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Batwing Flying Coaster

Six Flags America, Mitchellville, MD

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Batwing Flying Coaster

Batwing Flying Coaster

© Arthur Levine. Licensed to About.com.
Stretch out your arms in the superhero flying position and get ready to soar.

  • About Guide Rating (0=Yich!, 10=Wow!): 7
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 8
    "Flying" position may not be for the squeamish
  • Type: Flying coaster
  • Highest point (feet): 115
  • Max. speed (mph): 50
  • Height restriction (minimum, in inches): 54

Roller coasters, among their many virtues, offer a sense of flight that can be intoxicating. You can swoop, dive, and race over the treetops with nothing but an open-air car tethering you. Taking this concept to its logical conclusion, "flying" coasters, like Six Flags America's Batwing, use an ingenious track layout and a unique coaster car design to replicate the sensation of flight.

Batwing's cars, with their multiple harnesses and motorized seatbacks, look like something a modern-day evil scientist might create. They include a ratcheting safety bar, an over-the-shoulder harness, and another harness placed beneath riders' knees. The loading process is as complicated as it sounds and takes considerably longer than the average coaster. Be prepared to wait.

Once securely loaded, Batwing's seats slowly recline en masse until passengers are nearly prone. The train leaves the station and heads up the lift hill backwards. Just after the train crests the top of the hill, the track inverts and the riders face forwards--and fly.

It is an odd, but giddy, sensation to hang upside down for such long periods of time. The inversions on most coasters briefly turn riders upside down, but Batwing maintains the position for most of the ride. At first, the urge is to hang on for dear life; quickly, however, most passengers learn to trust the harnesses, release their white knuckle-grips, stretch out their arms a la Superman, and fly through the corkscrews and other elements.

For one particularly dicey move, the coaster dives down and skims so low along the ground--keep in mind, riders are dangling upside down--it seems as if you could reach out and grab a few blades of grass.

Batwing isn't especially tall or fast, but it will send you soaring for a unique flight of fancy.

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