subscribe button


Twas the Night (Aviation Style)

by Phyllis Moses

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
While peak gusts from two-zero reached 39 knots.
And I at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
Had just settled comfortably down on my butt.
When over the radio, there arose such a clatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.

A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Asked for clearance to land at the airport below.
He barked out his transmission so lively and quick,
I could have sworn the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Sure that it was only Horizon's late Dash.

Then he called his position, and there could be no denial,
"This is St. Nicholas One," and "I'm turning on final."
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
A Rutan Sleigh and eight Rotax reindeer.

He flew the approach, on glideslopes he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
Now Rengo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

Those last couple of fixes left controllers confused,
They called down to the office to give me the news,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa lands, could he please call the tower?"

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparkling,
Then I heard "Exit at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
So up to the offices the coursers they flew,
With loud airplane noise, and St. Nicholas, too.

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I had run out to him with my best set of chocks.

He was dressed all in fur, which was covered with frost,
And his beard was all blackened from reindeer exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he smoked on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
He had a broad face and his armpits were smelly,
And his boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fool,
And he kindly informed me that he needed some fuel.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his toes,
Led me to know he was desperate to powder his nose.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom with a sigh of relief,
And then picked up the phone for a flight service brief.
And I thought, as he silently scribed in his log,
That with Rudolph, he could land in eighth-mile and fog.

Next, he completed his preflight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell "Clear!"
And laying a finger on his push-talk,
He called up the tower for his clearance and squawk.
Straight out two-zero," the tower called forth,
"And watch for a Cessna straight in from the North."

But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he climbed in the night,
"Happy Christmas to all, I have traffic in sight."