December 9, 2010
By Julie Summers Walker
For the past four years U.S. soldiers have celebrated Christmas with a Santa Claus they can identify with—he wears combat fatigues just like they do. “America’s Santa,” in his fur-trimmed camouflage suit, is the star of “Operation Christmas Spirit,” an effort by the Spirit of Liberty Foundation, a group of private aircraft owners and businessmen who want to help wounded warriors remember the joy of Christmas, which starts its fifth tour this weekend.
Click the image above to view a slideshow.
The 2010 Believe in Santa Tour will leave San Diego on Dec. 13 in a Citation II, travel to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and then to AOPA headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., for a stop at Walter Reed Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. (about a 45-minute drive from the Frederick airport).
The FAA has authorized the flight to use the call sign “Saint Nick 1.” After the stop in Maryland, the tour then flies to New York City and on to Camp Speicher, Command Headquarters outside of Baghdad.
America’s Santa will deliver personalized Christmas cards from governors and senators from across the United States to the men and women from their respective states. Follow the flight on Facebook.
AOPA Director of Publications and Managing Editor for AOPA Pilot and Flight Training, Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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