X-Flight Commercial Shoot

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Thursday, May 17, 2001 8:30 PM
I'll say right from the start that I didn't have the opportunity to ride Stealth last year, so I can NOT compare X-Flight to Stealth (Lori, if you want to jump in here feel free ;) )

Now, having said that, I found X-Flight to be an interesting, but not outstanding, coaster. But as usual I'm getting ahead of myself.


Things were very disorganized for this commercial shoot. We were told to be there by 8am. I got there at 8, and ended up in the "D" group (apparently signing actually started at 7:30). Now, due to the nature of commercial shoots (lots of "set this shot up, roll them, now set this one up..."), I didn't expect a lot of rides anyway. I was there to help out with a warm body to fill in a seat, adding X-Flight to my track record in return.

At around 8:30, they tried dispatching the first train. It stopped on the lift. Then it went. Then they sent another. Stopped on the lift. Sent over. I was busy chatting with various RRC and CoasterBuzz people (including Matt Lynch and Lori Uhing (loriu)) during this process (and I was approached by a number of people asking "Are you Greg?" -- cool, but somewhat disconcerting ;) ) so I didn't note how many such cycles went through, but it took a while. It got to the point where we were afraid we wouldn't get on before lunch.

Then, miracle of miracles, they lined us up and said we were going to ride. Finally the "A" train went out. Then the B train. At which point we noticed that while the train capacity is 24, at least one of the groups had been assigned 28 people. This started a trend of miscounting. When they finally got to the "D" group, they started letting us in, cutting off the loading after me. So theoretically I'm #24, right? Nope, they'd let 25 in. To make up for that, one of the directors said I could pick any seat I wanted on the NEXT ride. Heh.

Ride #1 (finally), about 12:45pm -- Front Seat left. My first reaction to X-Flight was "neat gimmick, Ok ride, not going to be eager to reride it." The G's through the loop and final helix are pretty strong, I wouldn't be too surprised of SFWoA has problems with people passing out in the summer heat when trying to ride this. The feeling of hanging is DEFINITELY interesting, though, especially in the front where it REALLY feels line there's nothing in front of you (many times you can't see the track at all, since it's "behind" you from your perspective).


Then it was time for lunch. The food was VERY good, much better than the standard "hot dogs and burgers" fare I'm used to from various cons :) I opted for the Greek "vegetarian" selection for something different, and it turned out to be VERY good tabouleh and hummus, with pitas, serviceable stuffed grape leaves, and a rather dry (but still welcome as a change-of-pace) piece of baklava.

By this point it was already 2pm, and I'd gotten my ride on X-Flight. I was considering leaving for Cedar Point for the rest of the day, but while talking to various people found myself thinking "Cedar Point will be there, how often do I get a chance to do something like this?"

So I opted to stay. Over the course of the day, enough people drifted off that I ended up getting promoted from "D" group, to "employee group" ("we need to fill in this train, any volunteers?" Silly question ;) ), to "B" group. By the end of the day I'd gotten 8 laps on X-Flight, including front row, back row, and 3 rapid rerides in the 2nd row. Not a LOT, but honestly more than I'd expected, and considering "admission" was free (actually they gave us tickets for a return visit as "payment"), I won't look a gift horse in the mouth...

There WAS one annoyance I do want to comment on, though. Around 6:30pm we were told we were going to take a break. They emphatically asked us to PLEASE not leave, because we'd be getting back on and they were running out of people. Finally around 7:30 they called us back up into the station. Where they proceeded to load the "A" train (which was about half original "A" members, and half promoted people), run it once, and then say "Ok, that's a wrap, thank you everyone!" Leaving those of us in the station saying "so we just stayed here an extra hour, for NOTHING?" Like I said, I won't complain much, because I DID get free rides on X-Flight out of this day, but I was a bit annoyed that they'd been SO insistent on us not leaving, only to not put us on again. Sigh...


At any rate, during the rides I did get, I decided that the G's seemed MUCH stronger towards the front of the train than the back. X-Flight also strikes me as a coaster that most people will NOT be able to reride much. I have some serious bruises on my biceps from the restraints, and that's from a mere 8 rides over ~5.5 hours.

I may be done with X-Flight for the season, unless someone I'm with REALLY wants to ride. Don't get me wrong -- it's a good coaster, and everyone should try it. But SFWoA has other coasters that appeal to me more (Villain, S:UE, Batman:Knight Flight), and I'd rather get bruised legs than bruised upper arms and shoulders ;)




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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 5/18/2001. ***
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Friday, May 18, 2001 5:03 AM
I'll post a full TR later (since, right now, I'm sitting in computer class and not supposed to be here ;)), but I'll just say that I disagree... I think X-Flight is outstanding. ;)

Sure, not my favorite coaster by a long shot, but something I'll probably try to ride every trip to SFWoA.

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Matt Lynch
Co-Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
http://kennywood.coasterbuzz.com
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Friday, May 18, 2001 7:16 AM
Ahh so you're that Greg guy, huh? I was the blond guy who hung out with your Josh friend. Very proud to have gotten first ride, group A was the place to be!!

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Musician, snowboarder, member of ACE and the ECC
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Friday, May 18, 2001 7:56 AM
Yup, that's me.


A few other things I forgot to note:

One of the riders there for the shoot had never ridden a coaster before in his life! That's nuts. Although if he can handle that (and he liked it), he's set... ;)


Due to the lying down position through the loop, the front and back seat riders can wave to each other. Very cool -- I can see having fun with that if you can coordinate with friends to get on the same train.



I know several people from yesterday were going to be going back today. It'll be interesting to see how things went. I believe today is also Physics Day.

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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
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Friday, May 18, 2001 1:15 PM
Hey Greg, I will second the bruises. I rode it a couple laps more than you but I know the pain. It really kills! Last night, I could hardly walk around. But you really must remember that we sat, strapped in the ride, while the camera relocated. The general public will never sit in the car, doing nothing, as long as we did.
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Friday, May 18, 2001 2:13 PM
That's true, BUT the bruises I have are on my arms where they were against the shoulder harness while we were "in flight", which everyone WILL experience.

However, the average member of the general public probably isn't going to get 3 or more laps without getting up ;)

I hope cycle times on this ride improve when it actually opens. I realize that these were FAR from normal operating circumstances (there were film crew people running all over the place, the station was still under construction, some of the "operators" were Vekoma engineers, not Six Flags employees -- oh, wait, that would make things WORSE ;) , etc)

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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 5/18/2001. ***
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Friday, May 18, 2001 7:21 PM
I've gotten similar bruises from riding the Iron Eagle (Zamperla Rotoshake) at SFA. It's from leaning against the harnesses for the 5:00 ride. Still I can't wait to try Batwing.
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Friday, May 18, 2001 7:25 PM
Well, this should make for some interesting ERT sessions at SFA and SFWoA when I go to club events this year. :) Nice to know thyat the flight is not just a "gimmick" anymore.

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WARNING: Teenager engaing in free thought. His opinions may not agree with those preprogramed by society.
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