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Model-based approaches for control software architectures reduce risks and costs in the development process of embedded systems. They allow seeing the system-wide analysis impacts of architectural choices, and increases confidence through early verification/validation of the model assumptions. This representation technique is well suitable for a European project named “SmartFuel” which proposes a distributed control strategy for aircraft fuel systems. It is an embedded system with open architecture which allows aircraft-parts manufactures to develop their own commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) fuel components, i.e. networked mechatronic devices. Within the first SmartFuel phase, the verification and validation of the above avionics system has been successfully carried out through prototype-based simulations. The second project phase aims to develop models and tools to analyze, synthesize, and pre-verify/pre-validate by model simulation the avionics system architecture at early development stages. The results expected from the modeling (i.e. prediction of key system features and the automatic code generation for the COTS components) benefit to the development process. This paper presents a Model-Based Development Framework (MBDF) to deal with the avionics system specifications, and the creation of embedded system models. In addition, the experimental outcomes when the MBDF is applied to two case studies (helicopter and airplane fuel systems) are presented.