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This morning, SFGAm opened up their newest addition, X-Flight, for the media to check out. It officially opens to the public May 16th.
Cameron and I came away with a few thoughts summed up by Cameron best, "It's good and it doesn't hurt." Which obviously refers to the coaster that was removed. X-Flight, is compact, full of elements, and the head and foot choppers really make it special. Oddly enough, one side gives you a much more interesting ride than the other, but we'll let you figure it out on your own!
The dive element to start it off, gets the pace going right away, and is a major eye catcher as you walk down the midway. From there, it is element after element, until the very end. The ride is short, but I found it to be pretty much spot on perfect for timing. I'm not sure you could do much more in 1) the foot print X-Flight sits in, and 2) any more elements might be too many. The keyhole element is obviously the main attraction, and really ends the ride nicely before the small helix of death (which is pretty forceful). Surprising to me, was all the water elements. The misters at the end of a dive, past the "garden hose sprayers", and the misters through the support after the keyhole. Cameron like the tons of floaty air time, and felt it had a good mix of positive and negative Gs. This B&M rides really smooth and quiet. Like scary quiet. The seats are comfortable, as are the restraints. Cameron and I found the back of the ride to be a bit more forceful, but it was pretty good through out the train. Speed is much faster than what the off ride videos appear to show. It does really pace through the course well.
The wing rider coaster is truly fun, and very re-ridable. It'll be interesting to see how much different the elements and ride are as the sun goes down, and the lights turn up. Even the queue was well thought out, and really interacts with the entire ride. It's pretty cool to be able to stand in the base of the control tower (which is actually outfitted with personnel), look up, and watch the train roll through the keyhole element. And beware those "garden hose sprayers." They're pretty powerful. I got a nice soaking standing in the queue while waiting to take a picture.
Cam and I want to thank Brandon, Amanda, and Nate of Six Flags for everything. But enough of my yammering, let's get on to the video and pictures!
^ Funny you mention that... The exact same question was asked at Six Flags Magic Mountain during our West Coast Bash Q&A session. It went something like this....
Q: "Why are you guys flying the wrong Six Flags at the front of the park?" A: "We're flying the American flag. Do you think that's really the WRONG flag??!?! We'd rather fly six American flags than any other flags!"
Like, instead of actually ANSWERING the question, which I actually thought was 100% totally valid, they just dodged it, and ended up getting a round of patriotic applause.
Seriously though, I'd actually like to know as well, because the company was founded on "six" flags, and those aren't the ones that are ever flown anymore.
--Robb "Perhaps the company has just forgotten their heritage?" Alvey
I don't know if it's fair to say that the chain is ignoring its heritage - I think it's more of a case of it doesn't matter. Six Flags isn't Disney, it's a nationwide chain; 99% of the people who go there really don't care about the history of the company. Personally I find it extremely interesting, but I had a slight nerd-gasm this morning when I could see the anti-rollback dog bouncing up the lift - so I'm hardly an accurate representation of a "normal" person
Anyway, on to the ride itself.
Many people have asked me which I prefer: X-Flight or Wild Eagle. I really can't decide .. I mean the rides are so different (which I think is a very very good thing), so they both excel at different things. It's like trying to compare two wooden coasters: one an out-n-back, the other a twister. Wild Eagle has a lot of fun turns and changes in directions, and the setting is stunning. X-Flight is more about inversions and forces, with higher positive-Gs than Wild Eagle - not by a huge amount (it's not Batman), but you can certainly feel it. Both coasters have wonderful moments of hang-time and floating near-0G - which I just love. Of course X-Flight is in the middle of a flat amusement park, overlooking the Interstate; the grounds around the ride are nicely landscaped, but it can't hold a candle to Wild Eagle's placement. See - they're different. In terms of overall quality, I'd say they're pretty evenly matched; some will prefer Wild Eagle, some will prefer X-Flight.
Matt said that the pacing in X-Flight is really well done, and I agree. It pretty much alternates between up high floaty/near-0Gs, and on the ground positive Gs. Remember, it's no-where near Batman or Nemeses - but in my opinion the forces are delivered well, much better than they are on Superman and Raging Bull.
This ride is going to be hugely popular - and it deserves to be. It's a very solid ride that is almost as picturesque as two naked super-models smearing chocolate sauce over each other. I firmly believe that even people who don't want to ride will still get a lot out of it .. it's very cool to watch.
Even though I could personally have the forces turned up a notch, I can't think of any other ride I'd rather see be installed at SFGAm this year.
Cameron "OMG So glad we didn't get Chang!" Silver.
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