PMEL Calibrates on a Standard Level

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota

Airman 1st Class Jordan Barker, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician, and Tech. Sgt. Miguel Ruiz, 56th CMS noncommissioned officer-in-charge of production control, simulate a test measurement diagnostic equipment procedure Jan. 24, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The TMDE is used to create a job control number which is the beginning stages of getting an item recalibrated.

When performing maintenance on essential military equipment, the precision and accuracy of the testing tool is crucial.

The Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory examines these testing tools regularly to ensure a set standard.

“PMEL is responsible for the accuracy of approximately 6,300 pieces of test equipment here at Luke Air Force Base,” said Tech. Sgt. Edward Moore, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron PMEL section chief. “The PMEL program had its formal establishment in the late 50’s after Air Force units noticed a dramatic increase in failed aircraft launches. An audit of the failed launches revealed errors such as inaccurate pressure gauges.”

The Air Force recognized the need to re-evaluate the calibration requirements for systems and in 1958, AF Regulation 74-2 was publicized. AFR 74-2 outlined policies and assigned responsibilities for managing the Air Force Metrology and Calibration (AFMETCAL) Program which included the official establishment of PMEL. It is AFMETCAL’s responsibility to ensure that PMEL organizations have the policies and tools necessary to do the job.

Senior Airman Daniel Bergin, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician, calibrates an air speed altitude tester Jan. 24, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The tester is used for the F-16 fighting falcon to simulate air speed and altitude for the aircraft to ensure the instrument on the aircraft is reading at the correct levels.

“In the past, test equipment was sent to the Dayton Air Force Depot to be calibrated,” Moore said. “But today, we have over 70 PMELs Air Force-wide specializing in different measurement capabilities.”

One of these PMELs is located here at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

“Luke’s PMEL shop is broken down into four sections” said Airman 1st Class Jordan Barker, 56th CMS PMEL technician. “They are; Electrical Standards Section, The Waveform Generation/Power Measurement Section, the Physical Dimensional Section and the Test Sets Section.”

Test equipment used for mission requirements is transferred from the operational side to one or more of these specialized sections for maintenance or recalibration.

Luke’s PMEL supports 107 different on-and-off base agencies in the continental U.S.

“There’s no room for error,” Moore said. “We are human and things happen, but we have checks and balances in place to ensure we are as close to perfect as humanly possible.”
 

Senior Airman Donald Area, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician, lifts class 1 weights with prongs for a simulated weight measurement Jan. 24, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The high accuracy weights are used to calibrate high accuracy scales.

 

Senior Airman Donald Area, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician, cleans gauge blocks with ethyl alcohol Jan. 24, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The gauge blocks are used to calibrate micrometers for fabrication flight spacing or depth measurements on an aircraft.

 

Senior Airman Robert Huber, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician, calibrates a navigation communication tester Jan. 24, 2017, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The tester simulates aircraft landing approach communications.