Thursday, May 17, 2001 7:28 PM
Well here I am finally back from the commercial shoot for X-Flight. For the first time in months, I can say I am coaster-fatigued! SFWoA might have a winner on their hands, let's take a look:
Let's start with the bad. Vekoma was on-hand to load and operate the ride, and I overheard someone mentioning the ride had only started testing last week! Call time was at 7:30 am, but the ride didn't run untill about 12:30. They were still getting things fixed while we rode, and I doubt it will be in full operation this weekend. I think it will be open, but things may be slow! Much needs to be done capacity wise to ensure lines aren't unbearable. I got 9 laps in 7 hours, in ERT conditions! They had better get an able crop of employees this year.
The ride, visually, seems a bit out of place. Although it's quite spectacular driving up alongside it, it doesn't really have that 'in the park' feel that, say, Villain or Batman have. Regardless, the park is doing a good job of landscaping and gardening the area which leads to and from the queue, (which needs some finishing itself.)
So why the wow? The theming is below-par, the ride is above MUD, it's in a Six Flags park, it's Vekoma, AND it's low capacity? Maybe I should've started with the good..
The good part is it's easily a top ten coaster in my book. I really didn't expect it to be quite that good, but if you haven't ridden Stealth, you won't know what to expect. I wouldn't go so far to say that it's flat out mind-blowing (as many in attendance did..) but it's certainly exotic for us flyer-virgins.
The station is mighty-big, and it appears that trains can load/unload from either section. It was too early to be able to tell if the queues split, or if either side is alternated, but it was interesting in how the 2 platforms funnelled into one lift/brake run.
The lift is fast, and you get a good view of the lake from the apex. The first drop catches first-timers by surprise, and is pretty startling the first time around. The over bank really gives the ride it's namesake!
The loop though, in my opinion, is the best element on the ride. Actually, I think it just may be my favorite inversion. Something about that fast approach, leaping over and diving toward the ground just gives me shivers. Really quite the highlight of the coaster.
The following turns are a bit slower, but nonetheless enhance that flying sensation lost at Stealth's finale. The following twists are fast, and are QUITE disorienting (I stress quite.) The helix that ends the ride is pretty intense, and is sure to leave your head buzzing when you flip on to the brakes (the one true negative G on the ride.)
All in all, for us yet-to-be Flying Dutchmen, quite the unique experience. I heard many people later comparing it to other coasters, but I don't really think you can, other than Stealth. Another thing, this ride can take a lot out of you! When I heard people complaining about shaking and wheels not touching the track, I rolled my eyes. Why can't these people just enjoy themselves? I treasure the days when I come home bruised and teary eyed from Ghostrider, but I sure am glad I was fatigued today by X-Flight!
Musician, snowboarder, member of ACE and the ECC
Friday, May 18, 2001 4:07 AM
That's cool that they've got another winner. So many good rides in that park. I just wish that they would get their operational issues figured out, especially when it comes to capacity.
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
Friday, May 18, 2001 7:08 AM
A couple things I neglected to mention: There were WILDLY different opinions throughout the day, either you thought it was fantastic, considered it merely OK, or you grew to hate it (does that cover it all?)
The announcement stated that you would recline during the lift. As of yesterday, this is not the case. Such as Stealth, you would recline in the station, be blinded by the sun out of the station, and be upright only when you were stopped in the station again.
About the riding position, I must warn you that you can't really see where you're going, except when the track is bending down in front of you (the loop, first drop, and on-your-back segments.) Therefore, there really is no true "front seat." For me, (and Vekoma employees!) the back is the place to be. Really does have the best view on the ride, on the lift looking at the park. Then again, I never rode the front, because 4 "principals" with makeup got that row every time.
Another interesting anecdote, all the new SFWoA shirts had Goliath on them.. Could this be a hint of the next ride? Makes sense to me..
Musician, snowboarder, member of ACE and the ECC
Friday, May 18, 2001 8:30 PM
I'll have to agree with Ed here, WOW!
The ride looks small from the ground and doesn't seem to go very fast, but is one of the most intense coasters I have been on.
The G's you pull through the loop are insane!!!
Vekoma was running the ride because it has not run long enough to even train a crew yet. The Vekoma guys were great. They were very interested in what we thought of their new improved flyer, asking what we thought every time we returned to the station. They used our group for the first endurance test too! We got a 4 spin marathon in the front row before they decided we had enough. After each spin they would let a few off that couldn't "hang". I over heard someone from the production crew in the morning say no one would be able to handle the ride more than once. Btw, I was in the loud & rowdy "C" tribe..
As far as the mud goes, it's a huge improvement from the constuction tour a month ago. We watched the ride entrance transform from dirt to a well lanscaped area right before our eyes while we waited Thursday morning. Much work was done overnight as well, it looked different today! There is a massive amount of work going on all over the ride side to spiff things up a bit. Give it another week to come together.
Vekoma tells us the ride will recline on the lift, precautionary for now I guess.
The same RC helicopter crew that did the Superman commercial last fall was there flying their high priced toys all day on Thursday. Very cool to watch. Even cooler on the ride, you never really knew where it would pop up next!!!
One tip I can offer to make your first flight more enjoyable: Do NOT leave your lap bar loose. On my first ride I left the lap bar a bit loose because I hate being pinned in any ride. This was a mistake as I was hanging from my shins most of the ride. Lock in tight in the station, when you flip to the "fly" position it's a much more comfortable and secure feeling.
The ride really can't be compared with anything else, it's quite a unique experience.
It will be interesting to see how they handle capacity on this one. The potential is there with the duel stations and three trains, whether they use them or not is yet to be seen...
The 11 rides I got on Thursday drained me like no other full day at any park ever has. It is intense!
Friday wasn't as productive, 4 rides in 12 hours. Still managed to have a blast and meet a bunch of great people. Lunch was great both days. I guess I could have gone to work instead...
Going back tomorrow for 1 more round!
No, the ride will not be open to the public...