I know, this seems a 'crazy' question, but someone knows which operating system is used for airplanes ? Thanks

  • 3
    The correct answer is 'Yes'. Really the question is too broad. It is unlikely that one OS is used for every computer on every plane. I would expect that each manufacturer writes their own anyway.
    – EBGreen
    Jun 4, 2012 at 19:45
  • Any current operating system could be used, and yes I also mean 'mobile' operating systems like Android. It is entirely at the whim of the manufacturer of the device that particular airline chose. As such I am voting to close as it is unanswerable.
    – Mokubai
    Jun 4, 2012 at 19:49
  • I suspect that some of the less important computers (e.g., food-cart ordering, even reservations) can/will use commercial operating systems like Windows. However critical systems like safety, navigation, communications, etc. will almost certainly use either a proprietary OS or one that is a heavily customized version of an industrial OS (e.g., one from VXWorks). For example, the Stuxnet virus was made to target the Siemens software running Iran's (assumed) nuclear plants.
    – Synetech
    Jun 4, 2012 at 20:02
  • 1
    I know Linux is use for the entertainment system for several airlines.
    – Zoredache
    Jun 4, 2012 at 23:49
  • 1
    This could have been migrated to Software Engineering, but a similar question has now been asked and answered there.
    – Mark Hurd
    Jun 20, 2012 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


Disclaimer: I gathered this information purely from google/wikipedia, I can't judge if it is actually correct but should get you started.

According to this document by Green Hills Software the FAA requires software on airplanes to pass the DO-178B, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification.

The Integrity operating system developed by that same company is apparently certified as such.

Off course most of this information is either from the company that sells this particular OS or from wikipedia. Use with care.



In the military such operating systems of course are not revealed to the public. In other applications, they are likely proprietary or closed source, and its details are not revealed to the public.

The essential characteristics of such an operating system, however, are described in the link above.


Since my work has me actually touching avionics and reading the specs, it depends on the device and the manufacturer.

This is one of those "Which metal is used to manufacture a car?" questions where the questioner thinks only Iron or Aluminum is the answer. Without specificity to device and manufacturer, no answer is possible except maybe "All of the ones used."


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