NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. -- Over two hours Saturday morning, Santa Claus traveled across Hampton Roads in aboard an MH-60S Navy helicopter, waving to delighted families below.
It was the third annual Santa Flight put on by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 2 (HSC-2), also known as the Fleet Angels.
With the side door of the helicopter slid open, Santa (joined by one of his elves) appeared a few weeks early, above all seven Hampton Roads cities.
“It’s pretty neat to see him fly over and see him in a different aspect," said Chelsey Hall, who, along with dozens of others, brought her children to Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach to catch the flight.
It's a tradition that began in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when HSC-2 was forced to cancel its annual Christmas party. The Santa Flight quickly became a hit around the region with pilots and other personnel giving up a couple of hours on a Saturday in the name of a little spirit.
“The flying part is just part of the job," said Lt. Jamel Lawson, the pilot for this year's Santa Flight, said Friday. "The fun part about this is the fact that we’re able to spread joy around the area.”
In addition to Mount Trashmore, the flight also appeared above the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, malls in Chesapeake and Newport News, and other notable locations.