This year we have used SIMULIA XFlow CFD to determine whether Santa could fly without his beloved reindeers. (just don't ask me to mention all their names)
In order to determine whether Santa could fly like superman, we have created a virtual windtunnel study and used some assumptions. We have tried many iterations, but the best angle of attack seemed to be 20 degrees in order to create the most amount of lift.
Looking at the results we have found out, that in order to lift Santa (assuming a weight of 100 kg), we come to a quite high airspeed over 275m/s which passes the speed of sound. As we don't want santa to go through the sound barrier, as that will wake up all the kids, we need to come up with some alternatives.
Either Santa would need to loose some weight, because for 275m/s the upward lift is around 7500 N, meaining that Santa needs to get rid of 25kg of weight.
(Figure showing Santa's Fy = approx 7500N)
Losing weight would be a pity, as he will most likely ditch the gifts that are in the bag, in order to spare the weight, and trying to put him on a diet doesn't work that fast. I wouldn't even like the exposure of a Santa that would have lost 25kg of body weight.
The ground effect that he will get if he will fly really low will also help him somewhat, but unfortunately not sufficiënt.
Loosing the giftbag would be aerodynamically better as well as stretching his toes and loosing his belly. He could also use a wingman suit to create more projected suface and fly at way lower speeds.
Unfortunately for Santa, as he is quite a traditional guy, he decided to get rid of his superman aspirations, and ask his magic flying reindeers to carry him, and all his presents on his beautiful sleigh. It is all magic that does the trick here.
From the Simuleon team we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
Enjoy your holidays, and we look forward engaging with you in 2020 again.