Fabrication Flight: handling the intricate things

Senior Airman Rachel White, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron metals technology journeyman, uses a plasma cutter on a piece of scrap metal at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. Metals technology technicians work mostly on aerospace ground equipment and case by case equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Senior Airman Rachel White, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron metals technology journeyman, uses a plasma cutter on a piece of scrap metal at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. Metals technology technicians work mostly on aerospace ground equipment and case by case equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Senior Airman Cody Reynolds, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection apprentice, inspects A frames from an F-16 Fighting Falcon under a black light at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The A frames were put through wet fluorescents and dipped inside penetrants prior to black light viewing. The penetrants cause a capillary action when there are cracks present in parts and become visible under black light viewing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Senior Airman Cody Reynolds, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection apprentice, inspects A frames from an F-16 Fighting Falcon under a black light at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The A frames were put through wet fluorescents and dipped inside penetrants prior to black light viewing. The penetrants cause a capillary action when there are cracks present in parts and become visible under black light viewing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Staff Sgt. Eric Olson, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, works with Airman 1st Class Joshua Perry, 56th EMS aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, to copy a blueprint onto a sheet of metal at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Staff Sgt. Eric Olson, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, works with Airman 1st Class Joshua Perry, 56th EMS aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, to copy a blueprint onto a sheet of metal at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Airman 1st Class Adriana Van Wyk, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection technician, performs an eddy current test on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The test checks for problems that may compromise the aircrafts structural integrity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Airman 1st Class Adriana Van Wyk, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection technician, performs an eddy current test on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The test checks for problems that may compromise the aircrafts structural integrity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Airman 1st Class Bernard Moskalis, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection technician, performs a florescent penetrant inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon engine sink ring at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Airman 1st Class Bernard Moskalis, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection technician, performs a florescent penetrant inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon engine sink ring at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Craig Trujillo, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron civilian machinist, modifies a hydraulic test stand part at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The part is for a Singaporean hydraulic test stand which needed to be converted from metric to U.S. customary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Craig Trujillo, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron civilian machinist, modifies a hydraulic test stand part at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2015. The part is for a Singaporean hydraulic test stand which needed to be converted from metric to U.S. customary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Senior Airman Joshua Rose, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron low observable aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, inspects a low observable dispatch box at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 2, 2015. Dispatch boxes need to be inspected prior to signing them out for use and upon return to keep track of equipment and ensure cleanliness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

Senior Airman Joshua Rose, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron low observable aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, inspects a low observable dispatch box at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 2, 2015. Dispatch boxes need to be inspected prior to signing them out for use and upon return to keep track of equipment and ensure cleanliness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Hensley)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The Fabrication flight in the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron handles precise structural repair and inspection for aircraft and support equipment.

"For all the F-16s and F-35s at Luke, we provide the back shop fabrication, inspection and repair for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on the flight line and off," said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Leonard, 56th EMS low observable superintendent. "We perform nondestructive inspection, structural and composite repair, and corrosion control and prevention which covers both removal and application of organic coatings to aircraft and component parts."

Airmen in the fabrication flight handle repairs and inspections on fighter squadron jets the aircraft maintenance units can't normally do themselves.

"We have some form of interaction with all aircraft on base," Leonard said. "To distinguish us from the other maintenance units on base, the AMUs are responsible for daily maintenance, parts replacement and servicing to make the aircraft ready to fly. They are responsible for a smaller number of aircraft while we provide support for all aircraft at Luke. While there are multiple AMUs that do maintenance themselves, there is only one fabrication flight on base that supports all aircraft." 

Of the four sections in fabrication flight, nondestructive inspection supports the rest of the sections by detecting damages in aircraft parts. They also respond to the flightline to test aircraft for structural integrity. The metals technology, structural maintenance and low observable sections are primarily focused on manufacture and repair of aircraft and equipment.

"We perform repairs and inspections, check structural integrity and fabricate parts," said Tech. Sgt. Duane Coley, 56th EMS production supervisor. "We create critical parts for aircraft and do repairs and jobs that help save man hours, thus creating more time for air availability of aircraft. We save time and money by doing repairs locally instead of having to send aircraft or parts out or hiring a civilian contractor. Everything we do in the fabrication flight keeps aircraft flying at Luke."