Pilots Play Santa’s Elves With ‘Red Sleighs Over Montana’ Event
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - A group of private pilots will be taking off on December 19 to bring special gifts to Montana children as part of the annual ‘Red Sleighs over Montana’ event.
Bryan Douglass, one of the pilots of the Miss Montana aircraft that took part in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, told KGVO News about the project.
'Red Sleighs Over Montana' to Take Flight on December 19
“We have for the last several years done a project, and it's just been a ball,” began Douglass. “It's grown from just a few airplanes to a dozen or more and just a few days before Christmas, we load up private airplanes donated by their pilots and owners and we fly to, I think this year it's going to be 15 locations, from Conrad to Sandpoint.”
Douglass said the aerial visits are a treat for the children, but even more so for the pilots and participants in ‘Red Sleighs’.
“We deliver presents stocking stuffers and gifts of all kinds to kids in these communities and not only do the kids seem to have a great time but we pilots seem to have a great time, as well.
Each Pilot will Fly to a Different Destination Loaded with Toys and Gifts
Douglass said representatives in each community reach out to the ‘Red Sleighs over Montana’ organizers to alert them of specific needs.
“We usually have a local representative in each town, and that's really necessary because they have to organize and promote it, and also to find out about their specific needs,” he said. “What we're seeing this year is that times being what they are there have been a number of families we've learned about that have specific needs that are on hard times, and we're trying to meet some of that, but it just depends on somebody in that town who is interested contacts us.”
Douglass said the Santas, or pilots, will gather at Minuteman Aviation to spread out over the region delivering gifts and delighting children.
“So on December 19, we're going to muster at Minuteman Aviation,” he said. “I think right now we've got 12 aircraft and 15 destinations tentatively scheduled and we are planning to launch at 11:00 a.m. Of course, this is weather dependent. Santa’s reindeer are VFR (Visual Flight Rule) only and they only fly in good weather. So if the weather interferes we can slip it a day or two.”
Use the Email Address below to Contact 'Red Sleighs over Montana'
To contact the ‘Red Sleighs over Montana’ organization and submit a request for gift delivery, contact this email address: N24320@icloud.com, or send a check to the Museum of Mountain Flying at Box 16601, Missoula, MT 59808 with a notation for 'Red Sleighs'.