Archive for November, 2008

A Blast from the Past: NORAD Tracks Santa

noradsantaFor 50 years NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been protecting North American airspace from enemy attack, and for most of those years they have been tracking the Christmas Eve movements of none other than Santa Claus. Growing up in the 1960’s meant the Cold War was pretty much a hypothetical concept since “duck and cover” drills and bomb shelters were products of the 1950’s. Even a thing as scary as the Cold War didn’t put a dent into the typical Patio kid’s Christmas expectations (a true Christmas spirt will evolve later). We all had a faint idea that the F-102 interceptors at the local air base were there to keep the bay guys away, but other than that, we fully expected Santa Claus to made his journey through the world’s airspaces unimpeded. After all, fighter escorts from the North American Air Defense Command guaranteed his passage to the United States! I remember checking up on Santa’s Christmas Eve progress by watching the NORAD Tracks Santa black and white film clips on TV. Usually a very serious airman with black rimmed glasses would be shown carefully monitoring a radar screen while reporting Santa’s position to his commander who would then scramble jets to escort him into North America. Hopefully, the Soviets wouldn’t shoot down our hero in red…after all, I had a new banana seat bike riding on his safe arrival!

Black and white film clips have since given way to the computer animated, internet driven wonder we see today, and the excitement is even greater. Now you can track the Big Man yourself on Christmas Eve at

November 30, 2008 at 9:19 am Leave a comment

Greg Knight's Patio Culture