THUNDER BAY – Santa Claus has cleared all pre-flight checks and has started his annual journey. Christmas season has the Transport Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Royal Canadian Air Force moving in lock-step with NORAD to ensure that Santa Claus has a safe journey through Canadian Airspace on his flight around the world to deliver presents to young people. Transport Canada has announced that Santa Claus has passed his annual flight check physical with flying colours.
As of 07:00 EST this morning, Santa has delivered almost 300,000,000 million presents. Remember for half of the world, it is already Christmas Day, even though in North America it is still early in the morning as this report was published.
Tracking Map for Santa Claus
As of today all of Santa’s paperwork has been approved, his cargo has been checked, loaded and balanced, and his flight plan has been filed. Santa Claus and his reindeer are expected to leave the North Pole on time and with all toys on board.
Transport Canada shares, “Like every good pilot, Santa underwent an annual physical required for all pilots who want to get and keep their license. Despite his notorious sweet tooth and hectic schedule, we are pleased to say that he passed with flying colours”.
[pullquote] During his annual flight tests Santa once again wowed Transport Canada with his keen ability [/pullquote]
While Mrs. Claus was confident Santa would pass, some of his elves were a little more concerned. One anonymous elf went so far as to email us this morning to say, “Sure he does his exercises – he even makes us do them with him – but he also sneaks cookies and candies behind Mrs. Claus’ back,” the elf reported. “We were really worried he wasn’t going to pass his physical this year but all his sit-ups and early morning jogs around the North Pole have kept him in top shape!”
During his annual flight tests Santa once again wowed Transport Canada with his keen ability gained through years of flying in the worst possible weather conditions! The pilot with him on his check ride was even heard to be asking Santa for his tips and tricks for take-offs and landings in urban centres and flying in whiteout conditions, so that he could pass them along to all his pilot friends.
Earlier this month one lucky inspector got to travel to Santa’s secret North Pole facility to conduct an inspection of Santa’s operation, including everything from his training records to the landing gear of his sleigh. The inspector also reminded Santa of how important it is to rest before flying and to complete all his pre-flight checks (including looking for ice build-ups, checking that Rudolph’s nose is shining bright and making sure any elves onboard are informed about safety procedures).
Finally, just this morning, Santa passed his final pre-flight take off inspection and his great gift bag full of presents for boys and girls was checked using the latest screening technology to make sure it was safe, secure and ready for delivery.
e Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region is set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada, and has selected four CF-18 fighter pilots who will act as Santa’s official escorts.
They are: Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel McLeod, Captain Shamus Allen, Major Benoit Bouchard, and Captain Vincent Landry.
Major Bouchard, and Captain Landry of the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 3 Wing, Bagotville, Quebec, will conduct the first escort duties to welcome Santa into Canada and, at the east-west centre-point of Canada, near the Ontario-Manitoba border, switch over escort duties to Lieutenant-Colonel McLeod and Captain Allen of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta, as Santa makes his way into Western Canada.
Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children worldwide on the NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, on December 24. All related information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.
As it has done since 1955, the Canadian Air Defence Sector Operations Centre at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario, will alert NORAD when their radar and satellite systems detect Santa approaching North America. Two CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from 3 Wing will welcome Santa as he enters Canadian airspace off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. As Santa flies across Canada from east to west, two CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing will escort Santa through Canadian airspace so that he may safely conduct his Christmas voyage.
On December 24, children can also receive updates on Santa’s Christmas Eve journey by calling the traditional “NORAD Tracks Santa” telephone hotline at 1-877-HI NORAD (1-877-446-6723), or by emailing NORAD at email@example.com. In 2011, the NORAD Tracks Santa website received over 18.9 million unique visitors from 220 countries and territories around the world. NORAD Tracks Santa Facebook page neared 1 million followers, and over 101,000 people followed Santa on Twitter. On Christmas Eve alone, NORAD “Santa Trackers” answered more than 102,000 telephone calls and answered 7,721 emails over a 25 hour period.