Santa leaves his sleigh and arrives by helicopter


Pablo Pinilla

Santa lands at the Hiller Aviation Museum.

Pablo Pinilla, Staff Writer

Santa Claus is coming to town but not in the usual way.

On the rainy morning of Dec. 1, Santa flew into the Hiller Aviation Museum by helicopter to bring Christmas joy to children and their families.

The Hiller Aviation Museum is an aircraft history museum at the San Carlos Airport. It was founded in 1998 by Stanley Hiller Jr., a helicopter and aircraft pioneer. The museum has many exhibits that focus on Northern California aviation history, and it contains many of Hiller’s experimental helicopters and aircraft.

The museum hosts several special events throughout the year, such as the Noon Years Eve celebration and the St. Patricks Day festival. This past weekend, the museum hosted an event called Santa Arrives by Helicopter.

Pablo Pinilla
The West Bay Community Band plays Christmas tunes before the Santa arrives.

Cheerful holiday music contributed to the overall festive mood of the event. The West Bay Community Band, a local ensemble, played popular Christmas songs, such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bells,” and more.

“Music [always] gives people a joyful experience, especially around the holidays … I feel like Christmas music makes everyone remember home and their childhood,” said Lisa Reynolds, a band member.

As the band struck up “Here Comes Santa Claus,” everyone made their way outside, despite the rain, to witness Santa arrival. Soon after, a helicopter flew overhead with Santa riding in the passenger seat. The helicopter made several passes over the crowd before landing a few hundred feet from the awaiting crowd of excited kids.

“We’ve been doing it [the event] for 20 years now … it’s kind of a … different way to bring Santa in. Instead of a sleigh, he has a helicopter,” said Willie Brown, the coordinator of the event.

Pablo Pinilla
The crowd waits for Santa to arrive.

Santa was helped down from the helicopter and led to his chair, which, to go with the theme of the museum, was a reused seat from a commercial airliner. Soon after, people began lining up to wait for a visit with Santa.

“The kids were really excited when we told them that we were going to see Santa come by helicopter … We also really like it [this event] because it’s low-key and not too big,” said Helen*, a parent who brought her kids to see Santa.

Despite the rain, Santa Arrives by Helicopter was a fun way to get into the holiday spirit with its mellow environment and festive spirit. For kids of all ages, this event was a reminder of the magic of the holiday season.

*Source wished to keep their last name anonymous.