'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,|
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.
The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.
When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.
He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.
He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax reindeer!
With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all the fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?
While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."
He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."
He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,|
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from reindeer exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.
He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.
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, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.
And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eight-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, 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-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"
He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."
'Twas the night before Christmas all over the place,|
When we were confronted by an old flying ace.
There was icing reported and turbulent air,
He said "File me a flight plan, I gotta get there."
Outside sat his aircraft all ready to run,
And the old man walked out to that P-51.
"bad weather's no problem," he silently mumbled,
The prop came to life. . . that big Allison rumbled.
He eased in the throttle, the roar shook the ground,
He taxied on out and he turned it around.
He went through the run-up and seemed satisfied,
Then he said to himself, "I'm in for a ride."
So he lined it up straight as he poured on the coal,
The tailwheel came up as he started to roll.
Up off the runway, he sucked up the gear,
And that mighty V-12 was all you could hear.
He screamed overhead with a deafening crack,
The blue flames were flying from each shiny stack.
He pulled up the nose and started to climb,
No ice on that airframe, it didn't have time.
On top of the weather with the levers all set,|
He looked up above him and saw a Lear jet.
With jet fuel and turbines there just ain't no class,
Gimmee pistons, and props and lots of avgas!
Now he was approaching where he wanted to go,
But weather had covered the runway with snow.
How will he land it? We just have to guess,
Because the only way in was a full I-L-S.
Then over the marker, he started his run,
The ceiling was zero, visibility. . . none.
Still going three hundred and he felt the need,
For an overhead break to diminish his speed.
Over the numbers he zoomed, along like a flash,
Pulled into his break, we just knew he would crash.
Oh, why do they do it on these kindof nights??
Then over the threshold, we saw landing lights.
"I'm on a short final with three in the green,
And I see enough runway to land this machine."
Then he tied down that Mustang, and they all hear him say..
"Next year, I'm stickin' with my reindeer and sleigh."