Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Blast From The Past - Six Flags Worlds of Adventure's X-Flight

The history of X-flight actually begins several years before the coaster's construction ever began. In the mid-nineties Vekoma began working on a new type of roller coaster. The research and development was a collaboration between Vekoma and Paramount Parks, with Paramount to install models, one at Great America and one at Kings Island.

Paramount & Vekoma hyped their design, the Flying Dutchman as the world’s first real flying coaster, due to the fact that Skytrak International, located in Manchester England built what they called a flying coaster, dubbed Skytak at Granada Studios in Dubai in 1997

With Paramount having exclusive rights to these rides, the first installation, Stealth, opened in April of 2000 at Paramount's Great America. The second installation was to be built at Kings Island.

But, with all the technical problems Kings Island had with their 2000 prototype woodie, Son of Beast, and the many, many issues Great America was having with Stealth, Paramount backed out on the deal.

This voided their exclusivity contract with Vekoma, leaving the door open for Six Flags to step in. In 2001, Vekoma built two Flying Dutchman for Six Flags, X-Flight at Six Flags Ohio and Batwing at Six Flags America. X-Flight opened on May 26th, 2001 with Batwing opening several weeks later.

Patented in October of 1998, the Vekoma's ride was vastly different from the Skytrak. Riders start in an up-right position, but before the train leaves the station, the seats are tilted backwards until the riders are flat on their backs. The train rolls out of the station and up the lift-hill and at the top, riders are flipped over. Descending the drop in a face down position, parallel to the track, with their arms stretched out over their head gives riders a flying sensation, like Superman.

So, now that we have covered this little prelude of X-Flight check out the rest of the story in next weeks Blast!


Surya said...

It's funny how both Great America and Kings Island eventually did get their Flying Dutchman :)