Roger is an experienced sleigh pilot, designer and flight engineer who has worked the past 42 years as a flight supervisor in the Tracking Department at the North Pole. Previous to that Roger served as a designer in the Research and Development Department during the crucial years of 1947-1974, an era known for breakout designs in Santa’s sleigh that broke long standing speed records. Roger was the lead designer of Santa’s 1968 sleigh, famous for surviving a brutal blizzard in Bavaria.
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As Santa’s sleigh continues across Sector 5 we have had reports from many thousands claiming they have seen the sleigh in flight. We knew that would happen with so many eyes on the skies over the long holiday weekend in the United States.
But along with those reports have come questions and the #1 question is “What are they doing up there?”
To best answer the question you need to understand the different phases of the test flights. We are still very early in the development of Santa’s sleigh for this year. We have a long way to go. This is roughly the order of test flight phases:
1. High Speed, High Altitude Tests – Basic evaluation of structure and design.
2. Take Offs and Landings – A variety of locations are selected to test sleigh stability in taking off and landing.
3. Load Bearing Maneuvers – How does the sleigh perform when fully loaded versus when empty?
4. Speed Trials – Tests of the sleigh at different speeds and altitudes, loaded and unloaded.
5. Weather Testing – The sleigh is operated under every imaginable weather condition
6. Emergency Maneuvers – What if there is a fire? What if the sleigh lands in water? This phases tests the sleigh under unusual situations
7. Climate Trials – What effects on the sleigh can be found in extreme heat or cold?
8. Team Tests – These tests examine the sleigh and the reindeer and how they respond in certain situations.
9. Over Water Situational Training – There are millions of vessels on the oceans. The sleigh is tested for the challenge each one presents.
10. Tracking System Training – Tests of following Santa’s sleigh through technology and observation.
11. Communication Trials – Tests of radio, flash, Internet and other communication systems built into the sleigh
12. Stop-and-Go Adjustments – Tests of the sleigh at low altitudes and varying speeds
13. Cross Platform Communications – Tests of communications with airports, military and police all over the world
14. Orbital Training – Santa’s sleigh in outer space.
15. Finals – Last minute tests conducted the week before launch
This is, of course, just a generalized list and I can tell you we are still in phase one of testing. Some of these tests run independently, others run concurrently. A lot is going on between now and when Santa launches.
Your ability to see Santa’s sleigh when it is in your sector depends on a variety of factors. At present, the sleigh is testing at very high altitudes. It is doubtful it can be seen from the ground very much with the naked eye, especially during daylight hours. However, with binoculars or similar visual assist devices it could be possible.
We encourage you to track Santa on the map at a minimum, if you have access at SantaTrackers.net. If you are a tracker elf, I would be mindful of direction from your elf supervisor. During this first round the odds of having clear direction may only be slight. But it will increase as time goes on and the likelihood of seeing Santa’s sleigh in flight improves if you are paying attention to what your supervisor tells you when the sleigh is in your sector.