2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best B&M Flying Coaster?

January 30, 2012, 8:25 AM · Bolliger & Mabillard roller coasters consistently score among the top-rated roller coasters in Theme Park Insider's reader ratings. Today in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament, we're going to select our favorite of the company's Flying Coaster models.

Voting is open for 24 hours, and you're invited to campaign for your favorite by rallying votes on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments.

Air - at Alton Towers


Manta [link includes on-ride video] - at SeaWorld Orlando


Superman - Ultimate Flight - at Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Over Georgia

Superman - Ultimate Flight

Tatsu - at Six Flags Magic Mountain


Tomorrow: We'll vote on the best high-speed indoor rides.

Replies (20)

January 30, 2012 at 8:41 AM · How could you forget Firehawk at King's Island?
January 30, 2012 at 9:16 AM · I voted the way of the UK a few days ago with Nemesis...Today my loyalty dies in the face of Manta. I just can't vote against it - its amazing.
January 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM · @first poster: Firehawk is not a B&M coaster. It is a flying coaster made by Vekoma, so it doesn't qualify for this category.

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.

January 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM · I gotta agree with Todd... from watching the youtube videos (I have not ridden any of these coasters), Tatsu and Manta are clearly the head of the class. Superman seems like an afterthought (in need of a paint job) and Air looks awful, like you are alternately swooping over a trash dump and a sewer - yuck!

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.

January 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM · In addition to not being a B&M, Firehawk is AWFUL. I'm pretty sure they designed it to keep the sun in your eyes as much as possible.

I'm really looking forward to riding Manta on my Orlando trip later this year. I've heard so many good things about it.

January 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM · The first couple of times I rode a flyer (both Vekoma) they totally messed with my well-being..I was psychologically and physically affected in a negative way. I had trouble collecting myself after riding, even to the extent that a Geauga Lake employee had to check to see if I was alright. Then, a few years ago, I decided I had to get over this, and set aside some time at Great Adventure solely to ride Superman:Ultimate Flight multiple times. It worked.

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."

January 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Haven't been on Superman, but out of the other 3 Manta is head and shoulders above the rest.

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.

January 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Mike, you owe it to yourself as a coaster fan to try Manta or Tatsu sometime - which I've found both to be silky-smooth coasters with an exhilarating ride. They are different, as others have mentioned in this thread. But that just means you really ought to try both. I am not a fan of head-messing coasters, but the B&M Flyer remains one of my favorite models.
January 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM · So, Robert, which do you prefer? Manta or Tatsu...and why?
January 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM · (Whistles...)

I don't believe I can answer that question without additional, uh, research. (Looks to see if Magic Mountain's open today. No? Darn.)

January 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM · It seems odd to me to make it brand specific to B & M Flying Coasters.... although I guess they make most of them (and probably the best of them)..... but none of the other categories have really been brand specific I don't think so maybe that is why it seems odd..... (you know, like the suspended coaster catogory was not called the best B & M suspended..... although all the nominees probably were).
January 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM · I feel I have to make a comment about Air.

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....

January 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM · An intriguing dodge of your journalistic duties, Mr. Niles! However, I find your excuse to be less "hard-bitten" and more "hard-to-swallow". ;)
January 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM · I stand corrected (please forgive me for not noticing until now). I did not realize that in the previous catogories it was being brand specific..... such as Inverted Coaster and Hyper. For some reason I noticed it this time..... maybe because our home park.... Carowinds has one of the few flyers not made by B & M.... and even though I don't think it is winner material in this category..... it was automatically not eligible for this category due to the B & M specification. I just thought it would be like.... Best Flyer Category, or Best Inverted, etc. so it did not matter which company made it..... but I do realize a lot of times one company has claimed the largest part of the market in that category.

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.

January 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Where's the love for Superman? The slower nature of these coasters is what I like about them. The inverted roll was like nothing else the first time I rode it...

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...

January 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM · My biggest beef with Superman (rode it in Chicago), was that position of the seat and head rest forced your head down, looking at the ground, instead being angled slightly to allow you to look comfortably ahead a bit, as Manta's does.

Then, the scenery's not nearly as nice as on Manta or Tatsu, as well.

January 30, 2012 at 6:36 PM · I've been on Superman-Ultimate Flight (SFGAdv version) and Tatsu. As far as Superman goes, it was fun until after the pretzel loop, then it got pretty boring. Even though the line was only 15 minutes with a Gold FlashPass, I couldn't be bothered to ride it more than twice. Tatsu, on the other hand, is not only the best steel coaster in California, but one of my top five steel coasters overall. I ride it at least once each time I visit the park, even when the line is 90 minutes (as it can be sometimes).

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.

January 30, 2012 at 6:48 PM · ^^^Maybe Someday...
January 30, 2012 at 8:53 PM · @Robert Niles: Where is the Kiddie Coaster Group for the Tournament?

Thinking Hippogriff, Gadget, Wille Coyote and other could be interesting

January 31, 2012 at 2:12 AM · How could Tatsu be losing by such a big amount of votes?

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