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Santa cleared for takeoff by FAA, will deliver gifts in eco-friendly, technologically advanced sleigh

December 24, 2010 |  1:00 pm

Right about now, Santa’s likely gearing up for his mad dash around the world, his flight path approved by authorities and his sleigh tricked out with the newest technology.

On Monday, St. Nick and his team got the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration for their “delivery mission.”

The sleigh, code-named “Santa One,” has been outfitted with satellite-based NextGen technology to help with cruising altitude, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement, and Rudolph’s nose will feature position-broadcasting avionics.

“Santa’s reindeer-powered sleigh is already energy-efficient, but the NextGen technologies will further reduce Santa One’s carbon hoofprint,” according to a government statement. “The shorter, faster routings means that Rudolph and the other reindeer will consume less hay, resulting in fewer greenhouse gases.”

Perhaps some of the eco-friendly suggestions that General Electric made last year to Claus & Co. became a reality.

The proposed sleigh included spray-on nano-coatings to prevent ice from building up on the super-light frame. That, as well as a smart cruise control function on the dashboard, will also help with fuel efficiency.

The OLED lights would run on thin-film batteries, featured alongside sodium batteries that store energy harvested by the reindeer. A 500-gigabyte holographic disc would record Santa’s long list of gift requests.

But some think the green makeover is a hoot, and not in a good way. A video poking fun at the California Air Resources Board -- using Mr. Claus' sleigh as a model -- has been making the rounds in the blogosphere. RELATED:

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-- Tiffany Hsu