It may be of some comfort for readers of this blog to learn that Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors at the North Pole have certified Santa One, the reindeer-powered sleigh piloted by Santa Claus, for its Christmas Eve round-the-world delivery mission.
As it was last year, Santa One is equipped with NextGen technology, including advanced avionics in lead reindeer Rudolph's shiny red nose.
As FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said, “Santa’s upgraded cockpit display will help improve his situational awareness by showing him and his reindeer flight crew their precise location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain.”
So children around the world will get their gifts on time, regardless of the weather. We’re proud to say NextGen is bringing Santa Claus to town.
Santa also has secured special permission from the FAA to fly thousands of domestic and international short-haul and long-range flights in one night. But, when we met recently, Mrs. Claus assured me she’ll make sure that Santa gets plenty of rest before the flight on Christmas Eve and that his smartphone goes in the glove compartment. So we anticipate a safer-than-ever mission.
Once the sleigh is cleared for take-off, you can learn more about Santa and follow the progress of Santa One on NORAD's Santa Tracker. In the elves' village on NORAD's site, there are lots of activities for youngsters impatient to hear the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. And, if you prefer following the 2010 Santa One flight on social media, NORAD will also update the sleigh's flight details on Facebook and Twitter.
I want to thank the FAA's North Pole inspectors for certifying Santa's sleigh. And I want to thank Santa himself for once again taking on this important mission. (If you're reading this, Santa, we're publishing our year-end blog of DOT accomplishments later this week--I think you'll see we belong on the 'nice' list this year.)