The Canadian NORAD Region, having announced the 2020 escort teams and trackers, is ready to track Santa from 24th December .
News Release, Winnipeg, December 2020: The countdown to December 24th has begun! With the clock ticking as the big night approaches, we at the Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) Region are naming our CF-18 Hornet pilots, maintainers and trackers who will be charged with the mission of monitoring and escorting Santa as he completes his magical journey through Canadian airspace.
This Christmas will mark the 65th consecutive year of NORAD tracking Santa’s Yuletide journey around the world. The defence of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is a bi-national US and Canadian command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America, as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.
CF-18 escort pilots and maintainers are chosen from both 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, while the trackers are chosen from the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario.
“Thanks to the dedicated men and women who keep a watchful eye over North American airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. NORAD tracks everything that flies in and around North America. On December 24, we also have the special mission of tracking and escorting Santa,” said Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region. “Utilising the North Warning System’s powerful radar and satellite systems, we are able to see into the North better than ever, allowing us to track Santa more precisely, ensuring he has a safe trip through North American airspace.”
Santa trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron at 22 Wing North Bay include Aviator Diana Perry, Aviator Stephane Jacques and United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Thomas Truong will be on the watch. Their duty is to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.
- From 3 Wing, Captain Jean-Sébastien Otis and Captain Caleb Robert will serve as Santa’s escort pilots, while Corporal Jean-François Denis and Corporal Claudia Côté-Pellerin will form the maintenance team.
- From 4 Wing, Captain Tucker Densmore and Captain Sean Foster are this year’s escort pilots, with Corporal Edrendel Caddarao and Aviator Christopher Marsh serving as maintainers.
“From everyone across the Canadian NORAD Region who work every day to keep Canada and North America safe – thank you for your professionalism and for the support of your families. Happy Holidays!” added Maj Gen Kenny.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website is now live. Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of defending North America, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
- Starting on Dec. 24 at 2:01 am EST (07:01 GMT / UCT) website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s ‘Santa Cams’ will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.
- For over 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted aircraft in the execution of NORAD’s North American air sovereignty and air defence missions. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day.