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Superman- Ultimate Flight

Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey-- Flying Coaster Ride Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Superman- Ultimate Flight

It's wild to careen through the ride like a superhero-in-training.

©Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
Look! Up in the air! It's...you, flying like Superman. There are similar roller coasters, but the Superman theme is ideally suited for the flying concept and adds a nice touch. The ride isn't built for height or faster-than-a-speeding-bullet speed (and, ironically, offers little-to-no airtime), but the flying sensation is wonderful.

Superman - Ultimate Flight Up-Front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 8
    "Flying" position may be intimidating for some riders. Inversions.
  • Coaster type: Flying
  • Top speed: 51 mph
  • Height restriction to ride: 54 inches
  • Height of lift hill: 106 feet
  • First drop: 100 feet
  • Ride time: 2 minutes, 6 seconds
  • Be sure to remove everything from your pockets before riding. Since passengers face the ground for most of the ride, it's easy to lose items. Six Flags won't allow guests to retrieve fallen items until the ride closes at the end of the day.
  • Superman - Ultimate Flight and other Six Flags Great Adventure Rides Photo Gallery

Sitting at the back of the park by the parking lot, Superman- Ultimate Flight makes a great presentation on the Six Flags Great Adventure midway. The iconic superhero, striking one of his legendary poses, is perched on top of a large scrim in front of the ride. Every few minutes, a train full of screaming passengers flies above the scrim and past Superman. Riders enter the queue by going through a tunnel (the Fortress of Solitude, perhaps?) and snaking through a line to the loading station at the far end of a large open area. The coaster's blue and red track hangs above the queue and passengers dive within a few feet of those in line.

Get a Load of This

The first-generation flying coasters, like Batwing at Maryland's Six Flags America, have a convoluted loading process which includes multiple harnesses and motorized seatbacks. In those rides, passengers proceed up the lift hill backwards, and the track flips them at the top of the hill into a forward-facing flying position. Superman- Ultimate Flight uses a simpler restraint system and flying concept. Riders load the train facing forwards. Once the ride ops check the restraints, a mechanism tilts the seats 45 degrees backwards, and riders leave the station facing forwards in flying mode. Unlike the earlier flying coasters, which recline to an almost-prone position, passengers' knees are more bent on Superman. But, loading and unloading the ride takes much less time.

Still, the loading process takes longer than conventional coasters, and wait times can get dicey. (Riders can use Six Flags' Flash Pass to skip the lines.)

Superhero-in-Training

There are also Superman- Ultimate Flight coasters at Six Flags Great America, near Chicago, and Six Flags Over Georgia, near Atlanta. While they are essentially similar, the Georgia version uses two stations and a switch track to compensate for the extra load/unload time and keep the line moving. It would have been nice to feature two stations in New Jersey as well, but the park probably opted to save some bucks by eliminating the second station.

It feels odd to hang facing the ground while the train remains at a halt in the station. But when it navigates the track, it's a giddy, wonderful sensation. It's not quite like actually flying (not that I've experienced that), but it is wild to swoop down the first drop and careen through the ride like a superhero-in-training. Some of the elements, including a pretzel loop and a corkscrew, are disorienting as they send riders momentarily racing backwards and flipping over. I don't think I ever saw a flying superhero execute those maneuvers. But they help make the ride a load of fun.

With the over-the-shoulder restraints, riders can't quite stretch their arms out like Superman, but they can come close to fulfilling a childhood fantasy of flight.

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