Back to Digital Guide Home

Digital Airworthiness Team

One of the goals of the former DAF Digital Transformation Office (DTO) was to analyze the processes required by the Department of the Air Force to evaluate which processes can be improved upon.  The enhancement of the Airworthiness Certification process was assessed as a key enabler to field technologies faster than our adversaries, however, no single organization has the resources or authority to overhaul the Airworthiness process, and no overarching construct exists for coordinating, communicating, or prioritizing disparate efforts to do so.  To solve these issues, the Digital Airworthiness Team was founded as a functional team working within the DTO. 

The Charter for the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) & the Airworthiness Management Steering Group (AMSG), defines the roles and responsibilities of the Digital Airworthiness Team, which is responsible for consolidating communications and advising team sponsors on planning, road mapping, prioritizing efforts, investment coordination and technology/process transitions, all for the benefit of achieving digital advancements in DAF airworthiness.  This charter outlines an agreement amongst the team and its sponsors concerning membership, responsibilities, resources, products, and associated working groups.  To read the charter in detail, click here

The Digital Airworthiness Team Communication Plan defines the mechanisms to support team strategic communication with outside stakeholders, serving as a guide for the dissemination of consistent information, as well as describing the messages, target audience, methods, and timing of the communication.  The plan describes in detail, the team’s objectives to ensure that Stakeholders receive a complete, clear, and accurate explanation of both the Digital AW Team’s purpose and progress.  The plan also addresses critical factors that should be considered, before the communication process begins, along with basic attributes that will determine the effectiveness of the message, resulting in an environment that encourages information sharing and open dialogue to foster cooperation.  Click here to review the Communication Plan.

The Aircraft Airworthiness & sustainment Conference (AA&S) brief outlines the objectives of the Digital AW Team as of August 2021 and also features the Vision and Goals of the Digital Transformation Office.  This brief describes the need for establishing an Digital Airworthiness Team, and the approach that the team is implementing which includes contracts with Airworthiness SME’s, previous/current success stories and lessons learned from digital transformation activities, as well as details on the Airworthiness Charter and Communication Plan.  It also displays the Initial Milestones, and discovered preliminary challenges from the DOE/CE/Data, Home and Program Office Groups.  All core team members and contracted SMEs are listed on slide 14.  Click here to view the AA&S brief.


What is the Digital Airworthiness Team & why do they exist?

The Digital Airworthiness Team is a mechanism to:

        •Coordinate and communicate ongoing activities

        •Provide strategic vision/direction on the implementation of digital methods, processes, and tools, and

        •Provide prioritized recommendations on current and future efforts

The need for a Digital Airworthiness Team

        •The Team was established to explore overlap between the Digital and Airworthiness communities

        •Contracts made with Airworthiness SMEs to gather and synthesize information regarding airworthiness policy, standards, and guidance            •The intent is to embrace agile development principles – start small, learn fast, customer engagement, create MVPs, etc.

        •The plan is to identify common challenges and strategic opportunities to address pervasive needs, and then prioritize with AMSG

        •Methodical, facilitated approach…

Digital technologies and practices are changing the landscape – There is a need to stay in sync across the DAF and with industry partners

Digital Transformation enables enhanced decision-making

    •Right data, to the right people, at the right time

    •Effective collaboration

    •Speed with rigor, efficiency gains (“automation”)

    •Must understand uncertainty & risks

Governance & Current Status of the Team

Facilitated stakeholder-specific workshops have been held across the AF and industry

    •EN-EZ & AW Offices    •Program Offices


    •Non-standard (e.g. AFRL, AFTC, AFWERX, etc.)


Focus of the Workshops

     •Identify the current challenges for AW success and any impediments to be addressed

     •Prioritize areas of attention

Workshop Results & Reporting

      •Government Stakeholder and Industry workshop results are under review

      •Will circle back with Government Stakeholders and Industry to confirm results

      •Distribute finalized reports to solicit feedback from FMS counterparts

Digital AW Workshops and Roadmap


In 2021 and 2022, the Digital Airworthiness Core team held 4 rounds of workshops to gather ideas from 80+ participants across 5 diverse stakeholder groups:

  • System Program Offices (SPOs)
  • Airworthiness Home office (AFLCMC/EN-EZ)
  • CE / DOE Designated Technical Authorities (DTAs)
  • Industry (limited audience/scope)

These workshops were focused on answering two questions for Digital Airworthiness, “Dreaming” on an ideal state of Digital Airworthiness and the “How To” of realistic initiatives regarding Digital Airworthiness.  These ideas were collected, distilled, and eventually led to the creation of the Digital Airworthiness Roadmap, which can be found here.

At AA&S 2022, the Digital Airworthiness Roadmap was rolled out to both Government and Industry participants for feedback.  This venue allows for candid responses to the roadmap and to incorporate needed changes to the roadmap.  

There were 140+ participants from USAF/Academia/Other government agencies/industry respond for 6 short-term working groups.

Digital AW Working Groups and Progress


As noted, there were 6 working groups formed from the creation of the Digital Airworthiness Road map.  Those working groups are:

  • Airworthiness Certification Tool (ACT) Enhancements
  • Standard Airworthiness Toolbox
  • Who’s Doing What in Digital Airworthiness?
  • Digital Airworthiness Policy and Process Improvements
  • Auto Certification Basis (CB)
  • Digital 516

A brief synopsis of each Working group is below and lists the overall goals of the working groups.  ​​​​​​​Each working group has their own charter and Plan Of Actions & Milestones (POAM) and is currently working through workshops that will help each group translate the roadmap vision to tactical level, everyday tasks.

ACT Enhancements

  • Validation of hyperlinking documents to projects in ACT
  • Fix/update process for uploading artifacts
  • Mandating of hyperlinks
  • Automatic artifact library linkages to CR
  • Develop snapshot view for PO for faster/more efficient review of criteria

Who’s doing what in Digital AW?

  • Look at various groups across the Airworthiness Community and see what’s currently out there
  • Sister Services / SPO’s / Industry / Test and Evaluation / AFRL / Other Agencies (FAA, NASA, etc.)
  • Each group has an “off-ramp” for identifying tech transfers to the AW community
  • While gathering data, look at gaps/workforce capabilities or skills in need
  • Split into Internally Focused / Externally Focused Working Groups

Auto CB

  • Automated CB is to assist generation of a CB for both applicable criteria and tailored MOCs (properly scoped and recognized alternatives), based on the system/modification description
  • Persona Gathering / Requirements
  • Develop Tool Acquisition Strategy
  • Sprints / Agile Development
  • Tool Deployment (Minimum Viable Product)

Standard AW toolbox

  • Training/Re-rollout of AW tools that are currently available (ACT, C- 130 tool, etc.)
  • Define optimal tools (inputs from “Who’s Doing What for Digital AW” and “Automated CB” working  groups)
  • Identify Tool Gaps
  • Identify long term research/development
  • Develop Standard Airworthiness toolbox (to address short-term gaps)
  • Deploy Standard AW toolbox (to address short-term gaps)
  • Split into Short-Term / Long-Term Working Groups

Digital AW Policy and Process Improvements

  • Complete a best practices sprint with a cross-cutting team to look for efficiency gains across the community
  • Verify user input for process improvements
  • Use case story and persona gathering
  • Value stream map the AW process
  • Provide a report out of recommendations to Air Force Instructions/Policies/Directives
  • Implement policy improvements

Digital 516

  • MIL-HDBK-516C enhancements
  • Lists of common queries for MIL-HDBK-516
  • Digital Methods of Compliance (start researching how this might work in the future)
  • MIL-HDBK-516D Digital Construct in a model
  • Start to develop a Data Model for AW relationships based on MIL- HDBK-516D construct
  • Split into 516C / 516D Working Groups

Core Team & Contracted SMEs

Core Team Members:

         •Mr. Noah Demerly, HQ AFMC/ENSZ (Automation Lead)

         •Mr. Joeseph Baker, AFLCMC/EZZ (Deputy TAA)

         •Dr. Pam Kobryn, AFRL/RQS (AFRL Digital SME)

         •Mr. Stephen Falcone, AFLCMC/HB (Director of Engineering)

         •Ms. Stephanie Lohn, AFLCMC/WAQ (Lead Flight Sys Engineer)

         •Ms. Alicia Janszen, AFLCMC/EZZ (AW Technical Expert)

         •Dr. Matthew Dillsaver, AFLCMC/EZZ (UAS Technical Expert)

         •Ms. Rachel Sharp, AFRL/EZZ (AW SME)

  • Mr. Michael Larson AFLCMC/WAQ (Chief Engineer)
  • Mr. David Diaz, HQ AFMC/ENSZ (Chief Architect)
  • Dr. Steven Turek, HQ AFMC/ENSZ (Technical Lead)


        •Dr. Rollie Dutton

Dayton Aero SMEs:

         •Ms. Dawn McGarvey-Buchwalder

         •Ms. Betty Rodriguez

         •Mr. Bob Stanton

Wright Brother’s Institute (WBI)

  • Mr. Tim Strange