Published: July 31, 2014 at 7:46 PM

I have had the good fortune to go on AIR, and the time warp.. when it was still tomb raider.
I love air.

Time warp however caused me immense amounts of pain, the pressure of my entire body weight bearing down on chest with the pressure being right on top of my rib cage, just below my throat made for a truly horrible ride.

I have been on rides that have broken down, that have had me stuck in areas i haven't to be in and even had a rides safety system break while i was dangling upside down (secondary system saved my a*& there) and i have still ridden all of them again since... but not time warp it is a horrible ride.

in my opinion

Published: July 31, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Great read. I know B & M usually makes coasters that are perceived as the best. I'm curious though.... do you think it is more intense / better to go up the lift hill on your back and be flipped at the top to do the flying (like with Nighthawk) or going up the lift hill already flying (like superman, etc.)?
Court E

Published: August 1, 2014 at 9:03 AM

I was lucky enough to ride "Stealth" at Great America and "Flying Coaster" at Elitch Gardens, when both coasters were new and referred to as "the first" flying coasters in the world. It was quite amusing to see Elitch Gardens advertise their coaster as "the first" since it opened both after Vekoma and B&M installations were in place.

When Stealth opened, it finally captured some synergy with the surrounding area (Silicon Valley) by showcasing new technology. It even had some synergy when the former National Lacrosse League, The San Jose Stealth, were still playing in the area. It wasn't themed, but it totally fit the area and it was sad to see the ride go after only 3 years. The loading was abysmal with that harness system Vekoma developed. It was the smoothest Vekoma I've ever been on though. I usually give the company a thumbs down when it comes to their rough designs, but this particular coaster when I rode it was like riding on glass.

Flying Coaster at Elitch Gardens was interesting. Again, when this coaster opened it was advertised as "the first flying coaster" which I happened to ride while wearing my "Stealth" T-Shirt. The cage contraption Zamperela designed is actually extremely fast loading compared to the system used by B&M and Vekoma, but it also is not comfortable and causes quite a few problems with chest pain. The lift hill is simply billed as awesome, as there are no chains as you spiral up with the constantly rotating arm that catches the trains on approach. If Zamperela trains offered more padding and less hard plastic to lay on it could make for a far more comfortable experience. I don't think anyone in Colorado noticed when this ride was removed though. The Zamperela compact design makes it a gimmick that would work at a seaside park or fair perhaps, but not as permanent installation at a true theme park.

Bobbie Butterfield

Published: August 1, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Very interesting and well-researched article. It is making me reconsider whether I really want to make the trip to Six Flags America - a park I've never visited - just to have something to do on my 63rd birthday. From what I can see, the park doesn't have much in the way of aggressive thrill rides compared with Six Flags GAD or Six Flags GAM. Batwing would almost seem obligatory and from what you say about the restraints and the riding position, I suspect that riding it would be more of a chore than a pleasure. If Superman:Ultimate Flight is an improvement over Batwing, as you imply, it doesn't say much about the latter. I absolutely hated Superman at SFGAD, not only for the unconventional riding position but for the feeling that I was going to pitch forward and fall out of the train on the lift hill.
David Brown

Published: August 1, 2014 at 12:54 PM

I've only ridden two flying Coasters - Air and Manta, and I have to say both are amongst my favourite coasters anywhere.

Two years ago my wife and I were finding ourselves a little less resilient than we used to be, and not enjoying some coasters that just felt 'rough'. I began to wonder if I was just getting too old for coasters generally, maybe not enjoying the G-forces as much as I used to. And then we rode Manta.....

Despite it being amazingly forceful at the bottom of the pretzel loop I totally loved it. It made me feel free and alive again like coasters used to..... I find the flying position relatively comfortable and never get bored of doing my 'superman' impression.

For me, B&M got it exactly right with this design and I'd love to see more flying coasters around the world...

Dwayne Kilbourne

Published: August 5, 2014 at 4:47 PM

While the Vekoma flyers are not the best coasters in the world, they certainly are not the worst. We've ridden on 2 of the 3, and we like that they incorporate a good number of ride elements. Of course, we love B&M coasters. In the case of their flyers, we do like them, but there are a few frustrations. Unlike Vekoma's, the Superman Ultimate Flight coasters are a one-trick pony. Sure, the pretzel loop is amazing and intense, but the ride basically coasts back to the loading station after that. While we have not been on Manta and Tatsu, we'd like to see longer flyer rides with an array of ride elements. Maybe the future includes more improvements in this category, or maybe the future holds no new flyers. Either way, give each manufacturer a ride and enjoy the differences, if only for one lap on each!