Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arrival

We moved from the Washington, DC, area to our new home in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's a completely new environment, new home, new airport, new geology. Instead of the Chesapeake Bay and Blue Ridge Mountains, it's the Tennessee River, innumerable lakes, and the much-higher Smoky Mountains.
The sprawling metropolis of DC has been traded for a city less than one-tenth its size, and my commute went from about two hours a day to ten minutes. I spent the first month in my new office staring out the windows, at the Smoky Mountains in the distance and the Tennessee River in the foreground.
When I look upriver, I can see my new airport. The Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (KDKX) is on an island in the middle of the Tennessee River. Airplanes taking off on Runway 26 climb out over the river toward my office.
All of this made it very hard to "suffer" through the long period of time I was waiting for the Tiger to be fixed and delivered. I had delivered the Tiger to Hortman Aviation on December 1st, and it wasn't until January 10th that it was finally delivered and available for me to fly again.
On that day, it was beautiful, clear, and calm. The Tiger had been delivered the day before, and I was dying to get in the air. I left work early and headed to the airport, calling ahead to have the airplane pulled out for me (more on that later).
I taxied the airplane over to the self-serve fuel pumps and filled it up, pausing to take a picture of the city skyline. The middle of the three tall buildings in this photo, the second-tallest one, is where my office is located.
I took off and headed southeast to fly around and "get the feel" of the airplane again. It was sweet. It felt like I hadn't lost anything in six weeks of being ground-bound.
Then I headed back and started doing touch-and-gos. As the Tiger climbed up toward the west after one touchdown, I caught the sun just as it was setting.
The Smokies faded with the light as I continued around the pattern.
The sight of the Knoxville skyline reflecting the sunset caught my breath as I climbed out once again over the glassy Tennessee River.
A few more landings later, the Tiger and I felt firmly reunited. I called the FBO to put the Tiger away and slowly drive the half-mile to our new home.

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