‘Twas the Night Before Christmas … Aviation Style
December 22, 2007, Saturday by Tonet
I met Windwalker six years ago, when he was an out-of-work pilot. We would have coffee at Figaro’s, talking incessantly about flying.
Today he is an A320 Captain for a major airline in the Philippines (not THAT one). He went from DC-9 First Officer to A320 Captain in less than 5 years, and is a two-time consecutive Safety Pilot of the Year Awardee.
He posted this gem on the PFSG Forum three years ago. It remains one of my favorite Christmas aviation pieces. I don’t know where he got it.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.
The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.
When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and echo,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.
He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I’d have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick”.
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.
He called his position, no room for denial,
“St. Nicholas One, turnin’ left onto final.”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!
With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
“Now RIANO! Now ALPAS! Now NABAL and ROSER!
On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills were he taking?
The controller was sitting, and scratching her head,
She phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message she left was both urgent and dour:
“When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.”
He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
I heard “Left at Fox Three,” and “Taxi to parking.”
He slowed to a taxi, turned off from Two-Oh
And stopped on the ramp with a “Ho, ho-ho-ho… .
“He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.
He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to “fill it, with hundred low-lead.”
He came dashing in from the empty, dark ramp,
I knew he was anxious for draining the sump.
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.
And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in a zero-vis fog.
He finished his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”
And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
“Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right to two-zero at pilot’s discretion”
He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
“Your traffic’s a Cessna, inbound from the west.”
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night,
“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”