December 2002




Once again, Friends of Flying Santa is hard at work preparing for our annual helicopter flights to 32 lighthouses and USCG stations from Maine to New York. We have had a good year of fundraising events to help us with covering the costs of this New England tradition. Thanks to everyone that has participated in these events and the donations of others, we will be spreading the holiday spirit to over 50 CG units and over 500 children.

Our first day of flying will be done with the assistance of pilot Evan Wile of Weston, who has generously donated the services of his Jet Ranger helicopter for all our Massachusetts stops. Evan will be flying with Santa Dave Waldrip, Elf Sally Snowman and photographer Brian Tague. We will start off the day with a landing at Newburyport Harbor Light and will continue on to the following destinations: Annisquam Harbor Light, Boston Light, USCG Station Point Allerton, Scituate Light, Plymouth Light, USCG Station Cape Cod Canal, Nobska Point Light, West Chop Light, Brant Point Light, Chatham Light and Cape Cod Light.

Our second day of flights will cover the Rhode Island, Connecticut and NY stops. The helicopter service for this flight is being provided by another generous pilot, Glenn Hanson of Wilbraham, MA. Piloting along with Glenn in his Jet Ranger will be Lou Belloisy. Santa Dave, donning the red suit for a second day, will be joined by Brian as they head off to visit the hundreds of children expected at the following lights: Warwick, Prudence Island, Castle Hill, Point Judith, Lynde Point, Stratford Point, Eaton's Neck and Montauk.

Our final day of flights will cover New Hampshire and Maine. Santa will be accompanied by photographer Brian and, as always, we will be under the skilled hands of pilots Art Godjikian and LaRay Todd. Their new Agusta 109e will take us to the following lights: Portsmouth Harbor, Goat Island, Portland Head, Burnt Island, Pemaquid Point, Marshall Point, Owl's Head, Brown's Head, Fort Point, Dice Head, Bass Harbor Head and USCG Station Jonesport.




Santa lands at Clark's Point Light


Santa Claus landing by helicopter at a lighthouse in September? More than a few people were taken aback by this sight as they enjoyed a sunny morning stroll around New Bedford's Clark's Point Light on Saturday, September 21. But there he was, in the form of our newest pilot Evan Wile, landing directly in front of the light. Evan, with his wife, Lorena and daughters, Alyssa and Alexandra joining him as elves, was part of Friends of Flying Santa's participation in the 2002 International Lighthouse Conference in New Bedford, MA. Evan generously took on the role of pilot as well as Santa Evan successfully mastered the feat of flying while dressed in a long artificial beard and wig and a heavy winter weight costume. On hand to greet Santa were New Bedford's Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr., Art Motta, Director of Tourism and Marketing and a number of delighted children who were eager to get their Christmas requests in early. As a treat for the kids, Santa handed out candy canes and small balsa wood gliders. Fortunately, the challenge of finding candy canes in September was overcome with the help of the internet. Earlier in the week, board members Dave Waldrip, Jeremy D'Entremont and Brian Tague conducted a presentation on the history of Flying Santa as part of the conference's week of informative lighthouse programs. A special note of recognition goes out to our own Sally Snowman who played a key role in the organization of the conference.


By George Morgan

Well true to form, our Columbus Day lighthouse cruise proved a challenge for the Friends. Like our previous ventures this year, the weather would just not corporate. Faced with overcast skies, drizzle and high winds, 125 hardy souls boarded the MV Vista Jubilee for our 11:00 AM departure from Warren, RI. We had a slight delay in our departure due to an engine problem, but were soon on our way to our first lighthouse on Narragansett Bay. While our guests were enjoying the delicious buffet lunch, the ship's captain informed me that due to the rough seas in the lower part of the bay, portions of the route would have to be altered. This was necessary for safety reasons as well as avoiding seasickness amongst the passengers. After a sail around the lighthouses of Newport Harbor, we headed back up the bay. Throughout the cruise, our volunteers had been very busy selling raffle tickets for our Giant on board raffle (featuring over a $1000 worth of prizes), the very popular 50 - 50 raffle and the 2002 Lighthouse Adventure raffle. The Giant raffle had a lot of very happy winners. And our 50 -50 winner went home with $140.

The highlight of the afternoon was the drawing for our Lighthouse Adventure raffle. 4th prize of an overnight stay at the Race Point Lighthouse was won by T. Vasquez who just happened to be aboard for the cruise. The 3rd prize of a stay at the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis was won by Kathy Geary who also on board. The 2nd prize of a Massachusetts Bay lighthouse helicopter tour was won by Ronald Dubovick. Finally, the 1st prize of a lighthouse tour for six from Boston to Cape Ann on Nautical Adventure Charters RELENTLESS was won by Dorothy Leptich. Congratulations to all the winners. The rest of the afternoon was spent viewing the remaining lights on our voyage before we returned to the dock at 5 PM. As I took my place at the gangway to thank all of the guests who had joined us on the cruise, I was amazed at how many commented on their enjoyment of the day in spite of the adverse weather. These lighthouse lovers certainly know how to enjoy the lights no matter what the weather.



We would like to inform you of some recent Board of Trustee changes. Our long time associate and board member Norm Rogers has retired from the board. CWO Dave Waldrip, who has been a dedicated member of the Flying Santa team, as well as one of our Santas, since 1994, has come on board to fill the slot. We are also happy to announce the addition of Jeremy D'Entremont to our board. Jeremy is a writer and historian of lighthouses who maintains the informative website - - A Virtual Guide to New England's Lighthouses. Jeremy has had a long time interest in the Flying Santa tradition including the excellent video program he put together about the flights a few years back. We welcome both of these gentlemen and look forward to their continued support of the program.



Next year, Friends of Flying Santa will be taking a break from the lighthouse cruising business. Over the years, we have found ourselves competing with many other organizations (non-profit and commercial) that were also offering lighthouse cruises. It has become more and more difficult to sell enough tickets to make it a profitable fundraising venture. With the amount of work that is involved in producing these cruises we thought it might be wise to focus our efforts on more productive ventures. But fear not, we are not abandoning the idea of lighthouse exploring. Below are a few of the lighthouse adventures we are planning for next year. More specific information will be sent out after the first of the year.


For the fall of 2003, we are planning on a foliage/lighthouse excursion to Vermont. Plans are in the preliminary stage, but we hope to include stops at a few of Lake Champlain's lighthouses, as well as the fascinating Shelburne Museum, Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and other interesting sites. Stay tuned for more information.


Over the past few years, Friends of Flying Santa and Yankee Magazine have joined together in a unique partnership. Through their very popular Community Partnership program, we have been able to offer our friends subscriptions to the magazine at the discounted rate of $20 per year. Their regular rate is $24 per year. With each subscription order placed through the Friends, Yankee donates $8 to the Friends of Flying Santa. If you are interested in receiving or renewing Yankee Magazine please follow the link below. This also makes a great gift for your friends or family. Thanks for your support.

Yankee Magazine's Commmunity Partners




  • George Morgan, who you all know as one of our longtime Santas and President of Friends of Flying Santa, is recovering from successful knee replacement surgery. George should be ready to take on his Santa duties by the time the helicopter for our Maine trip is fired up.


  • It is the end of an era for Flying Santa and Wiggins Airways. Due to the ever increasing insurance costs for passenger charters, Wiggins has stopped offering this service and will no longer be available to fly our Christmas lighthouse trips. Wiggins Airways started flying Edward Rowe Snow on the Santa runs back in 1940 by plane. It was their helicopter that Mr. Snow used to make his first helicopter flight in 1946. This allowed him to personally deliver a doll to young Seamond Ponsart on Martha's Vineyard to make up for the one that had broken on the previous year's drop. We at the Friends are sorry to see this connection to Wiggins end. We are especially sad to be losing our longtime pilot Dale Hardy. Dale has been a part of the flights since the 1980's and has always added good humor and great spirits to our annual event. We want Dale to know that he will always be welcome at any of our landings. Especially, if he has trouble finding new sources for the holiday snacks that he regularly enjoyed along the route. Thanks for everything Dale!



  • A special thank you goes out to Art Godjikian, one of our NH/Maine pilots and a member of the New England Helicopter Council. Art put the word out to area pilots that the Friends were in need of helicopter services for our Massachusetts and RI/CT/NY flights. Evan Wile of Weston generously and enthusiastically stepped forward to fly our Massachusetts route. He also stepped forward to be part of the Friends participation in the International Lighthouse Conference this past September. Also stepping forward to assist us was pilot Glenn Hanson of Wilbraham. Glenn has kindly offered to fly us on the Rhode Island and Connecticut route. The outstanding community spirit of these pilots has ensured another year of Santa flights to New England's lighthouses and CG stations. Their generosity has saved our organization a great deal of expense and concern and for this we are extremely grateful.


  • We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of our 2002 Lighthouse Adventure Raffle:

 Boston to Cape Ann Lighthouse Cruise.
Courtesy Nautical Adventure Charters
Overnight stay with dinner & breakfast at Cape Cod's Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis, MA.
Courtesy of the Lighthouse Inn -
Overnight stay at the Race Point Lighthouse in Provincetown, MA.
Courtesy of the American Lighthouse Foundation -



  • Our sincerest thanks to the great sponsors and volunteers who assisted with our two lighthouse cruises this year. A special thanks to the great folks at Harbour Lights for all the wonderful collectibles that they so generously donated for our raffles, to the many units of the USCG who donated hats and patches, to Lighthouse Depot, Little Effort Shop, Dream Machine, Mass. Lobsterman's Association and to the many fine establishments who donated gift certificates for dinners and merchandise. Your continued support over the years is greatly appreciated. A special round of applause to the crew of volunteers who gave up their holidays and worked so hard on the cruises; Keith Allen, Lorraine Chafe, Charlie Cronk, Doug Morgan, Norm Rogers, Sally & Jay Snowman, Jillian Ward and the many others that came forward to perform various tasks throughout the year when called upon. Very special thanks to Mike Ferguson, Director of Marketing for the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Mike was able to line up 34 specialty coffee brewers who have each adopted a lighthouse on our route. They will be sending along a gift pack to be included in each of our traditional station boxes. Coffee, tea & hot chocolate have been a staple in the boxes since the first flight in 1929. Thank you one and all.


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