When the North American Aerospace Defense Command isn't busy monitoring the sky for missile attacks, space invaders and drug-smuggling planes in President Obama's air space, they're outright stalking dutifully tracking Santa Claus.
- Where Santa Claus was last spotted.
- Where Santa Claus is headed next.
- How many presents have been delivered so far.
At the time of publication the big man in red was leaving Cape Town, South Africa and heading to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. 3,183,123,460 had been delivered.
- Interactive north pole-themed page with dozens of kid and reindeer-friendly games.
- Houses a host of hidden games and challenges.
- Why does NORAD track Santa?
- When will Santa arrive at my house?
- Does Santa visit everyone (i.e. Afghanistan, Israel, non-Christian countries)?
- How can Santa travel the world within 24 hours?
- How does Santa get down chimneys?
- Do your planes ever intercept Santa?
2012 NORAD Tracks Santa (HD)
ORIGIN STORY of NORAD's 50+ year tradition of tracking Santa goes like this:
The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.
Mark J. Terrill/AP
President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at LAX, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Obama left Los Angeles Thursday after a series of campaign fundraisers.
For breaking temporary no-fly zones in restricted areas, NORAD dispacted F-16 fighter jets to intercept three general aviation aircraft this week during President Barack Obama's short fundraising trip to Los Angeles.
On Thursday morning, two F-16 fighters, under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, intercepted a single engine Cessna 206 around 9:00 am, and a single engine Cherokee PA 28 at approximately 9:30 am PDT.
On Wednesday, an F-16 fighter jet intercepted a Cessna 117 northwest of Los Angeles around 4:50 p.m. forcing the plane to land at Camarillo.
The FAA is investigating the incidents, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer in an email statement to the Associated Press.
Previous planes to violate the president's protected airspace include:
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama makes his way aboard Air Force One.
A plane violated President Obama's protected airspace Friday and was intercepted by F-16s dispatched by NORAD.
Obama was leaving LAX (where he had arrived by helicopter from Cheviot Hills) this morning on Air Force One when the incident occurred, notes the L.A. Times.
Two military jets were sent in to respond to the breach of restricted space. "Fighters responded to a temporary flight restriction violation by a Piper 28 aircraft," NORAD said in a statement.
The jets intercepted the interloping aircraft and followed it, without incident, until it landed around at approximately 9:50 a.m. where it was greeted by local law enforcement.
This is the second time restrictions to the president's airspace were disregarded in the L.A. area this year. The previous situation involved a Cessna that picked the wrong week to allegedly smuggle drugs.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
A small plane picked the wrong week to smuggle drugs into LA.
As President Barack Obama was returning to Los Angeles International Airport aboard Marine One, a plane carrying drugs broke the temporary no-fly zone prompting a swift military reaction, NBC News is reporting.
The president was reportedly never in danger. However, the same may not be true of the single-engine Cessna 182 that found itself surrounded by NORAD fighter jets.
F-16s out of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County intercepted the small plane and followed it "without incident," according to a NORAD statement, to the Long Beach Airport, where marijuana was discovered inside the aircraft by authorities.