FAA should do some bragging about its new CSTA

George Romanski
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George Romanski

FAA Chief Scientific & Technical Advisor (CSTA) for Aircraft Computer Software

While the Congressional critics on the Hill and the privatization advocates are harping on the FAA’s inability to manage the complexities of its technology missions, it would be reasonable to expect that its communications would be quick to announce when new impressive talent has joined the team. It seems odd that the first news of such a human talent acquisition comes from a company lamenting the loss of its founder.

On August 29, Verocel, Inc. of Westford MA issued a press release that that Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer George Romanski will be leaving the company effective September 15, 2017 to assume the prestigious and safety critical role of Federal Aviation Administration as Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor (CSTA) for Aircraft Computer Software. With his experience with his company, Romanski will be on top of industry’s technology developments, and identify techniques, standards, and research results that the FAA will apply in certificating aircraft systems which provide a high-level of assurance of human-rated software functioning.

CSTA is an executive level position established by FAA Order 8000.80A, a program which is intended to “build and maintain a cadre of specialized technical experts of worldwide reputation who:

  • are at the forefront of scientific and technological activities related to FAA research and development efforts;
  • influence the research agendas of U.S. and foreign aviation industries, military, academia, and other research institutions;
  • interact with and assist other U.S. Government agencies and foreign civil aviation authorities in technology-related issues.”

The new CSTA has been involved in software development for the past 45 years. His work has focused on compilers, cross compilers, run-time systems, and tools for embedded real-time applications. Since 1992, he has concentrated on software for safety critical applications and safety critical verification. Romanski at the FAA will bring experience in providing complete verification support, gap analysis, and support to augment existing materials, as well as expertise in independent testing services.

As the founder of his company, he insisted that he and his team stayed at the forefront of verification issues by chairing and belonging to a number of committees and standards bodies. He felt that this activity helped Verocel influence the constantly-evolving safety standards. Again, relevant to his CSTA future that work made him aware of proposed changes even before they are official.

Romanski’s participation in the following lined him up for the FAA’s new certification approach:

SC-205 (RTCA) – Software Considerations (DO-178C/DO-278A/DO-248C/DO-178C Supplements)

SC-190 (RTCA)– Application Guidelines for RTCA DO-178B/ED-12B (Software)

UCSWG (OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE)- Unmanned air systems, Control Segment, Working Group. Vice Chair – Safety and Security Certification Sub Group

FACE – Future Airborne Capability Environment

Streamlined Certification Processes working group

dorenda baker faa congress cstaThe FAA has established a new strategy for certification and Dorenda Baker has made it clear that collaboration with industry standard organizations, in particular ASTM and RTCA, will be essential to that initiative. Mr. Romanski’s resume makes him a perfect occupant of the CSTA for Aircraft Computer Software.

The FAA communications organization should adopt the philosophy espoused by the great PR man of the Gashouse Gang, Jerome Herman Dean (a/k/a Dizzy Dean, HOF 1953) when he said:

It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.

dizzy dean George Romanski


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