Center Snapshot - Cecil Mellanson
Image above: Cecil Mellanson works in the Hangar, performing maintenance on the aircraft as an airframes and powerplants technician. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.
By: Denise Adams
Cecil Mellanson has 10 brothers and sisters, three children and eight grandchildren.
He was born in St. John’s Antigua in the West Indies, where he grew up on Montpellier Estate and worked on a sugar farm. His mother still resides there.
“My mom’s 80th birthday is coming up,” he said. “All 10 (surviving) children are going to see her.”
Their reunion will be missing two people, his father and one of Mellanson's brothers, who have passed away.
After deciding to leave the West Indies in 1968, Mellanson went to New York, where he lived and worked as an automotive mechanic for one year. Then he joined the Army. He served three years in the U.S. Army and 23 years in the U.S. Navy.
While in the military, Mellanson visited Kingsloss, Scotland. He was there to do exercises with the British Air Force. “I really liked the people there and the countryside,” he said.
For the last eight years, Mellanson has been working in NASA Langley’s Hangar as an airframes and powerplants (A&P) technician.
Since working at NASA Langley, Mellanson received his private pilot’s license.
He hopes to get his license to fly a multi-engine aircraft.
Mellanson makes local flights out of Patrick Henry Airport, where he used to work in A&P mechanics.
In the Hangar, he works on a KingAir, a Cessna, an SR22 Cirrus, a Columbia 300 and an OV-10.
Mellanson was always fascinated with flight. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, [become a pilot] even as a child, and now that the kids are grown, I do it,” he said.
He has two daughters. One is a teacher and the other is a prison guard. His only son serves in the Army.
Mellanson enjoys living in Virginia. “After living in New York, Virginia is a much more relaxed place,” he said.
Mellanson is living his childhood dream. And soon, he will return to visit his mother in the West Indies, where his dream began.
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