I am coming up on three years working at Hoyle Tanner as an Airport Engineer. During my time here, my experience has been focused on airport engineering design and construction inspection. So far, I have assisted in the development and design of various airport improvement projects and have had the opportunity to travel to airports all across New England to see these projects come to life.

Newly installed PAPIs at Tweed-New Haven Airport has been part of Chris Mellen's experience as an airport engineer at Hoyle Tanner
Newly installed PAPIs at Tweed-New Haven Airport

One of the first construction projects I worked on was the “PAPI Job” at Tweed-New Haven Airport in New Haven, Connecticut. This project included relocating the existing Runway 20 threshold markings along with runway lighting and installing a new Federal Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) visual landing aid system.

This project began the construction phase in summer 2020 to take advantage of the slowdown in airtraffic caused by COVID. Since this was one of my first times working as a Resident Project Representative, it was a huge learning experience for me. I learned the high importance of airfield safety as well as the value of proper coordination between the Contractor, Airport Operations, and the Resident Project Representative. This coordination allows for continued operations while still maintaining safety for the construction crew. The process of relocating a runway threshold – which included new pavement markings, lighting, and the switching over to a new visual approach system – required thoughtful planning and flexibility from all parties. Our goal was to minimize the impact on airport operations by keeping the runway open throughout the entire construction phase. This was accomplished by scheduling work around flights and working nights when we needed to complete certain tasks that required our equipment and personnel out on the runway.

Following the completion of the required flight check by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the project resumed in September 2022, and we were able to schedule the remaining work with the Airport and the Contractor. It brought a great sense of gratification to see this project from beginning to end and knowing the Airport was happy with the final product. Also, it was very rewarding to apply everything I learned from the previous construction seasons (2021 and 2022) where I worked as the Resident Project Representative for projects in Morrisville-Stowe, Vermont; Jackman, Maine; and Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

Currently, I am working on the design for the Reconstruction of the Terminal Apron and new Taxilane at Oxford County Regional Airport which is a very exciting project; the new Taxilane will lead to five new sets of nested T-Hangars and a new box hangar, a much-needed expansion for the Airport. I am at the point in my career where I am trying to gain as much experience as possible, whether it’s working in the office on design or in the field as an Inspector. Understanding that every project is unique and comes with its own set of challenges, I am happy to be part of the talented team that provides our clients with the needed solutions.

*It’s Hoyle Tanner’s 50th anniversary this year! Keep an eye on our FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter feeds for articles and anniversary news!