Certification of Onboard Computer Equipment

by K Suresh
(Cupertino, CA, USA)

What certification, if any, would be required by the FAA for the installation of computer equipment like servers and storage systems in aircraft (specifically, commercial passenger jets)?

ANSWER: The installation of this type of equipment would be an alteration to the aircraft. You cannot alter a U.S. registered aircraft without using FAA approved data. The Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process is used to approve most alterations.

A major consideration would be how the equipment will be used and how the equipment will interface or affect other equipment on the aircraft.

If you propose to install this equipment, you should contact an FAA DER with a systems and equipment specialty to discuss your project. That person could give you more specific guidance on the approval process.

You can locate an FAA DER by clicking on the "FAA DAR|FAA DER" tab in the left column of this page and downloading the DER Directory.

Return to Aircraft Alteration Questions.

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