Canadian NORAD Region names Santa’s escort pilots

News Article / December 8, 2014

From Canadian NORAD Region

The Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region (CANR) is set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada. Santa trackers, and four CF-18 pilots and their crews, have been selected for the high-profile mission.

Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu and Captain Steven "Bunt" Nierlich are Santa’s escort pilots from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec. Master Corporal Daniel Boucher and Master Corporal Marc-André David have been selected as the CF-18 Hornet crew chiefs to support the Bagotville pilots.

Major Yanick “Crank” Gregoire  and Captain Thomas “Toast” McQueen are Santa’s escort pilots from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. Corporal Sébastien Morin and Corporal Andrew Shields have been selected as the CF-18 Hornet crew chiefs to support the Cold Lake pilots.

Santa Trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron based at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, will also keep a watchful eye on Santa’s sleigh.

“Every day, every hour, the men and women of the Canadian NORAD Region keep watchful eyes over North American airspace,” says Major-General David Wheeler, the commander of CANR. “This capability also enables us to escort Santa safely into Canada on December the 24th. Ensuring that Santa’s worldwide journey of goodwill and cheer arrives safely and on time is a particularly gratifying mission for the dedicated men and women of CANR.”

Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on December 24, 2014, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.

Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to

Any time on December 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa.


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