December 24, 2014 - 5:00 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - NORAD is ready again to track Santa as he makes his way around the world and into the Thompson-Okanagan to bring gifts to all the girls and boys.
Of course, Santa can't just hop on his sleigh and ride these days. There is air traffic control to consider with Christmas flights zipping this way and that across the night sky. There are rules to follow and it appears old Saint Nick has made all the preparations to make 2014 another success.
Transport Canada recently announced Santa Claus successfully passed his pre-flight inspection and is set for a safe take-off. His cargo has been screened, his sleigh loaded, and his flight plan filed. Santa and his team of reindeer are expected to leave the North Pole, which is located in Canada's north, on time to make his annual Christmas deliveries.
This year, the elves have really upped their game. Not only does Santa have a Wi-Fi-equipped sleigh and an app to manage his Naughty or Nice list, but he's been outfitted with a new fleet of drones. Santa's drones will help guide his sleigh and scout out the safest and most efficient route, giving Rudolf a much needed break. Of course, the elves trained Santa on all the necessary safety features and applied in advance for his SFOC—Santa's Flight Operations Certificate.
Like all pilots, Santa must undergo an annual physical to keep his license. Transport Canada reports that he passed with flying colours.
Watch Santa's progress using the Official NORAD Santa Tracker:
* Santa wants to make sure that everyone who asked for a drone this year knows how to fly it safely and legally. Read his list of safety tips at www.tc.gc.ca/SafetyFirst.
* Santa consistently impresses his pilot friends with his uncanny ability for safe take-offs and landings in urban centres and flying in whiteout conditions.
* Santa's pre-flight checklist includes looking for ice build-ups, checking Rudolph's nose, and ensuring that the elves on board are informed about safety procedures.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014