A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)

Canadian Fighter Jets fuel up to escort Santa

It’s is S-Day for the Royal Canadian Air Force. CF-18 (CF-188) fighter jets are fueling up and special appointed pilots are getting ready. The mission: to escort Santa Claus, once he’s entered Canadian airspace from across the North Pole, to safeguard a Merry Christmas to all.

Earlier this December the RCAF appointed the special mission pilots of this year: Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu and Captain Steven “Bunt” Nierlich from 3 Wing Bagotville in Quebec plus Major Yanick “Crank” Gregoire and Captain Thomas “Toast” McQueen from 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta. At Bagotville the jets and pilots get support from crew chiefs Master Corporal Daniel Boucher and Master Corporal Marc-André David; at Cold Lake it are Corporal Sébastien Morin and Corporal Andrew Shields who lead the ground personnel.

Santa’s sleigh
Meanwhile the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region (CANR) has been set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada ever since the beginning of the month. Special “Santa trackers” from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron based at 22 Wing North Bay in Ontario will also keep a watchful eye on Santa’s sleigh.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on December 24, 2014, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.

Launch
At the time of writing this editorial, NORAD informed Airheadsfly.com that Santa indeed was preparing for launch. So we are all very, very excited! In fact, one of Airheadsfly.com’s editors actually spends the entire year in Scandinavia, to keep a watchful eye on things on his side while Santa is getting ready for next year’s flight operations.

And we cannot take our mission lightly either. Especially in the few weeks before S-Day the good man, his wife and all his family of workers are really busy. The last couple of weekends we’ve spotted 80 flights full of Santa visitors from the United Kingdom on a single Saturday and Sunday alone heading for the Polar Circle through Rovaniemi airport in Finland, with Santa being host to 15,000 guests every day. So, from our Northern European office we say to Santa: into the blue yonder you go!

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force

A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)
A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)