Most Wonderful Flying Time of Year

If you’re a pilot, you know how serious pilots and controllers take their responsibilities.  When we talk on the radios, we’re all business.  In fact, we’re taught to keep our requests and responses brief.  The shorter the better.  But this is the one time of year where the industry seems to allow its sense of humor to come out and things lighten up just a little bit and every year it makes me smile.

On Facebook, Shawn Sparks posted this RNAV approach plate for landing your Bonanza at the North Pole.  It’s complete with waypoints for in order as SANTA, CLAUS, COMING, TOWNN and missed approach points as MSLTO and KSSNG.

It’s common knowledge that NORAD tracks Santa’s flight across the sky.  You can visit that website here:  What ratings do you think St. Nick holds?  I’m thinking he’s instrument rated having to fly through all that snow and at night.  Maybe a glider rating for his engineless sleigh?

Many pilots today fly with an EFB.  That is to say they use some sort of portable electronic device to aid them in their flight.  One solution that is very common is Foreflight used on an iPad.  Throughout the application, you’ll find fun comments such as Santa sightings and modified weather reports. 

Although pilots are busy flying and controllers are working to keep everyone safe in the sky, the holidays bring a spirit of comradery and mutual respect.  A simple wish of “Happy Holidays” heard over the comms is enough to brighten up a long cross country flight.  

And if you’re flying at night, the lights down below as you travel from town to town can’t be beat.  So, if you’re a student pilot working on your private pilot rating, get out there and get your rating so you can enjoy all the wonders of the season.  

No matter what you do this season, happy holidays to you and your family.  We hope you stay safe and healthy.