Specs Revealed for World's Tallest, Fastest, Longest Coaster

January 3, 2021, 2:38 AM · Planning has begun for what developers are calling the world's fastest, tallest, and longest roller coaster. The Falcon’s Flight is set to anchor the new Six Flags Qiddiya park that is now scheduled to open in 2023. Six Flags and its development partner, Qiddiya Investment Company, first announced the coaster in 2019, but today's announcement provides some specs for the record-setting thrill ride.

The Falcon’s Flight "will travel across approximately 4km, feature a vertical cliff dive maneuver into a 160m-deep valley using magnetic motor acceleration (LSM technology), and achieve unprecedented speeds of 250+ km/h," Qiddiya said in its press release. Translating to Imperial units, that means a top speed over 155 mph and a length of approximately 2.5 miles, or more than 13,000 feet. The 160-meter valley would be about 525 feet.

Close-up of The Falcon's Flight, from Qiddiya concept art of the resort core.

For comparison, the current world record holder for fastest coaster is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which reaches a top speed of 149 mph. The height record belongs to Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka at 456 feet. And the length honor goes to Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land at 8133 feet.

Intamin Amusement Rides is designing the coaster, which will carry 20 passengers in each train and include three electromagnetic propulsion launch systems "as well as panoramic views of Six Flags Qiddiya and the Resort Core" on its three-minute ride, according to the company.

The Falcon's Flight concept art

"I will never forget the moment when I was standing at the edge of the 200-meter-high cliff on the Tuwaiq Mountain in Qiddiya, looking into the valley and imagining the creation of a future record-setting roller coaster," Intamin Vice President Design & Development Daniel Schoppen said in the press release. "I knew that exactly at this spot, The Falcon Flight will dive down along the cliff, ending in a unique exhilarating 250+ km/h proximity flight close to the ground. The worldwide unique setting and heights such as the natural cliff will enable us to design an architectural masterpiece in steel."

Philippe Gas, the former head of Disneyland Paris who is now CEO of Qiddiya said, "Rollercoaster fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating this ride since it was announced, as there is nothing quite like it anywhere else. Now we are in the design stage with the experts at Intamin and the engineering team at Six Flags, the excitement is building! Falcon’s flight will dominate the skyline at Qiddiya, weave all the way around our destination, right out of the theme park, up the cliffside, and down the cliff face – the greatest drop of any ride in the world; it won’t be for the fainthearted!"

Six Flags Qiddiya is set to open in Qiddiya's first phase, which is scheduled to debut in 2023 southwest of Riyadh on a site that spans 366 sq. km. The theme park will cover 79 acres and offer 28 rides and attractions across six themed lands, according to the company.

Replies (23)

January 3, 2021 at 9:37 AM

Look, Intamin is insane (and also my favorite manufacturer by some distance) but no chance this can be real..... Surely these specs are going to be dialed down over time, this sounds like someone pushing the boundaries of No Limits, not an actual ride that sane people build.... I mean, I'm excited to see them try but it has to be a pipe dream, right?

January 3, 2021 at 9:43 AM

Too bad this is being built in Saudi Arabia! I won't be going there any time soon and hopefully most stay away as well.

January 3, 2021 at 2:57 PM

I can't believe this project is actually happening, and I'm still going to be highly skeptical until the steel is going up. That said, if it does indeed come to fruition, I can believe Intamin would be the manufacturer to take it on. They're the only company I could see crazy enough to build something as tall or fast as this ride, and while they always say "never say never," I don't see this one being eclipsed in any of its stats for a long, long time.

January 3, 2021 at 4:33 PM

I have no idea if this is ‘real’ or not but assuming it is it’s a shame as the fact that it will be in Saudi Arabia means that it will only ever be ridden by a minority of theme park enthusiasts. Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive regimes on the planet and the idea that building a record breaking coaster is going to cause the world to beat a path to its door is laughable. Unless and until SA reforms it will remain off limits for most westerners.

January 3, 2021 at 5:02 PM

The biggest question I have about this is why Phillipe Gas wanted to be involved, reminds me of Joel Manby leaving a great job for a really bad one.

January 3, 2021 at 6:04 PM

Just wondering who this theme park is targeted at. The UAE has so far failed in attracting a large international crowd to their parks, and they are far more moderate than Saudi. I know that Saudi has marketed themselves (often via ""influencers"") as being a viable holiday destination to westerners, and they're becoming slightly more "moderate", but I can't see them attracting enough international interest to make this viable, and I wouldn't have thought they have the local population to make it work either.

Maybe there's something I'm missing, but these parks seem doomed for failure.

January 3, 2021 at 9:58 PM

FWIW, in some parts of the world (including sometimes in the United States), with backing from certain sources, businesses do not need to make money to exist.

January 3, 2021 at 10:30 PM

I'm joining in how I'll only believe it's real when I see folks riding on it, just seems too good to be true.

January 4, 2021 at 12:21 AM

Robert, maybe include the name of the country in the article? I was considering googling it but thanks to fellow posters I now know I'll most likely never visit this dangerously homophobic, women oppressing and discriminating "destination".

January 4, 2021 at 9:20 AM

I don't think I will be riding this either, keep in mind Robert Niles Mohammed bin Salman had a journalist dismembered with a bone saw because he did not agree with his news reporting!

January 4, 2021 at 9:26 AM

If they do end up building this ride I would hope that this site shows a bit more integrity and not go visit. I don't mind missing out from seeing parks from such a horrible place. It's bad enough you went to the UAE!

January 4, 2021 at 12:35 PM

This seems very pie in the sky, and all of the promotional videos and construction footage will not convince me that it is real until a train actually runs a complete circuit through this fantastical track. Even with that, Intamin has a well-known history of building coasters that can complete test runs, but pull forces untenable to most human bodies, so until real people are racing on this coaster at 150+ MPH, I'm not even giving a second thought to this ridiculous pipe dream from the Saudis.

As far as I'm concerned, this is nothing more than a No Limits project from some pandemic-bored teenager trolling for Instagram followers.

January 4, 2021 at 2:29 PM

This park, and this project, fit very nicely into Saudi Arabia's overarching goal — using things like sports (Formula 1, global soccer, etc.) to launder its (as seen in the comments) Not Very Good Image. This is a pretty good article on the subject for those interested: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/20/sports/soccer/spain-soccer-saudi-arabia.html

I'm not naive enough to believe that building a Six Flags in Riyadh or racing a Ferrari through a closed circuit is going to "export human rights," and everyone has to find their own line for what they will and will not consume from an ethical standpoint. It's worth considering where that line is for you and if that's what's making it so easy to swear off a visit to the country.

The United States has done (and continues to do!) horrific, shameful things both internally (look into the voting rights act!) and abroad (check out Drone Strikes [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-un-rights/u-n-expert-deems-u-s-drone-strike-on-irans-soleimani-an-unlawful-killing-idUSKBN2472TW]) yet it would be strange if the world opposed hosting an Olympics or World Cup in our borders. That doesn't mean ignoring the truly despicable acts done by other countries, it's important and good to be informed.

I do think that given the whole /capitalism/ thing, it's also worth remembering that there is no purely ethical choice. This coaster will almost certainly be built in some form or fashion because having these records is another great bullet point on the brochure; whether you ever ride it ... well, right. But money has done a lot for the country (and also any other wealthy country!) and this is a byproduct of that system.

January 4, 2021 at 5:08 PM

Never do risky things in a country without tort law. This thing flies off the track and kills your mom, they give free popcorn and kick you out of the country.

January 5, 2021 at 8:20 AM

The train cars, as depicted in the photo appear to have windshields make it look particularly dopey. Perhaps that's to stop burkas from falling off... but I'm not even sure that women would be allowed to ride anyway... this is Saudi Arabia, after all.

January 5, 2021 at 8:56 AM

A lot of xenophobia here sadly. While I’m no fan of Saudi we should remember that every country has its faults. Take the USA for example - a country where millions of its indigenous population was slaughtered, where tens of thousands die every year because of guns, where thousands of women are killed by men every year, where black people live in fear of the police shooting them, and the only developed country without universal healthcare.

January 5, 2021 at 11:07 AM

It says it does 155 mph! OK, that seems absurd. Free fall speed near the earth is only 118 mph. To get that speed, they must be powering the coaster. Now, think about the wind in your eyes. Will they provide goggles? Think what a speck of dust could do to your eye(s). No, I won't be going to Saudi Arabia for this ride.

January 5, 2021 at 3:09 PM

GTFO with that ****, comparing freedoms and justices in the USA to Saudi Arabia is a ridiculous comparison. Saudi Arabia operates under Sharia Law and doing things against the muslim faith, such as being gay or looking at porn, or even having sex when not married, can result in life imprisonment and even being lashed. In the USA you can do pretty much anything you want, even go anywhere you want without a mask in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government isn't going to do anything.

January 5, 2021 at 11:16 PM

it's really interesting that you think being able to engage in reckless behavior that kills people is a tentpole of freedom. or, it would be interesting if the xenophobia wasn't so obvious and desperately boring.

January 6, 2021 at 9:55 AM

I am absolutely not endorsing not wearing a mask and you know that. Saudi Arabians are living under a government without rule of law, and what we have seen in the last few months in the USA is that the system, the courts, etc are stronger than one crazy man who wants to take power. Trump was defeated in an election and there is no evidence of voter fraud, so Biden is taking over on January 20 and all 60 of Trumps lawsuits were thrown out by the courts. Saudi Arabia has a crown prince with absolute power and no elections. So its basically the USA is the exact opposite of Saudi Arabia in a good way. I've been to over 30 countries, I don't know your experiences but the USA is lightyears ahead of the Sharia law countries when it comes to human rights. I'm not qualified to make a dissertation on whether the USA's drone strikes are justified or not but considering Obama did not end them, or bring all of the troops out of those areas like he campaigned that he wanted to, shows me that there is a high likelihood that if the forces do retreat that those countries will be taken over by ISIS. I think the likelyhood of Obama being a war monger is extremely low.

January 6, 2021 at 9:52 AM

Also back on the topic of the roller coaster with people saying it may not be possible to have a safe ride like this, I definitely think they can make a ride like this but as always it comes down to the economic factors. The developers actually need to foot the bill which is what kills most projects like this.

That being said the Saudi Government is funding this which gives people confidence that its going to happen. If it does happen, like Robert previously said, I would be shocked if it is profitable. Maybe Six Flags will make some money off the licensing and management fees but the Saudi Government will lose tons of money off of this. The cost of not only building but even moreso maintaining and operating a project like this would be astronomical. In order for a destination like this to work you basically have to do everything right: just look at Disney in Hong Kong. A way more established tourist destination and the most established theme park brand in the world, isn't even profitable. Taking into account Intamin's track record on reliabilty of record breaking coasters, Six Flags reputation on running parks (even ones they are just hired to design and manage like Madrid), and the fact that the Saudi's will be losing money on this...i'd say grab the popcorn.

January 6, 2021 at 12:30 PM

Let's be frank here...This isn't the first, nor will it be the last time a high profile business transaction involving the Saudis will be criticized. In no way is it xenophobic to point out the oppressive, elitist regime of Saudi Arabia (and other similarly governed nations for that matter like Venezuela, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and others), and arguing hypocrisy from those that compare KSA conditions with those in democratic (though often flawed) nations is absurd.

The Saudis are on the world's "black list" for a reason, and simply trying to get in the West's good graces through these capitalistic-looking business transactions like attempting to purchase Newcastle United FC, buying exclusive rights to WWE events, or building the world's tallest, fastest roller coaster will not erase or repair their historical record on basic human rights.

There are places in the world where all people are not treated equal, but many of those communities recognize their flaws and are trying to find ways to fix them. The Saudis are just trying to buy shiny objects to distract the rest of the world away from the way they view the human race and have given no indication that these business transactions are a conduit for change as they have been (to a certain extent) in other similarly oppressive countries (like China and the UAE).

January 6, 2021 at 5:19 PM

I don't know if y'all watch the news (the drone strike comment makes me think... no), but *america* is one of those places where people are not treated equally. it is also a place where "shiny objects" are used to conceal domestic and international travesties (ever wonder how Venezuela ended up in the throes of authoritarianism?).

it's more than fair to object to many things saudi arabia is about, but you can do that without making xenophobic comments that border on racism. as far as any of these corporate ventures being some sort of conduit for change... well, it must be nice to believe that lmao.

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