Festive Fun: Santa Lands by Helicopter at Museum

Santa plans to arrive by helicopter at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire on December 9. Highlights include free treats, one-on-one visits, and the unveiling of the “Home of the Holidays” exhibit.

Scenes from Santa’s arrival last year at the Aviation Museum of N.H. [Jeff Rapsis/Aviation Museum of N.H.]

Does Santa’s sleigh run on horsepower or reindeer power? The point is moot this week, as the jolly old soul opts for an updated mode of transportation. Santa Claus will make a grand entrance at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in style—in a helicopter. 

The touchdown is scheduled for 11 a.m. right outside the museum. One can only assume the reindeer are resting up in anticipation of their most intense workday of the year later this month.

Families eager to witness Santa's unique arrival are encouraged to arrive by 10:45 a.m. and head to the landing observation area. After his arrival, Santa will be inside the museum to meet with children one-on-one until 1 p.m. From there, Santa will embark on an airport fire truck, courtesy of the Manchester Airport Fire Department, to his next appearance.

Children interacting with Santa will receive goodie bags from Santa's helpers, and the Common Man Roadside elves will be present, offering complimentary hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, and other treats for Santa's fans. The museum store will also be open, featuring unique gift ideas for aviation enthusiasts.

The event, rain or shine, promises a memorable experience for all attendees. In case of inclement weather preventing the helicopter's flight, Santa will arrive by fire truck.

Jeff Rapsis, the Aviation Museum's executive director, expressed excitement about continuing the annual tradition. "It’s become an annual tradition for Santa to visit us by helicopter, and we’re pleased to continue it this year," Rapsis said.

As a special treat, the Aviation Museum will be open free to visitors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 9. Following Santa’s departure, regular admission prices will apply from 1 to 4 p.m.

In conjunction with Santa's arrival, the museum will debut the "Home of the Holidays" exhibit. The exhibit will feature vintage World War II uniforms and posters on loan from the Wright Museum of World War II, also located in New Hampshire. The exhibit will run until Sunday, January 14, and showcase trees adorned with more than 1,000 aviation-related toys, vintage Barbie dolls, and hands-on toys for young children.

The museum, located at 27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, New Hampshire, is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Regular admission is $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 6-12, seniors 65 and over, and veterans/active military, with children 5 and under admitted free.

For more information, call (603) 669-4820. Follow the Aviation Museum on social media at www.facebook.com/nhahs.

Amy Wilder is managing editor for Plane & Pilot magazine. She fell in love with airplanes at age 8 when her brother-in-law took her up in a Cessna 172. Pretty soon, Amy's bedroom walls were covered with images of vintage airplanes and she was convinced she'd be a bush pilot in Alaska one day. She became a journalist instead, which is also somewhat impractical—but with fewer bears. Now she's working on her private pilot certificate and ready to be a lifelong student of the art of flying.

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