News Search


PMEL vital to AF mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Grace Lee
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
To begin training the world's greatest F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter pilots here at Luke, working jets are necessary. To have jets that work, Airmen who are maintenance and repair experts are needed to take care of the jets. Airmen who fix the jets need tools that are in working order, and that's where precision measurement equipment laboratory Airmen step in.

"We calibrate equipment for just about everyone on base, not just for maintenance," said Tech. Sgt. Javario Mathis, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron PMEL section chief. "Basically, if the job takes any type of quantitative measurement or reading, they usually have equipment that's calibrated by us. For example, when you go stand on the scale for your physical fitness test, you know that number is accurate because we calibrated that scale."

The types of tools PMEL calibrates include those that work in the areas of fuel flow, air flow, pressure, torque, force and voltage, Mathis said.

PMEL Airmen also calibrate torque wrenches, pressure gauges, weights, as well as the scales Office of Special Investigations uses to weigh evidence.

To ensure all equipment is calibrated efficiently, PMEL has three primary sections.

"The first section is the physical dimensional section, which does measurements including linear, pressure, torque, force and optics measurements," Mathis said.

"The second is the direct current and low frequency section, which deals with voltage, current or electricity. The last is the wave-form analysis and signal generation section, which handles anything that creates or measures a signal."

PMEL Airmen have many tools or "standards" they use to ensure everything is accurately calibrated.

"The standards we use are four times more accurate than our customer's equipment," Mathis said. "Our standards are also traceable back to the Air Force Primary Standards Laboratory and to the National Institute of Standards and Technology."

Without PMEL the Air Force mission could not go on.

"Say maintainers are pressurizing the tires on an F-35 to make sure they're inflated properly, if the pressure gauge they're using isn't calibrated correctly, it can cause the tire to be overinflated which can cause blowouts," said Senior Airman Jacob Gagnon, 56th CMS PMEL journeyman. "We are vital to the Air Force mission because we impact almost every type of equipment that is used to get the mission done."