Air Force

May 9, 2014

Aircraft metals technology makes sparks fly

Tags:
Staff Sgt. LUTHER MITCHELL Jr.
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lucas, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight aircraft metals technology NCO in-charge, inspects landing gear components April 29 at Luke Air Force Base. Aircraft metals technology technicians inspect and service F-16 Fighting Falcon landing gear components every 72 months.

The diameter of a human eyelash is .05 millimeters. Aircraft metals technology technicians work with metals to build and repair aircraft components and tools, using powerful machines and working within measurements smaller than the diameter of the human eyelash.

“In aircraft metals technology, we have our hands in pretty much everything,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lucas, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight aircraft metals technology NCO in-charge. “If something is broken, requiring a measurement or a repair, metals technology is usually called. We have a saying here, ‘It’s not broke until we say it is.’”

Aircraft metal technicians fabricate, repair and make aircraft parts from scratch. They perform measurement inspections, remove stuck and broken hardware, as well as weld engine components and aerospace ground equipment.

“We do a lot of things here,” Lucas said. “We support not only the aircraft maintenance units, but other departments across the base, including the fire department and civil engineering. We are not just limited to aircraft work.”

On an average day, technicians will have anywhere from 18 to 19 jobs come into the shop. Sometimes the jobs are quick fixes. Other times they require extensive repairs, which require them to consult with engineers at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to acquire the blueprints and documentation needed to perform the job.

An ongoing project for aircraft metal technicians at Luke AFB is maintaining F-16 Fighting Falcon landing gear.

“We take out the landing gear every 72 months to change and inspect all the components,” Lucas said. “We perform measurement checks on all of the meeting points on the landing gear and replace the bushings.”

In-house repairs save the Air Force close to $6 million a year on landing gear alone, Lucas said.

Lucas receives landing gear every two weeks and repairs up to 30 a year. One landing gear takes two to three days to complete.
Technicians use milling machines, lathe machines, drill presses and hand tools to perform their job. With the help of computer aided design equipment, Airmen transfer designs into a machine that cuts the metal.

All repairs are governed by technical orders, however if there is a repair that is not governed in technical orders or someone needs a special tool, technicians create this from scratch.

“We are the magicians who make whatever you need when something goes wrong and it seems like nothing can be done,” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Ehnis, 56th EMS Fabrication Flight aircraft metals technology craftsman. “If there is a job that is difficult to reach with a wrench, we will take that wrench and bend it, to give better access to it.”

Aircraft medals technology maintains the serviceability of AGE equipment and support stands. Airmen weld cracks, support braces and fabricate gates on base.

The variety of work never makes for a dull day.

“I love everything about my job,” Ehnis said. “I have the best job in the Air Force. I get to come in every day, and it is never the same thing.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Lightning II debrief …

Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Senior Airman Roger Combs, 61st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, downloads information from an F-35 Lightning II engine at Luke Air Force Base. Since 2010, more than 1,800 maintainers have been trained on the F-35. The first production F-35A rolled out of assembly in February 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas. Later...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Commons provides ‘crib’ for Airmen

Courtesy graphic The Community Commons concept design. Renovation has begun and will be completed in May 2016. The Luke Air Force Base Community Center, Bldg. 700, where the 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Wellness Center resi...
 
 

How do you stack up?

With upcoming changes to the enlisted performance report and Air Force promotion system, it’s important to understand how you stack up against your peers, not only within your job, but within your unit as well. The days of receiving time in grade and time in service points are numbered. They are being replaced with a...
 

 

CCAF offers jump on education

The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 to recognize academic achievements for technical training by Air Force schools. It awards an associate in applied science degree to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command who have completed the course work. Degree programs are...
 
 
Johnny Saldivar

Roberson takes command of AETC

Johnny Saldivar Lt. Gen Darryl Roberson, Air Education and Training Command commander, speaks during the AETC change of command ceremony Tuesday at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Roberson is a command pilot who has mor...
 
 
4_150710-F-NQ441-5x7-036

Salutes and Awards

FWSA announce awards The following individuals are quarterly awards winners: 56th Fighter Wing Staff Agencies Airman: Senior Airman Leanne Mathews NCO: Staff Sgt. Natalie Nelson Senior NCO: Master Sgt. Deanna Commack Company gr...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>