Thursday, December 23, 2010

Instrument Approach Procedures for the North Pole

This made the rounds last year, but in case you missed it. (Original link is here.) One would expect IMC on the north pole in December, so it's not surprising that Santa would have his own IAP.
"Caution: Deer in traffic pattern" is a nice touch. Well, that and the fact that all vectors to the airport are 360. I am surprised by three things. One, that the magical elf himself has nothing better than an NDB approach. Two, that the north pole isn't covered by a TFR on Christmas. And three, he only needs a <6,000 foot runway.

Think about the last one for a minute. There are 2 billion children under 18 in the world. Even if we allow that Santa appears only to Christian children (which I know is not accurate, but let us presume for the moment it is), that is still about 300 million children. Okay, suppose each kid gets a medium Lego set—2 lbs. We are talking about a payload of 600 million pounds. (That, by the way, is roughly 3.5 fully loaded QMIIs.) And we haven't even figured for the weight of the sleigh needed to carry such a payload, nor for the weight of the reindeer needed to pull such a weight (somehow, I suspect 9 reindeer is just not going to cut it). By comparison, the C-5 Galaxy which has a max takeoff weight of *just* 840,000 lbs requires a nearly 9,000 ft runway for takeoff. All I can say is, those are some reindeer.

Happy holidays.

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