The Aerodynamic Santa Sleigh Takes Flight!

Santa Sleight Merry Christmas

In view of the current worldwide pilot shortage, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 18,000 job openings each year over the decade for pilots. Well, aren’t we fortunate that Santa is a seasoned pilot with his own non-polluting aircraft who need not endure arduous hours of initial training or mandatory recurrent training! Santa has no shortage of elf ramp agents either. And capricious fuel costs will never impact the viability of his carrot-fueled reindeer who propel the Santa sleigh at an astonishing 650 miles per second.

Beat that, Maverick, you Mach-mocking daredevil!

So how exactly does the Santa sleigh achieve this miraculous feat every Christmas? Let us investigate the aerodynamics (read “magic”) of the glowing Santa sleigh.

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How Outdoor Reindeer Come to Bring Christmas into Our Homes

Christmas wrapping paper with reindeer

We can understand how Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus came to represent the generous spirit of Christmas. He is a saint, after all. But the little town of Bethlehem isn’t particularly well known for its population of outdoor reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) grazing about. So why did Santa choose that particular hoofed beast to steer his sleigh on Christmas Day?

Could it be because this graceful animal, used as a beast of burden in the regions near the Arctic Circle, is the only deer species that can be domesticated? Or perhaps because Santa doesn’t want to share his Christmas cookies? After all, outdoor reindeer like to eat moss, herbs, ferns, grasses, shoots, and leaves. Their favorite food is lichen—a moss-like fungi. Better not bake lichen cookies for Christmas, or you’ll have reindeer thundering down your chimney instead!

Kidding aside, there are many fun facts you can learn about reindeer. Here are just a few:

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