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North Pole Chat Explores the Test Flights

North Pole Chat Recap

In today’s North Pole Chat I discussed the recent crash of a test flight of Santa’s sleigh and just how those test flights work each year. Our guest was Elf Crash Murphy, Santa’s famed eye-in-the-sky reporter who just happens to know a lot about sleighs.

Crash talked about how he heard about the sleigh crash and just what happened with the test pilot and the reindeer of that flight.

Crash discussed why there are test flights of Santa’s sleigh and how they come about every year. It was a very insightful discuss about the inner-workings of sleigh flight at the North Pole – information you’ll find nowhere else. Here is a transcript of that discussion:

Elf Ernest Our chat with Elf Crash Murphy will begin at the top of the hour.
Elf Ulan Hello Elf Ernest!
Elf Ernest Hi Elf Ulan!
Elf Ernest It’s nice to have you here
Elf Ulan Thank you! I’m glad to hear that
Elf Ernest Crash should be here any minute.
Elf Ulan Okay!
Elf Ulan How are you?
Elf Ernest Doing ok. It’s been a busy week. How are things with you?
Crash Murphy Well, well…I’m one minute early!
Elf Ernest Hi Crash!
Crash Murphy Hi Ernest
Elf Ulan Hi Elf Crash!
Crash Murphy Doesn’t look like much of a crowd here today. But Elf Ulan is here and that’s all I need!
Crash Murphy Hi Elf Ulan
Crash Murphy Pleasure to see you again
Elf Ernest Crash, it’s been a big week and I have a lot of questions that have been sent in.
Crash Murphy I bet you do!
Elf Ulan Me too!
Crash Murphy Go ahead, Ernest. I’ll do my best
Elf Ernest First of all, where were you when you got the news about the sleigh crash this week?
Crash Murphy I was in flight school.
Elf Ernest Flight school? Are you becoming a sleigh pilot?
Crash Murphy I’m already certified as a sleigh pilot, though I do not fly much in an official capacity. No, I’ve been attending sleigh traffic control school.
Elf Ernest Oh! Wow – does that mean a career change is coming for you?
Crash Murphy No. I have to become certified. It’s part of my present job. I can’t be in a sleigh behind Santa on Christmas Eve without it.
Elf Ernest Oh really? I didn’t know that.
Crash Murphy Yeah, I am actually behind in getting it and I told Santa I’d wrap it up this year.
Elf Ernest That’s interesting. Why do you need sleigh traffic control training if you’re the one out there in the skies actually in a sleigh?
Crash Murphy That’s a fair question. I have to sometimes interact with those guys, all over the world. And they have kind of their own language and their own way of communication. I have to understand all that.
Elf Ernest Gee, I had no idea the job of being the eye-in-the-sky reporter required so much hard stuff.
Crash Murphy It is more about being in a sleigh. Santa wants every safety precaution taken. I think the events of this week show the wisdom in that.
Elf Ernest Yes, back to that – so you were in a class when the news came in. Who told you?
Crash Murphy Elf Buck was teaching the course that day and someone handed him a note and he told the class. He had us all follow him into Flight Command to watch things happen.
Elf Ernest Wow, what a great perspective!
Crash Murphy Yes, it was total luck. But I learned a lot from all that.
Elf Ernest Well, Crash – we have a lot of people out there concerned about Santa’s sleigh.
Crash Murphy Yeah, I was talking to Elf Hugo and he told me the North Pole Post Office got slammed this week with the news.
Elf Ernest Yes, I heard the same.
Elf Ernest How do we calm people down about this?
Crash Murphy Well, accidents happen. And everyone is okay. That’s the first thing.
Crash Murphy I went with Santa, as you know, to the Jingle Bell and Santa made SURE everyone was okay.
Elf Ulan Are their mental health okay too?
Elf Ernest Yes, I heard about that too from your report. But is Santa’s sleigh going to be okay?
Crash Murphy Yes, Elf Ulan. The sleigh pilot is concerned it was his fault. But they pretty much said he handled it perfectly. It was a sleigh problem, not a pilot issue.
Crash Murphy And Ernest, as far as Santa’s sleigh goes, everything is okay.
Crash Murphy We have plenty of time to get things fixed and I hear that’s really on the move already.
Elf Ulan Okay, I feel relieved it
Elf Ernest Yes, there are tracker alerts all over SantaTrackers.net today. What’s happening?
Elf Ulan Yeah, I was surprised it too
Crash Murphy Well, last I heard they have built 12 new redesigned sleighs to correct the problem they found after the crash. They need to swap out those new sleighs for the old ones down in the South Pacific right now.
Elf Ernest Ok…but how would that result in all these alerts?
Crash Murphy I haven’t heard for sure what their plan is, Ernest. And I haven’t been online to see those alerts myself. What are they saying?
Elf Ernest Every sector is on alert. The Elf Supervisors are telling their trackers to be ready for action.
Crash Murphy Every sector?
Elf Ernest Yes, every single one of them.
Elf Ulan Will they go to each sector at the same time?
Crash Murphy Well they must be doing a repositioning.
Elf Ernest What is that?
Crash Murphy It’s a change of scenery from one place to another for the test flights.
Crash Murphy They are on the line between Sectors 5 and 1 and obviously they are planning to move things somewhere else.
Elf Ernest Any clue where they might be going?
Elf Ulan Wow
Crash Murphy Not yet, but I’ll try to find out.
Crash Murphy When they put multiple sectors on alert like that it means they are getting ready to cover a lot of ground quickly.
Crash Murphy Usually it affects two or three sectors. To have all five on alert is very unusual.
Elf Ernest Do you think it is because they are swapping out the sleighs?
Crash Murphy It might have something to do with it, but it might not. I think it depends more on what they are testing.
Elf Ulan Do they need more pilots?
Crash Murphy Sometimes it is a sleigh thing, sometimes it is elf training, sometimes it is performance in bad weather – it could be a bajillion things. I’ll tell you what, that sure explains my schedule this week.
Elf Ernest What’s your schedule this week?
Crash Murphy I’ve been told I’m going to simulator training at the RHQ in Sector 3 – South Africa, I think.
Elf Ernest Bethlehem, South Africa?
Crash Murphy Yes, that’s it! Never been there that I can remember
Elf Ernest Wow
Elf Ernest Elf Ulan was asking about the number of test pilots. That’s another question we got a lot of in the mail this week
Elf Ulan I’ve been South Africa!
Crash Murphy People would be surprised at how many test pilots there are. So no, they have enough of them. And reindeer too
Elf Ernest How many test pilots are there?
Crash Murphy You’ve been to South Africa, Elf Ulan?
Elf Ulan Yes!
Crash Murphy I’ve been there, of course, but only at night and I don’t remember the town of Bethlehem
Crash Murphy Golly, Ernest. There are some 200 test pilots and more than 6000 reindeer used to handle the test flight schedule.
Elf Ernest REALLY? Wow, why so many?
Crash Murphy Well, there are 12 test sleighs. And they fly around the clock. So that’s three shifts per day for the pilots and the reindeer. Thousands of flights over the months before Christmas
Elf Ernest Wow, that sleigh really gets tested!
Elf Ulan Are all pilots and their reindeer working ?
Crash Murphy It really does. That is why Santa has so much confidence in his sleigh when it takes off every year.
Crash Murphy Elf Ulan, those test pilots and reindeer work a lot for this process, yes. They are all at work.
Elf Ernest Crash, they said a design flaw caused the problem. But isn’t this basically the same sleigh as last year?
Elf Ulan Wow, they are great job!
Crash Murphy Yes, that’s the official findings.
Elf Ernest How did Santa NOT crash the sleigh last year then?
Crash Murphy That’s a fair question, Ernest. The sleigh crashed because of a combination of things at the time of the crash. Santa isn’t necessarily going to duplicate those things on his flight.
Elf Ernest Well,….was Santa in danger?
Elf Ulan I heard the new his sleigh changed some materials to light
Crash Murphy Sleigh flight is a dangerous business just by itself, Ernest. Anything can go wrong, even for an expert pilot like Santa. But I don’t think he was in any danger last year
Crash Murphy Yes, Ulan. They are always looking for ways to make the sleigh lighter and more nimble.
Crash Murphy That’s another reason there are test flights – to give those materials real flight experience.
Elf Ernest Crash – how do they guarantee Santa’s safety?
Crash Murphy There are no guarantees, Ernest. If you knew what Santa went through on his flight every year you would be shocked. That’s why they test the sleigh so rigorously.
Elf Ernest Are you saying things happen during Santa’s flight that we don’t hear about?
Crash Murphy Oh yeah.
Elf Ernest Why don’t you report those things?
Crash Murphy Oh I report different stuff to flight command. But not everything gets out on the radio, Ernest.
Elf Ernest Like what kind of stuff?
Crash Murphy Well, one year in Nebraska Santa took down a fence. It was a new fence, something that wasn’t there the year before and it was dark and he didn’t see it.
Elf Ernest Was anyone hurt?
Crash Murphy No. But it scratched up the underside of that sleigh and it didn’t do that fence any favors.
Elf Ernest So how was that handled?
Elf Ulan The north Pole Navy help him too?!
Crash Murphy Santa was a little irritated. He took some quick pictures, called to the Workshop sleigh and had the fence repaired that night.
Elf Ernest The workshop sleigh?
Crash Murphy Yeah, there’s a rotation of support sleighs who are in flight all night on Christmas Eve just in case something like this happens. Santa needs all kind of help. On this night he had workshop elves on standby and they got to rebuild a fence in Nebraska.
Elf Ernest Wow. I had no idea.
Crash Murphy Yes, there are support sleighs of all kinds. Stocking repair, candy cane placement, tree watering, Christmas light maintenance – Santa calls on all kinds of elves to do duty anywhere in the world that he sees it. This is why flight command is tracking THOUSANDS of sleighs each Christmas Eve, not just Santa
Crash Murphy And yes, Elf Ulan, you are correct. That is partly the job of the North Pole Navy too.
Crash Murphy One of my favorite support teams is the sled dog team
Elf Ernest Sled dog team? What do they do?
Crash Murphy They fetch things.
Elf Ernest LOL, of course!
Elf Ulan Lol
Crash Murphy Santa and Mrs. Claus are always looking for ways for elves to become useful on Christmas Eve. We all pitch in.
Elf Ernest That’s brilliant. I think we should tell more of these stories in the news, Crash.
Crash Murphy That would be a good idea, Ernest.
Elf Ulan Agreed!
Elf Ernest Well, our time is up. Thanks, Elf Crash, for your insights today. I always learn a lot from you
Crash Murphy Thanks for having me. And it was good to chat a little with you again, Elf Ulan!
Crash Murphy Have a great day!
Elf Ernest Thanks, Crash. You too. And you as well, Elf Ulan.
Elf Ulan Thank you Elf Crash and Elf Ernest today
Elf Ernest Bye everyone!
Elf Ulan Good bye!
1 reply
  1. Elf Ulan
    Elf Ulan says:

    Thank you, Elf Ernest! It was so much fun and interesting that the time flew by! So I missed asking if the tuna were okay, and the test sleighs have flight recorders, lol! I also wanted to tell Elf Crash I’m delighted to see and talk to him again, but… The new test flights are flying over Finland now. I hope they are going well. I look forward to seeing and talking to more people in the next chat too. Thank you, and let’s enjoy tracking Santa! XD

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