December 24, 2019

Space-based Surveillance Saves North Pole Pilot Stuck in Chimney

The holiday season is a busy time, especially for cargo pilots as they deliver mail and packages to every corner of the world. All has been cheerful so far, except for one cargo pilot on a seasonal flight from the North Pole who ended up in a Claus-trophobic situation.

Early morning on December 24, 2019, a pilot who identified himself as Captain Kris Kringle found himself stuck in a chimney atop an old country home in a remote town north of Yellowknife. Captain Kringle claims that he was attempting to deliver some shiny packages addressed to the home when the unimaginable happened.

“I was following standard procedure, you see,” Captain Kringle explained. “I see when people are sleeping and know when they’re awake. In this particular circumstance, I didn’t want to disturb anyone, so I followed standard delivery protocol and attempted an entrance through the roof.”

That’s when things took a turn for the worse. What was supposed to be an expeditious delivery for the Captain quickly turned into an emergency when he found himself stuck in the chimney. “I might have had one too many cookies this year,” he added, with a jolly laugh.

An air traffic controller at NAV CANADA identified the incident after noticing that an aircraft registered as SANTA1 was paused for a little more than five seconds. “It’s not unusual for us to see this flight zip around our surveillance screens. When I saw it stopped, I had some concerns,” the controller said. “Good thing the aircraft was equipped with an ADS-B transponder, it allowed us to find his precise location.”

Using data accessed from Aireon’s space-based ADS-B surveillance system, Captain Kringle’s location was identified within minutes and local emergency services were dispatched to his aid.

“A special thank you going out to NAV CANADA and Aireon” Captain Kringle posted in a Tweet. “They saved Christmas.”

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