On 24 December, UK airspace hosts the most important flight of the year; someone to whom the normal rules of the air do not apply. The person is, of course, Santa Claus.
Safety is always our top priority, so preparations for the big night begin earlier in the year when the man himself makes a low-key visit to NATS. His flight plan for Christmas Eve is discussed in detail and he meets the air traffic controllers who play such a pivotal role in guiding his flight.
Delivering presents to the millions of children on Santa’s N.I.C.E. List (National Inventory of Child Escapades) in just a few hours is incredibly complex work so the planning has to be meticulous. Working together we take into account the delivery schedule and decreasing weight of the on-board cargo versus the increasing weight of the pilot (millions of cookies and mince pies soon add up).
We make a list and check it twice.
This year we were actually able to film some of Santa’s visit to NATS, and while he refused to be interviewed, he has agreed that we can share it with you. We hope you agree it gives an insight into someone who is truly a unique airspace user. Enjoy.
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