I've ridden all of these but Air. I'm torn between Tatsu and Manta. The location of Tatsu on the "mountain" at Magic Mountain gives a great feeling of height that no other flying coaster can match, but Manta has such an incredible queue. I finally decided on Tatsu because it comes the closest to feeling like you're flying due to the placement of the coaster in the park.
Between Manta and Tatsu, I have done a little bit of research... Manta has better theming, a slightly better layout, perhaps more airtime, but Tatsu is longer and taller, and has the benefit of just being "up high" which seems appropriate for this type of ride. Overall though, it appears Manta offers a more complete package and will get my vote today.
I am anxious to ride both coasters... maybe Tatsu this year... maybe Manta in 2013 (presuming New Fantasyland is done so I can head back to Orlando). We'll see.
I'm really looking forward to riding Manta on my Orlando trip later this year. I've heard so many good things about it.
I now like flyers, although I hate the longer-than-average lines, which are a direct result of the ultra-slow loading procedures. Unfortunately, I've only been on one of these, Superman, although I've ridden it at three parks. So that's where my vote had to go. That being said, I much prefer Vekoma's flyer layouts and elements, having been on Batwing and FireHawk..which, oddly, were the two that messed with my head so much in the "beginning."
Tatsu was good, but wasn't great. I have a soft spot for Air, when it first opened it was probably the coaster that started my obsession (Nemesis as well, which should've won best inverted IMHO).
But Manta... I love Manta, it's possibly my favourite coaster.
I don't believe I can answer that question without additional, uh, research. (Looks to see if Magic Mountain's open today. No? Darn.)
It's definitely bottom of the list here, (I voted for Manta), but we have to remember Air was the first of its kind. Alton Towers both scores and fails with all its 'World Firsts'. It scores because, well, it has a number of genuine first-in-the-world coasters: Th13teen is (until Verbolten) the world's only coaster with a genuine drop element; Oblivion was the first vertical drop coaster in the world; and Air was the first 'proper' flying coaster in the world. You have to give the park kudos for doing this - for constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Can any other park claim as many firsts? BUT, and it's a big 'but'... As is the nature of pioneering things almost inevitably as soon as you introduce something to the world someone else works out a way of making it bigger/better/more intense/more themed or whatever...
So.... Air doesn't compare with any of the subsequent flying coasters BUT, (and it's a big 'but'), when you ride it you are riding the original AND it's actually a pretty decent, fun ride. It really does give you the sense of flying without terrifying the bejasus out of you, (it's actually a family coaster, not a thrill machine like Manta or Tatsu). Got to love it, got to respect it, but like an old fashioned steam engine it's been superseded....
Having said all that..... Air looks pretty cool. I like the fact that it goes near the ground and through the landscape and over the walkways.
Manta was down all day on our last Sea World visit (so was Kraken and the water ride). We definitely picked a bad day visit if you want to get a few thrills in.
Apparently, we are visiting Discovery Cove again in June 2012. The good news is, free tickets to SW and BGT. I am definitely purchasing QuickQueue this time around.
Hopefully, I can get a ride on Manta this time...
Then, the scenery's not nearly as nice as on Manta or Tatsu, as well.
As for Manta vs. Tatsu, I may be wrong since I have not been on Manta, but I think this would probably be a good comparison: Tatsu is the better coaster, but Manta has a better environment.
Thinking Hippogriff, Gadget, Wille Coyote and other could be interesting