It has been a rough year testing the new design of Santa’s sleigh. Today Santa’s Sleigh has been in the hurricane zone of the southeast of the United States, where Hurricane Ian has made landfall in Florida. It was planned for the sleigh to be tested by the heavy weather.
There’s no two ways about it. This sleigh, with it’s present design, cannot fly in horrible weather.
It needs to be able to face any weather conditions on earth – both for the safety of Santa and of the reindeer.
So all 12 test sleighs were sent into the hurricane zone under different conditions – loaded, empty, partially loaded, high altitude, low altitude, high speed, low speed, etc.
The sleigh failed in every instance.
Test pilots have not been ordered out of the hurricane zone but they have been limited in their assignments for now.
A new design of the sleigh was underway anyway and a new version is being rushed to the zone tomorrow. Test flights will continue as they bring in the new version of the sleigh to take advantage of the unsettled weather the hurricane provides.
Sometime in the coming days, the new sleigh version will head to another sector for continued testing.
It is not known if another opportunity for heavy weather testing will become available. But with each version of the sleigh that is released they basically have to restart the flight routine anyway. There will be future storms before Christmas and we are certain flight command will again chase those storms. A hurricane, such as Ian, is a rare opportunity in sleigh test flights.
Fortunately, this storm showed vulnerabilities of the current sleigh that needed to surface. Even though we say the sleigh failed it’s a good thing it was discovered. This moves the process of getting a working design for Santa by Christmas forward.
Sleigh test pilots are anxious to try the newest version.