Each Christmas season a group of pilots and volunteers visit lighthouses and coast guard facilities up and down the coast of New England bringing gifts to the children. This "Flying Santa" tradition began in 1929 when pilot Bill Wincapaw of Rockport, Maine, the pilot of a float plane that delivered mail, medicine, and other essentials to remote coastal communities became lost in a fierce winter storm. With his compass malfunctioning and running desperately low on fuel, he was eventually guided home by a series of lighthouses along Pennobscott Bay. To show his gratitude, he and his ten-year-old son dropped floatable bundles full of presents to the families of the lighthouse keepers on Christmas Day. The keepers were so appreciative that Wincapaw decided to make it an annual tradition adding new lighthouses each year. And that tradition lives on today, over seventy-five years later.
Author: Joe McHugh | Reading Level: 6-8 years old | Page Count: 31