EPIC securely connects non-Federal AWOS systems to the FAA Network Enterprise Management Center (NEMC), to allow real time distribution of weather data, not previously available, to pilots and ATC for the sole purpose of making flying safer. EPIC started out in 2004 as pilot program to test the validity of integrating non-federal AWOS data into the FAA’s weather data network.
When the FAA announced their plans to replace the NADIN with the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI), DSI started pursuing an approved connection directly through the FAA’s NEMC. The DSI solution links each Airport’s AWOS system directly to our centralized data center using a secure encrypted link via an Internet connection. From there, the data is validated, formatted and sent through one of our redundant encrypted links to one of the FAA’s secure NEMC servers where it is again validated and then distributed to the various consumers. The diagram in Figure 3 below shows a simplified architecture and basic flow of AWOS data going from an airport’s AWOS box to the pilots and other weather consumers.
EPIC is based upon proven, commercially available standards for securely transmitting data by using existing hardware solutions available in the market today. The architecture allows for automatic notification to DSI at two stages in the transmittal process. This automatic notification will occur in the form of an email directed to our help desk.
The Enhanced Pilot Information Center (EPIC) was born out of the NASA Small Aircraft Transportation System Program. DSI developed EPIC in cooperation with the Maryland SATS Lab in partnership with the University Research Foundation and The Maryland Aviation Administration. Through this cooperative agreement with the MD SATS Lab and the MAA, the FAA was able to provide conditional use of EPIC. In 2006 the FAA granted research and development approval to DSI to deliver its innovative secure AWOS-3 weather delivery system to WMSCR (Weather Message Switching Center Replacement System). WMSCR collects, processes, stores, and disseminates textual aviation weather products and NOTAM information between NAS systems, the airlines, and commercial users 24 hours every day. The accurate, reliable, and continuous delivery of these messages is the core of WMSCR’s mission and essential for aviation safety. In 2011 the FAA granted final system/network acceptance and approval to DSI for EPIC. In July 2014 the FAA provide approval for a Redundant/Backup EPIC Server Site located at the URS facility in MD. This site operationally mirrors our NOC at DSI and provides automatic system failover in the event of any network connectivity interruptions to DSI.