Also: NASA Makes List, Checks Twice, Clears Santa Claus
For KSC Landing
Aero-News has learned
that after several months of negotiations -- with plenty of
paperwork flying back and forth between Washington and the North
Pole, along with a few "naughty" accusations against unnamed FAA
personnel -- Santa Claus has been given unrestricted access to the
"Santa can now focus on making his list and checking it twice,
without the hassle of government paperwork," said DOT Secretary
Norman Mineta. "Thanks to this agreement, the only time he needs to
worry about Red Tape is if he wants to use it to wrap
We can only assume that Santa passed all security requirements
necessary for the unfettered flight access -- good only for a
24-hour period ending December 25 at 6 pm. EST.
Mineta said the decision was helped by a flood of public
comments offered by Santa advocates from all over the nation.
Thousands of letters were sent to the Department of Transportation
and to the North Pole encouraging each party to complete these
important negotiations before Santa's yearly trip, he said --
almost as many as have been sent in by pilots commenting on the
Washington, DC ADIZ.
"Santa's Elves are tough negotiators," Mineta noted. "But, in
the end, we were able to arrive at an agreement that will benefit
children of all ages."
There are, however, unconfirmed rumors St. Nick still won't be
allowed to land at Potomac Airfield.
"Now it's just HO HO HO and off I go," exclaimed the Jolly Old
Elf, in a voice that sounded suspiciously like Mineta's with a
cold. "The reindeer and I look forward to checking this item off of
our list for good."
We're unsure what specific item Santa was referring to. Our best
guesses have something to do with an end to user fees, a sub-$100K
Cirrus, and an immediate ban on interminable teleivison news
coverage of landing gear problems in commercial aircraft.
And while such a jovial attitude in an airport terminal would be
considered most unusual this time of year -- and would likely
arouse suspicion with TSA screeners -- it's not expected to be an
issue for St. Nick as he's a general aviation guy.
In a related story, NASA has announced the space agency (which,
officials added, has been really, really good this year) has come
to an agreement with the North Pole to permit Santa Claus and his
reindeer exclusive use of the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle
Landing Facility on Christmas Eve.
This makes the third time this year that NASA has opened up its
facility's long runway for private use. As was reported in
Aero-News last week, NASA announced it will allow the GlobalFlyer
aircraft to take off from the facility on its attempt to break the
record for the longest-distance flight ever.
In a public statement, Sir Richard Branson -- sponsor of the
GlobalFlyer project -- asked Santa to just remember that NASA
promised he could use the runway first.
During Santa's brief stop at Kennedy on Christmas Eve, said
NASA, the Jolly Old Elf hopes to take an up-close look at the
facilities that will help return humans back to the moon, and
eventually on to Mars.
"We also hope Santa has some extra-special gifts for NASA this
year," said an unnamed NASA spokesman. "A new, safe, really
cool-looking manned spacecraft brought in under budget would do it,
although we'd also be happy with an assured soft landing for the
"Santa has often said he envies NASA's beyond-Earth-orbit
journeys," said Ima Elf, lead engineer in Santa's workshop, to
NASA. "He prefers traveling with his reindeer, but Santa has great
interest in NASA's space vehicles. He can't wait for humans to be
stationed on the moon so he can make his first legitimate visit
While NASA hopes Santa
will be extra kind to them this year... ANN is wondering just what
that spokes-elf meant by a "legitimate" Moon visit. Those with any
information on any of Santa's illegitimate trips to the moon are
encouraged to email email@example.com.
(Editor's Note: The above is ANN's twisted
take on two actual press releases issued by NASA and the DOT during
this, the merriest of seasons, and does contain actual statements
by both agencies... as well as our purely tongue-in-cheek
observations. It is our hope the reader will take all of the above
in appropriate good humor. We also actively encourage Santa to give
Potomac Airfield's David Wartofsky a break, he's had a rough
year. Happy Holidays!)