“Illegitimi Non Carborundum”
Last Updated: 11/23/2017  08:25


USAF Metrology, Metrologists, and Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratories (PMEL) USAF Metrologists use state-of-the art measurement principals to maintain the accuracy of their PMEL Laboratory Standards traceable to NIST (formerly The National Bureau of Standards) by regular comparisons to NIST primary standards. Their Laboratory Standards are in turn used to transfer accuracy to virtually all customer test/measurement equipment. Standards maintained, but are not limited to; physical/dimensional measurements (pressure, weight, size, temperature), voltage/current, microwave and radio signals, time, frequency, and radiation. The PMEL customer then uses their calibrated and certified test equipment/devices to measure and transfer accuracies to their mission specific equipment and systems. There are PMEL’s located at hundreds of military bases around the world. By maintaining Standards with accuracies traceable to NIST, USAF Metrologists assure the accuracies of virtually all test and measurement equipment used in all Air Force operations.  PMEL’s also repair and maintain customer’s test equipment as required. Equipment brought to a PMEL is calibrated by comparing its performance, the “unknown”, to “known” laboratory standard values. If necessary, the equipment is adjusted/repaired to comply with its specifications as listed in a Technical Order (TO). If needed, charts are prepared showing corrections/errors to measured results for customer use. Equipment passing calibrations/adjustments will receive the Metrology Technician’s seal of approval in the form of an imprint
of   their   personal   “K-Stamp”   on   the   Status   form   attached   to   the equipment.    When    unable    to    adjust    equipment    measurement results   to   meet   specifications,   the   equipment   is   returned   to   the customer   with   a   red   tag   indicating   the   equipment   could   not   be restored to its stated specifications and is no longer usable. PMEL’s   were   once   staffed   by   select   enlisted   USAF   personnel   who passed   the   rigorous   PMEL   entrance   exam   by   achieving   a   raw score    of    90    or    better.    These    selected    individuals    would    then attend   Metrology   Training   located   at   Lowry   AFB,   CO.      Course length   varied   over   the   years   from   its   original   18   weeks   to   46 weeks   in   1968,   returning   to   32   weeks   in   1972.   The   original   PMEL students   had   to   have   attained   the   rank   of   at   least   E3   and   have   at least   three   years   left   on   their   current   enlistment.      In   this   way,   a PMEL    lab    would    consist    of    individuals    possessing    not    only common   Metrology   skills,   but   also   skills   from   their   originating career    fields    thus    enabling    PMEL’s    to    provide    maintenance assistance to any USAF maintenance activity. While   other   branches   of   service   defined   and   implemented   their own   requirements   for   maintenance   and   calibration   services,   the focus   of   this   website   is   from   an   Air   Force   perspective.   The   USAF’s active    involvement    and    close    association    with    NIST ,    working      through   the   Aerospace   Guidance   and   Metrology      Center   (AGMC) in   Ohio,   has   been   instrumental   in   the   evolution   of   the   art   and ( Continued )