Santa's flight has been cleared for takeoff and he's already delivered billions of gifts around the globe, but as YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us, Santa's not flying solo. In fact, he has a lot of help as he navigates the skies.
ROME, N.Y. -- Here at the Eastern Air Defense Sector, they're working for Christmas, but it's not a day when the work can be listless. You see, they've got a special Christmas mission, a mission to save a long-standing tradition.
"Any mission that's airborne based is dangerous and unpredictable," EADS Lt. Colonel Paul Bishop said.
Especially when you're flying at 9 RP, that's Reindeer Power to you and me. You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Cupid, Comet, Donner and Blitzen, and of course Rudolph, helps guide the Christmas flight, but do you know about everyone else helping guide Santa's sleigh tonight?
"We track Santa," said Bishop. "It's important to make sure he's able to execute his mission safely and without interruption from weather or unpredicted things that may be in his line of flight."
So with their high tech radars at NORAD in Colorado and EADS here in Rome, they help Santa out to make sure presents get safely to each and every home.
"The first radar warnings are on the North Warning System radar in the extreme northern part of Canada," said the Lt. Colonel.
From there, they monitor all the storms and all the planes to get Santa's sleigh around the world and to the North Pole again. And even their pilots get a friendly greeting from the elf, who when he passes by, waves his hand and chuckles to himself.
"And they do have a good relationship, they respect each other mutually and work on a non-interference basis," said Bishop.
So as Santa makes his Christmas Eve flight and bellows, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night." It's in part thanks to his NORAD and EADS friends.
You can track Santa too and even check out where he's been spotted on NORAD's "Santa Cam" on their website at www.noradsanta.org. You can also call NORAD to get updates at 1 (877) 466-6723.