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Flight Command News

News to Know

Test Flights
Santa’s Sleigh Heading to the South Pacific

After about a week in South America Santa’s sleigh is now going to head west over the Pacific on its way to New Zealand and Australia. Officials in North Pole Flight Command are not yet ready to say how long the sleigh will fly there.

We still have not learned much about the test flights conducted in South America. They were explained to us as “routine” but the details of those flights remain classified. We also note that Santa was here last week and actually flew the sleigh himself. That is the first time he has flown the sleigh this year and the first time in many, many years that he has piloted the sleigh in a test situation. This is not work that Santa normally does.

Santa seemed to be pleased with the sleigh. He didn’t say much and he left very quietly without saying goodbye to most of us. We assume he has returned to the North Pole.

The absence of more reindeer is not going unnoticed with the test flight teams. They have plenty of reindeer to do the test flights. They are concerned because Santa’s regular reindeer are usually participating in test flights at this time of the year as part of their conditioning to get ready for Christmas.

They have not returned yet to the North Pole and as such cannot yet be added to the flight rotation. Elves here are starting to talk.

Test Flights Over Europe
Test Flights Headed to Europe

North Pole Flight Command crews are preparing to resume test flights very soon. Santa’s sleigh will be leaving the mid-Atlantic and will be flying over land in Europe.

During the brief break in testing the sleigh received several design modifications. Engineers declined to specify what changes were made or why. They simply said these kinds of changes in the design of the sleigh are “routine” for this time of the year.

The reindeer used in supporting these test flights did receive a nice break. They are reportedly very anxious to get back to work. The Reindeer Department reported that no new reindeer have arrived at the North Pole to expand the working teams assigned to the test flights. We do not believe this is an issue, at least not in the short term.

How long the test flights would be over Europe was not announced.

We will all just need to watch the map in the coming days.

Sleigh Test Flights
North Pole Navy Anchors Tests in the Atlantic

With test flights stalled over the Atlantic we have learned a few new details about why it is not moving at this time: adjustments to the design of the sleigh, coupled by a delay in building against that updated design has slowed down the tests.

“There are a couple of things going on right now that we’ve told you about,” Elf Buck Sanchez, Operations Director at North Pole Flight Command said. “We have reindeer that need to get some rest, we have a new sleigh design update that needs a build out, we need certain kinds of weather to fly in — all of these things have compounded the slow down in test flights. This is actually kind of normal for this time of the year.”

The North Pole Navy is anchored in the mid-Atlantic to help support test flight operations. They too say what is happening is normal. “It’s a weird thing to think of elves on a ship,” said Captain Henry Despain, of the Merry Wanderer, a sleigh craft carrier that is part of the North Pole Navy. “But those test pilots are here, as are some of the reindeer, and we’re taking good care of them.”

There are four total ships working to support test flight operations over the Atlantic. Two other ships are awaiting future activity in the South Pacific. No word yet and when flight operations might shift to that part of the world.

Flights Over the Atlantic
Test Flights to Remain Over the Atlantic

Flight engineers overseeing the test flights of Santa’s sleigh say that operations will remain over the Atlantic ocean for the next several days.

They are not saying why the sleigh tests won’t be moving to another part of the world anytime soon.

We did speak with famed test pilot Elf Vernon, an elf with many years of test flight experience.

“It is still quite early in the season,” Vernon said. “It is hard with the shifting seasons to find the right kind of weather to test the sleigh. The Atlantic is a famously moody body of water to fly over with all kinds of weather evident. By keeping it over the water they can put the flights through several kinds of tests that other parts of the world may not offer quite yet.”

It is also difficult at this time to pinpoint where flight planners are going to send the test flights next.

“We hear through the North Pole Post Office that fans want to be able to see Santa’s sleigh, either day or night,” Elf Doris Snapp, a sleigh traffic controller in Flight Command said. “We get it. We’d like to send the sleigh to places where people can see it in action. But our work right now needs to focus on practical situations. We keep their desires in mind though. Where we can send the sleigh over populated areas, we will when we can.”

I expect more news about the immediate future of the test flights any day now.