X-Flight/SFWoA 5/28/01

Associated parks:
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Monday, May 28, 2001 9:04 PM
Steph and I finally got around to processing our Six Flags season passes today. The upside is that the processing was quick despite a long line, the downside was that employees were snotty and rude.

We headed first to X-Flight, knowing the line would be long and there would be only one train. I knew it would be a long line, so I shouldn't complain, but what fun is that?

Some observations while standing in line: First, I watched a mechanic attach prox switches below the train on the storage track. I'm assuming that these little guys are going to trigger the seat recline at some point.

Second, the track switches have a lot of post-paint welds, so I'm thinking they didn't exactly fit as they had hoped.

There is a shipping container that looks pretty permanent at the base of the lift (since there are a lot of conduits running to it and it's sitting on concrete footers). If it houses the electronics and they have to keep it, I hope they plant some trees around it because it's ugly. Actually, the whole site is ugly and muddy.

Interesting realization: When three trains and two stations are running, you'll return in the opposite station you started on. That means people can't leave their crap all over the platform. Cool!

Another tip for future visits: The line to the right station will always be shorter, because it's a hike to the other one.

Part of the delays involved what looked like a release problem on one of the lap bars. Each bar sets in the seat by four small pistons that engage slots in the seat assembly. One of them didn't want to engage, and the mass of electronics on every car didn't like that. I guess I wouldn't either!

After a two hour wait, in which we calculated a capacity of 200 people per hour, we finally got to board. They pin you there pretty snug, and my wife found that there is now an equivalent to getting your jewels stapled... the boob crusher. Yes ladies, if you're well endowed, look out!

The seats reclined and we were off to the lift. Not very comfortable, as you're angled slightly back, so the blood flow to your head is a bit much. Again, I theorize that the prox switches on the train will eventually trigger the recline on the lift, where you'll find the same electrical bus all the way up that you find in the stations for power.

We took the back seat, because I could see while watching that it got yanked around every turn. It was most intense at the tops of turns and exiting the vertical loop. The G's are pretty comfortable for the most part. The pressure on your shins in that back seat are just at the threshold for being comfortable.

The tops of the high turns are without question the best part of the ride, and I'm not sure why Vekoma didn't do more of that after evaluating Stealth. The helix is also killer. Very intense and a lot faster looking when you're actually on the ride.

The verdict? I really dig this ride. It's a bit short, but it delivers in the intensity department. I'm glad we have one of these in Ohio now!

As you might expect, there are some problems that I have to take issue with. First off, what the hell is the park doing all week with the park closed? Why isn't there an army of people working to get this ride running at capacity? The restraints are complex, and they need to be, but didn't Vekoma learn anything from Stealth?

To their credit, the ride ops were militant about height. I saw them turn away several kids who were very close. They also chased smokers out of line, and that was appreciated given the amount of time I had to spend there. Now the park needs to put more people on the platform. When they do get all trains and two stations running, it would be in their best interest to put 13 people on the platform; 6 on each train and one operator. With the complexity of the restraints, it's the only way they'll ever keep people moving.

On other rides...

Villain was only a ten minute wait. The new Gerstaluer lap bars are in place, not that the old ones ever bothered me in the first place. There is some seriously rough track just after the trick track, as well as some less rough spots around the ride. That's not good because these imperfections are killing the airtime from the second turn-around on by slowing the train. Please guys... don't let your instant classic slide!

Batman was also a short wait, and with two trains running they only stacked trains once! Lots of improvement there, but with three trains they still need six people to get the restraints checked quickly. There was a person I assume was a training manager there, keeping after one kid who was slow in getting the thumbs up (perhaps because he seemed ready to fall asleep). Good to see managers laying down the smack like that.

We didn't go to the marine side, but overall the park seemed in fairly good condition. Still a few closed rides and poorly staffed everything, but it's a little better than last year.

One pet peeve: Under-48" kids riding Villain. Someone will have to die, I think, before they ever start taking height requirements seriously.

Something silly I noticed: The control operators say, "Front clear, back clear, all clear." Seeing as how they would never dispatch under any other conditions, why not just say, "Clear?"

Overall, the park appears to be making operational improvements, but they've got a long way to go. The park wasn't busy, and they were doing well, but I so want them to succeed on busy days. The rides are just too good to be in a park that doesn't deliver on guest services.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Monday, May 28, 2001 9:56 PM
That sucks that employees were snotty and rude. The employees at SFA this year so far have been much better behaved and are actually using manners. Of course there's that matter of the car they're trying to win. Hey whatever works. I'm glad to hear almost everyone is liking X-Flight. SFA has some great coasters including S:ROS and Roar but I feel Batwing may help to put the park on the map so to speak this year.
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Monday, May 28, 2001 10:13 PM
We went on Saturday and I was amazed by how slow it took the ride ops to check restraints, fill up trains, etc. Capacity shouldn't be an issue for some of the coasters (x-flight the exception). For instance on Serial Thriller we waited for at least 3 minutes near the station why the other train was loading. The next time we rode it we didn't take off until a few minutes after being seated it looked like the guy running the controls was falling asleep. Also the front clear, back clear, all clear thing that cracked me up so much. I could have sworn the lady at Batman was saying Raptor, Magnum, Batman. I guess being spoiled by Cedar Point's ride ops doesn't help much when it comes to rating other parks. Great park though I do have to admit much has changed since I was at Sea World in 1995. Its a big switch now then it was Sea World as the big attraction and Geagua Lake the rundown amusement park and now its the other way around very weird although I hope the begin to spend some more time with this new Marine World or whatever. Bring back the Ski Show! (no one probably remembers that) X-flight though was a great ride, the ride op at the beginning of the line was telling us that the wait would be 4 hours! We waited for probably an hour and a half and it was well worth it. I was sad though to see that ride ops were reading off a piece of paper instead of just giving us the rundown on thier own. No improvs at Six Flags parks I guess. Was impressed though overall with the park and was happy that at least one ride op gave me a little look ahead into the future of Geagua Lake for next year. Will be weird to ride V2 when I go to Chicago in June and have to compare Superman and it together.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 4:38 AM
Yes, capacity is a serious issue at that park. The truth is, people don't mind waiting in line provided they are at least moving.

One other thing I neglected to mention... the X-Flight station music is on a loop that only lasts about 20 minutes or so. That wouldn't be an issue if you could only hear it on the platform, but since you can hear it in the queue, it's outright annoying. Imagine if I didn't like the songs!

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 5:05 AM
Nice TR. I was there on Saturday. SO, I knew I wasnt crazy when I thought that the trains are suppose to recline on the lift and not in the station. Maybe that is what they are trying workout. I saw a mechanic working on one of the trains while the other sat on the other side. But, it is a VERY intense ride.

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Dayuum, Your HOT!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:14 AM

Jeff said:
"Something silly I noticed: The control operators say, "Front clear, back clear, all clear." Seeing as how they would never dispatch under any other conditions, why not just say, "Clear?""


I think the first two are questions and the last one is a statement. The ops at SFA do the same thing. It's really noticeable on Wild One. The controler will say "Front Clear?" and look at the op in front for the thumbs up; then "Back Clear?" while looking at the op at the rear of the platform; ensuite the op states "All Clear! Dispatch!" as kinda like a "FORE!" in golf. I kinda like the meter to it...
lata,
jeremy
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:20 AM
You're right... that would make sense if the operators were looking at the other ride ops, but I haven't seen it happen yet.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:04 PM

I just rode Stelth yesterday, The stacking was horrid in the morning I ran as fast as I could when the rope dropped and got the only walk on! We were in the station for like 5 minutes. I like how the ride ops sound like there on a radio on a airplane, there really needs to be some music up there like at SFWoA. Back seat is undoughibly the best scnence there all the same only differing in intensity!
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My Signature doesn't Suck
anymoore!
Proud giga buzzer!
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:30 PM
Speaking of the music I asked one of the ride ops where I could go get the X-flight soundtrack. He just turned to me and laughed. I kept thinking the song was changing but then it would go right back into the same techno beat again. Not that it wasn't a bad song but like you said hearing over and over again in line can get old.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 2:31 PM
Not really surprised by the guest service...we went last year and were treated so terribly that I vowed never to go back...regardless of new coasters or not...

:) mikey
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 7:01 PM
I seem to recall Prodigy, Fat Boy Slim and two others I knew. You'd think I could remember after hearing it over and over again while waiting in line.

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Jeff (who wonders what happened to those creepy bastards... Prodigy)
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:41 PM
I found it interesting that before dispatching a Villian train, they wait until its nearly at the end of the course. also, I noticed, and it doesn't surprise me, is that the "buzzer " on the Big Dipper is gone since they have the new contol system, I just wish they would get the second train on there.

The X-Flight site looks horrible, I don't see why they can't lay sod on it, or spray the dirt with the green grass seed. And the X-flight seats had a problem locking for us too, and I can see how it would hurt my man-breasts.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001 6:26 AM
Actually, they were getting most Villain trains out of the station before the other train returned, allowing it to roll right in. With a ride that long and two trains there would be no excuse not to (though I know they did it last year).

I agree about the X-Flight site. I don't think it would be so bad if the footers weren't so tall and the soil wasn't a combination of mud and gravel.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001 6:53 AM
Could you tell if the Sea World side was busy or not? I'm hoping that side gets just as much support as the ride side, because it's really a nice park. I personally didn't notice any "rude" employees. Just one's that looked tired, bored, stone faced, etc. No enthusiasm. But I didn't mind that much. As long as everything is fairly clean and definitely safe that is. Friendly and enthusiastic rides ops and workers can really add to the experience though(IOA, WDW, HW). SFWoA probobly has the best selection of coasters in Ohio or maybe even in the Eastern US, but long lines, bad service, and repetitive music can really hurt the experience.

Good TR and I'm glad(it sounds like) you had fun. I'll be going in a couple weeks to judge the "new" park and coaster myself. Is Villain still running pretty good though? It has one of my favorite logo/queue sign and theming. That was the biggest surprise at SFO... after SUE of course.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001 8:02 AM
Villain wasn't running all that well. I think the rough spots on the first trip out are slowing down the rest of the ride, or so my theory goes. The bump after the trick track is particularly bad, standing out as "not normal."

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001 7:16 PM
Hmm, Jeff, I actually thought Villain was running better than last year. Never really thought too much of the second half, as I was spoiled by Ghostrider, but I really dig the first 3 hills this year. In fact, everything in the park seemed to be running better.

I do agree that the apr├ęs-trick-track section was a little unsettling though. In my opinion, it's only because the ride has finally broken in. Made the same sound as it does on the "kidney-crusher" drop, so maybe it's a train problem? I always thought Gertlauer trains have trouble on tight changes in direction.

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Musician, snowboarder, member of ACE and the ECC
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Thursday, May 31, 2001 2:43 PM
Hey Jeff Prodigy returns this year with a brand new album called "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned" Meanwhile did you hear the album called the Dirtchamber sessions that came out about two years ago? It was Liam by himself doing a full DJ mix including many of his influences.
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Sunday, June 3, 2001 4:00 PM
Jeff, they retracked the bottom of Villain's first drop, and the second rise, because it was getting pretty bad. Worse than the spot after the trick track. I still think Villain gives an extraordinary ride from the back.

I imagine that they just wanted to get X-Flight open, and could have cared less about the landscaping.

Also, you really do have to go to the Wildlife park. Having never been when it was SWO, after the age of like six, because I could not spend a full day there, it was nice to walk back for an hour and a half just to explore what was back there. Neat stuff.
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Saturday, June 9, 2001 12:41 PM
I was at the park yesterday, and Villain is NOT running well, contrary to what I had said on my June 3 post. It has seriously gone bad.
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Saturday, June 9, 2001 7:49 PM
That's not good. I don't get that park's maintenance attitude (which I get the impression is one of few qualified mechanics). I remember late in the season Batman's wheels were being visibly neglected, now this. Wood coasters need a little love. Holiday World hired away a CCI guy while Cedar Point has six full-time carpenters just for Mean Streak (though it still isn't enough). I still think Villain is arguably the best coaster there. Please don't neglect it.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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