60 Seconds with Maj Todd Walter, Mission Crew Commander of Santa Trackers at 22 Wing/CFB North Bay.
Does Rudolph’s nose really shine so bright to guide the sleigh? It absolutely does, and it presents a very unique infrared signature that the satellites are able to track, and the specific radar signature that it gives off as well allows our fighter pilots to very easily pick out the sleigh and the reindeer and approach safely when they do the intercept on Christmas Eve.
Hi, I’m Major Todd Walter, I’m the mission crew commander here at Canadian Air Defence Sector 22 Wing CFB North Bay, and I’m going to do my 60 seconds, drawing my questions from my official NORAD Santa Tracker hat.
- How can people track Santa?
Well, two big ways to do it, is either go to the website or the 1-877 number. So www.noradsanta.org is the one way, and then 1-877-466-6723, or 1-877-HI-NORAD.
- How does 22 Wing North Bay support the NORAD Track Santa program?
Well, we use radar systems scattered across the world along with satellites, providing infrared imagery and then we have Santa Cams scattered throughout the world, and then jet fighters that also go out and intercept Santa.
- What are Santa Cams and where are they located?
So Santa Cams are high-tech cameras that are scattered throughout North America and on some satellites, and unfortunately the locations are classified.
- Based on Royal Canadian Air Force reports, what are the specifications of Santa’s sleigh? From what we know so far, we can definitely tell you, the current model, it is 75 candy canes long by 40 candy canes wide, and 55 candy canes high. It runs off of hay, oats, and carrots, and the emissions are classified. Takeoff weight is 75,000 gumdrops. With snow and ice accumulation, landing weight is around 80,000 gumdrops. And its payload capability is 60,000 tons of gifts. Santa’s usual pre-takeoff weight is around 260 pounds, and on landing, with cookies and milk, he’s usually up in the 1,260-pound range.
And that’s it.
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