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The Pilot's Christmas Poem

John Coppinger
Date: 12/20/2016 7:00:42 AM


'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not Aztec, not Champ.
The fuel trucks nestled, all snug in their spots,
While north wind was gusting to 49 knots.

The aircraft were fastened to tie-downs with care
In hopes that come morning, they'd all still be there.
And I at the fuel desk, duties caught up,
Had just settled down with coffee in cup

When over the radio, came such a clatter
I turned down the squelch to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow
Asked for clearance to land at the airport below.

He made his transmissions both lively and quick
And I'm sure that the call sign he used was "Saint Nick."
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Sure that it was only Horizon's late Dash.

I peered at the sky seeking Nav lights on sled
I saw only one at the front it was red!
He called his position, and I heard him say,
"St. Nicholas here, inbound on my sleigh!"

He flew the approach, on glideslope he came,
As as he passed fixes, he called them by name
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now FAF Bacon!
On Comet! On Cupid!" (what pills was he takin'?)

The last of those fixes were bound to confuse,
So the Tower called me to deliver their views
The message they gave was both urgent and dour
"When Santa Claus lands, HE WILL PLEASE CALL THE TOWER!"

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
With "Exit at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He stepped from the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I had run out to give him my very last chock.

He was dressed all in fur, which was covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from chimney 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, his armpits were smelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fool,
And, smiling, informed me he needed some "fuel".

A wink of his eye and a turn on his toes,
He left for the washroom to powder his nose.
As he departed I wondered and saw
That my challenge was finding a fuel called . . . straw.

I thought for a while about passing this test
Then remembered a 'plane had arrived from out West
Just full of supplies for a stable quite near
The freight warehouse must contain straw for the deer!

So I went to the warehouse and warnings unheeded
Found and brought back what the nine reindeer needed.
When I got to the sleigh Santa beamed with relief,
Then went for a phone for a flight-service brief.

And I thought, as he silently wrote in his log,
That with Rudolph, he could land in a one-eighth-mile fog.
He finished his preflight, from front to the rear,
Then on with his headset. I heard him yell "Clear!"

And laying gloved finger upon his push-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Straight out on three-zero," the tower called forth,
"And watch for a Cessna inbound from the North."

I heard him exclaim, as he climbed in the night,

"Happy Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

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