Stimulating times of late for Town administrator

Beyond his duties as Town of Farragut’s top non-elected government official, Town administrator David Smoak has enjoyed quite a mix of success, family accomplishment and fascination in recent weeks.

As president of The Rotary Club of Farragut, Smoak was front-and-center during a Rotary year filled with club service goals attained and awards earned. That was celebrated Wednesday, June 28, at the end of his term.

Meanwhile, Justin Smoak, David’s brother, was voted by Major League Baseball fans nationwide as starting first baseman for the American League — based on impressive statistics so far this season as a Toronto Blue Jay — during MLB’s annual All-Star Game Tuesday evening, July 11.

As for fascination, Smoak got a first-hand look at Cirrus Aircraft “parachute planes” last month at McGhee Tyson Airport.

Simply put, if such a plane were to encounter severe engine trouble, for example, and was losing attitude fast, the parachute would deploy “and it lands you, hopefully, simply, down below,” Smoak said.

As for proof these Cirrus parachutes work, Smoak pointed out a YouTube video of a plane going down, which was owned “by one of the higher-ups at Walmart. A video of it. … He landed in a road He was able to survive it,” Smoak said.

Though modestly saying, “I’m not smart enough to fly a plane,” Smoak nevertheless said he soaked up information during his visit.

“They make them in Duluth, Minnesota,” Smoak said about Cirrus, adding McGhee Tyson/Knoxville “is their headquarters for sales and service.

“And they transport them here, and [McGhee Tyson] is where all the people go in order to fly their plane after it’s given to them. It’s like a two- or three-week process they have to go through to certify their plane,” he said. “… Anybody that buys an airplane is going to come here and they’re going to test-fly it and take off from here and fly it home.”

All Cirrus planes, regardless of style or engine size, “include the parachute,” Smoak added. “Propeller planes, turbo planes … four-seater, five-seater; then they have this jet, which is their big thing, it’s a seven-seater, and it can go 100 knots faster than the other planes.”