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Textron Aviation’s Doug Sheridan Explains SAE ARP4754B™ and ARP4761A™ Standard Updates

Posted: January 2, 2024

Safety requires cross-industry consistency, making it crucial for standards like SAE ARP4754B™ and SAE ARP4761A™ to unite mobility professionals with up-to-date and agreed-upon qualifications.

Known as the Foundations of Aircraft and Systems Safety (FASS)  SAE ARP4754B™ and SAE ARP4761A™ do what their joint name suggests and have served as a guiding basis for aircraft systems safety tech since the 1990s.

This year, the SAE International S-18 Committee—responsible for the creation and upkeep of FASS—is making historic updates to the standards to ensure the safe development of the aerospace industry.

Textron Aviation Principal Engineer and S-18 Secretary Doug Sheridan described the S-18 Committee’s editing process.

“If we're revising a document, hopefully those changes get to be minimal. This comes from the premise that the current work is in very good shape already. Specifically, with 54B and 61A, we found some clarification that needed to be added,” Doug said.

He emphasized that whether the committee is building a standard from scratch or updating an older version, they make sure that the information stays comprehensive and concise for industry members.

“When working as a collaborative team, we account for everybody’s different experiences—and so it’s a matter of melding this work into one standard that would be useful for a wide range of companies and groups. Company A, for example, may be trying to achieve something differently than Company B, but both should be able to use the standard that we’ve created,” Doug said.

Working collaboratively across industry is not only beneficial for the companies, as Doug points out, but for the contributors themselves as they work on these documents. Doug shared how these different opportunities have enhanced his own professional experience and helped him to grow as an engineer.

“I've made a lot of friends that I never would have had contact with if it weren’t for being on this committee. I've learned quite a bit about how other companies do things, and while I'm teaching them, they're showing me things from their perspective,” Doug said.

Ultimately, it’s the culmination of multiple experiences and perspectives that allow for innovation. Having committee members from different backgrounds can help groups like the S-18 committee understand problems or challenges a single engineer may not have considered alone.

Doug emphasized the value of input from both current and new members—and the effect it has on the development of critical standards.

“It's important that people come to a grasp of how things work. And don’t be afraid to contribute, either. Even the smallest bits of input can help nudge a project in the right direction,” Doug said. “At the end of the day, more input means a better product—and for us, that means helping drive safety.”

For more information about SAE ARP4754B ™ Standard and SAE ARP4761A ™ Standard, and where to view them, visit the S-18 Committee on SAE StandardsWorks.

Interested in joining? Submit your Committee Participation Request to get involved.