Santa swaps sleigh for attack helicopter as Royal Navy visits Somerset schools

A member of the Royal Navy's Wildcat Force filled the role of Saint Nick for the festive flyby.

Santa Claus has traded his sleigh for an attack helicopter after school pupils were treated to a festive visit from the Royal Navy.

Carrying a crew member dressed as Kris Kringle, a Wildcat helicopter from RNAS Yeovilton toured seven primary schools across Somerset to spread “Christmas cheer”.

A member of the Royal Navy’s Wildcat Force, whose real name was not released, filled the role of Saint Nick for the festive flyby (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

Father Christmas and one of his elves, both played by Royal Navy personnel, waved from the aircraft before landing to greet the groups of excited children.

The festively-bearded aviator, whose name was not released, claimed Santa’s sleigh is “faster” than the 180mph helicopter but he was “saving the reindeers’ energy”.

Santa and one of his elves, as the Wildcat helicopter waits the background (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

“Thank you so much to my friends in the Fleet Air Arm who do such an excellent job all year round,” he said.

“It was lovely of them to fly me to visit all the schools. Yes, my sleigh is faster, but I’m saving the reindeers’ energy for Christmas Eve and the helicopter ride was a wonderful and magical experience!

Santa seated in the Royal Navy Wildcat as he flies over Somerset (MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

“I got to meet lots of children and their teachers and we had a lot of fun! And all the children told me they have been good this year, so I will be busy over Christmas delivering their presents. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!”

Wildcat helicopters are usually based on the Royal Navy’s frigates and destroyers and can be armed with missiles, torpedoes, and door-mounted machine guns.

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