc Delaloy said:

Using ARINC 

That's not correct. @Dave Woycek is correct, SCADE is used.

Some of the Comms protocols on the Aircraft are various variations of ARINC (same with other manufacturers as they are industry standards). 



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On 7/21/2021 at 11:44 AM, Artur Araripe said:

Hopefully not Java

Java is actually a lot better than its reputation, especially the latest versions. I use it every day on the job :)
But yes, Java is not really a great thing for super-small, performance-, memory- and mission-critical applications like those in embedded controllers used in aviation.

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