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Canadian NORAD Region Names Pilots to Track Santa

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Canadian NORAD Region Names Pilots to Track Santa RCAF

With Christmas around the corner, the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region is set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada, and has selected four CF-18 fighter pilots who will act as Santa's official escorts.

They are: Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel McLeod, Captain Shamus Allen, Major Benoit Bouchard, and Captain Vincent Landry.

Major Bouchard, and Captain Landry of the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 3 Wing, Bagotville, Quebec, will conduct the first escort duties to welcome Santa into Canada and, at the east-west centre-point of Canada, near the Ontario-Manitoba border, switch over escort duties to Lieutenant-Colonel McLeod and Captain Allen of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta, as Santa makes his way into Western Canada.

Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children worldwide on the NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, on December 24. All related information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

As it has done since 1955, the Canadian Air Defence Sector Operations Centre at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario, will alert NORAD when their radar and satellite systems detect Santa approaching North America. Two CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from 3 Wing will welcome Santa as he enters Canadian airspace off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. As Santa flies across Canada from east to west, two CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing will escort Santa through Canadian airspace so that he may safely conduct his Christmas voyage.

On December 24, children can also receive updates on Santa's Christmas Eve journey by calling the traditional "NORAD Tracks Santa" telephone hotline at 1-877-HI NORAD (1-877-446-6723), or by emailing NORAD at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In 2011, the NORAD Tracks Santa website received over 18.9 million unique visitors from 220 countries and territories around the world. NORAD Tracks Santa Facebook page neared 1 million followers, and over 101,000 people followed Santa on Twitter. On Christmas Eve alone, NORAD "Santa Trackers" answered more than 102,000 telephone calls and answered 7,721 emails over a 25 hour period. 

NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization, charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. NORAD performs its mission 365 days per year, but on Christmas Eve, NORAD performs an additional mission – tracking Santa around the world.

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