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Ride Profile: Jet Stream

By on 10/10/2012

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream Logo

Ride Type: Flume
Manufacturer: Arrow Development
Model/Style: Custom Flume
Year Built: 1972

One of the original rides that Magic Mountain opened with in 1971 was a log flume called Log Jammer. With the hot summer sun and lack of shade in the newly opened park, the flume ride was a great way to cool down. There were very long lines for Log Jammer, making it one of the favorite rides in the park. When the park ended its first season, they analyzed what worked and what didn’t, planning out what changes needed to be made for the next season. Due to the overwhelming popularity for the ride, they decided to add a second flume ride. It was called Jet Stream and opened in time for the 1972 season.

Jet Stream was built by Arrow Development, the same company that built Log Jammer and the park’s first roller coaster, Gold Rusher. It was built on the backside of the hill, completely opposite of Log Jammer. This allowed people on both sides of the park quick access to a flume ride when they needed to cool down. It was also a great way to spread the crowds out. Despite being over 40 years old as of this writing, the ride has not changed much over the years. Here is what the front of the ride looks like as of today:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The main entrance:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

On exceptionally busy days, the queue can be extended down the front of the building:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The extended queue line wraps around the front of the building, loops around some landscaping, and then heads back to the main entrance:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The main entrance leads into nothing more than a covered, shaded queue area. These guests are heading up a flight of stairs to a bridge that passes over the returning flume boats:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

As seen from the bridge, more stairs take you down to the actual loading platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Don’t forget to read the warnings:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The stairs drop down onto a round, spinning loading platform. The stairs on the left are from the entrance. The stairs on the right are the exit:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Jet Stream is the very first Arrow flume to use a turntable loading system. The boats are wedged up tight against the loading platform, which is constantly spinning. If you look back at the previous photo, you will notice a small round patch that the ride operator and garbage can are sitting on. This is the center of the platform and it does not spin.

As departing guests hop out of the boats, new riders hop in. There is plenty of time as the platform slowly spins clockwise. As seen in this next shot, we are all loaded and ready to go, but the boat has only made it about halfway around the platform. Lots of time:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

You will notice there are two boat channels surrounding the platform. The outer channel, which is full of boats in the next photo, is for extra boats that are ready to be put into service as needed. The inside channel, which contains a single yellow boat, is where the riders will load and unload from as the platform slowly revolves in a circle. The boats clustered in the top-left are even more spares that can be put into service as needed:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

As the spin cycle concludes, each boat is deposited into the flume to begin the journey. You can also see the entry bridge and stairs coming down onto the loading platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

I should point out here that the ride operators gave me permission to take photographs during the ride with the understanding that the park would not be held liable for damage or loss to my camera.

At this point, the boat is slowly making its way around the spare boat holding pen to the left. On the right is the maintenance building for the ride. The yellow boat in front of me is transitioning from the concrete trough we’ve been in to the traditional fiberglass flume:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Looking across the holding pen from the entry bridge is the maintenance building:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

There is a winch that slides out on steel beam. A special contraption is placed inside the boat to lift it out of the water. They leave it hanging, tilted backward, to drain all the water from the inside of the boat, before sliding it into the building to work on it. The black wheels allow the boat to roll through the flume if the water level gets a bit low, or if the weight in the boat is a bit much. The horizontal white wheels help keep the boat centered in the flume:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

There is just a short stretch of flume before reaching the lift hill:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Cutouts along the side of the flume prevent the water level from getting too high, especially at the base of the lift hill where lots of water runs back downhill:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The lift hill is just a giant conveyor belt that grabs the boat and ferries it to the top:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Here you can see the boats being shuttled up the lift hill. You can also see all the water running back down the belt, and the cutouts along the side of the  flume:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Here you can see horizontal white wheels from a previous photo keeping the boat centered in the flume. The spikes sticking out from the side of the flume are the anti-rollback devices. When the wheels pass over them, they fold forward, allowing the wheels to pass over the top. After the wheels pass, they spring back into position. They do not fold backwards. If a boat were to start slipping backwards on the conveyor belt, the wheels would hit these and stop in its tracks. It would not slide all the way back down the hill:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Once you reach the top of the lift hill, you are dropped back into the flume, which has a pretty healthy flow of water to start pushing you along the way:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

I’m not going to document every twist and turn along the path, but suffice it to say that it’s a fun little ride through the trees:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Here’s a boat, seen from above, making its way through the flume:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a great ride through the trees. You can’t see it through the trees, but there is a building at the bottom of this next photo that contains a small drop. If you look towards the lower-left, you will see the whitewater runoff from the drop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

From the ride, here is the building with the first drop. The red fence you in the top-left is from the patio that see in the above photo, with the blue and red umbrellas:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The boat is moving pretty fast through here and the drop can catch some people off guard:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Way too fast and dark to get a good photo of the drop, but you get the idea:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

After the drop, more twists, turns, and trees:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

This next section of flume passes over a midway. The sides were extended up to help keep the water in the flume and not dropping on the unsuspecting park guests walking underneath:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Here you can see the lift hill straight ahead as we pass underneath:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

This is the top of the second and final drop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

As seen from the Sky Tower, there used to be two drop channels, and they would alternate every other boat to a different side. They stopped using the left side not long after the ride was opened, but I’ve never been able to track down why:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

There is a series of holding brakes to only allow one boat to enter the drop at a time:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Here you can see the yellow boat ahead of me as it makes its way through the runout below. Once it clears, I’ll be on my way down the chute:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

My turn. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

I was so busy trying to get a decent picture during this drop that I forgot about my hat. It went flying off right as I snapped this picture, but fortunately it landed on the empty seat behind me.

Here is a shot of a boat coming down the final drop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

And another shot from dead on:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

From the side, the boats really pop up in the front as they hydroplane across the water:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The more weight you have in the back, the more the front will pop up:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

This next shot was taken not long after the ride was opened, in the early 1970’s. Not only is there not much in the way of landscaping, but they were still running the second side:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Image © Dan Goodsell

Within a couple of years, the landscaping started to grow out a bit. Take note of all the people watching the ride from the platform on the left:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Image © Dan Goodsell

In 1988, the Ninja roller coaster was built on this side of the hill, which is the red and white coaster that you’ve seen in many of these photos. As you can see in this next photo, it severely impacted the view of the final drop. The huge white support columns completely straddle the final drop and runout. This is also a good shot showing what they did to close down the second drop channel. They couldn’t use it now if they wanted to:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Remember that earlier photo of all the people watching the final drop from a platform on the side? It’s now home to several of the Ninja support columns:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

After the final drop, there is a lazy float under the entrance bridge:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

You eventually curve around and back towards the loading platform. The stairs you see on the right are the exit stairs:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

A ride operator keeps the boat level while it is wedged up tight against the rotating platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

To exit, you head up the righthand stairs on the loading platform and then right back down again, as noted two photos above. The people on the left have just crossed over the bridge and are heading to the loading platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

The handicap entrance is next to the exit stairs, underneath the entrance bridge. Here is a rear view of the entry and exit stairs dropping down onto the loading platform:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Instructions for guests with special needs:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

There is a photo booth along the exit path as you leave the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

This is an aerial shot of the entry bridge, coming in from the right and then down onto the platform. The exit path goes straight out, past the photo booth:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Pulling back a little further, you can see the entire loading area. The ride entrance is in the top-right, with the bridge crossing over the top of the ride. The loading platform is well shaded. You can also see the holding pen, a couple of boats getting ready to go in the maintenance shop, and the photo booth on the exit path. You can also see where the old viewing area was to the right, before the Ninja supports took over that space:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Jet Stream

Although the ride was originally opened in 1972 as Jet Stream, it was known as Arrowhead Splashdown from 2001–2006. This was a Corporate Alliance (i.e. marketing) deal with the Arrowhead bottled water company. After the deal was over, the ride was renamed Jet Stream.

19 Comments

  1. Mark

    10/10/2012 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for doing this ride profile. I use to go to Magic Mountain every summer as a teen and this was one of my favorite rides to get on because of the fact that the boats hydroplaned at the end of it.

  2. Eric

    10/10/2012 at 8:09 pm

    Jet Stream was among the first of Arrow’s newer generation of water flumes, known as a Hydro Flume. They were distinguished by the side-by-side drop chutes (like Jet Stream has) and by a small speed bump at the bottom that made the boats go a bit airborne with an extra splash. You can see that in
    this picture. Boats came down a bit hard at times, and I’m sure a few tailbones felt that. I know mine did…

    Unfortunately, I don’t know why and can’t remember when the speed bumps were removed. Other Arrow Hydro Flumes still have the bumps if I recall. Great America up in Santa Clara used to have a Hydro Flume (Yankee Clipper), but it was removed when the Stealth flying coaster was installed in 2000. Six Flags Great America in Illinois still has their Yankee Clipper, but I don’t know if it retains the speed bumps. Same deal with the one at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania.

    Another note; Jet Stream was known for a short time as “Arrowhead Splashdown” when Arrowhead drinking water sponsored the ride.

    • Eric

      10/10/2012 at 11:57 pm

      Never mind my last paragraph. You already covered that and I completely missed it. Shame on me.

    • Kurt

      10/12/2012 at 2:17 pm

      Interesting info on the speed bump, Eric. I hadn’t come across that in my research. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

  3. JJJJ

    10/14/2012 at 8:12 pm

    Cant believe I never realized there were two drop channels.

    Six Flags should take note….this is how you build a high capacity ride.

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  5. Brandon

    12/09/2012 at 8:11 am

    About the “speed bump”…

    This feature was the highlight of the Hydro Flume, as it took advantage of the shape of the boat, sending the boat slightly airborne across the water. Hersheypark’s Coal Cracker still has this feature but unfortunately is hard to see from any midway as the drop is behind the station of one of the park’s roller coasters.

    Also, I’ve long heard that they went to single side operation on the final drop because of Ninja…They didn’t want the constant barrage of water (from passing boats) hitting that nearby support. Seems kind of foolish, but I’m sure they have their reasons.

    Couple notes on the queue:
    When it originally opened up through the 80’s, the extrance side of the queue house didnt have foliage next to the building…it was a pool. Those cut outs in the roof actually had water cascading down them into this pool.

    Over time they have taken out a set of railings in the queue house. Like other rides at the Mtn, it originally had two sides to the queue that met before going over the bridge. This way they could fit more people into a smaller space.

    Finally, the current exit configuration only came about with the installation of Thrill Shot. The exit used to continue up and over the entry bridge (you can see the brackets still there. It dropped down right behind where the photo booth is now.

    • Kurt

      12/09/2012 at 8:25 am

      Awesome background info, Brandon. Thanks for sharing!

      • Eric

        01/09/2013 at 10:32 pm

        While there was an extended bridge for awhile, the original Jet Stream exit was like it is now.

  6. Pingback: Photo Gallery: Jet Stream |

  7. Eric

    01/09/2013 at 10:31 pm

    I forgot to mention something else about the shack. At one time, they had it filled with mist so that you wouldn’t see the drop coming. That was an especially good effect at night.

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  9. Sam Skarin

    05/05/2014 at 7:36 pm

    Just wondering.. Went to magic mountain for the first time recently, and this ride was closed. I was really sad! Do you think that they will take it down in a few years and build a rollercoaster?

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/05/2014 at 8:19 pm

      I’m sure it won’t be around much longer, but I’m not sure if they’ll replace it with a coaster. It’s really old and leaks bad. It’s gotta be very expensive to maintain.

  10. Joshua

    08/22/2015 at 9:11 pm

    Not sure if you’ll see this comment in 2015 but I was wondering if you know what the building is to the left of the jet stream entrance it’s very tall looks kind of round has a cover lattace I think kind of looks like an old carousel station

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/22/2015 at 9:27 pm

      That was the lower station for an old people mover called The Dragon. It moved people up and down the back side of the hill, much like the Orient Express does on the front side. The Ninja station today was originally the Dragon’s upper station. There was a turntable floor in each station that would turn the vehicles around and send them back the other direction. If you look at the floor of the Ninja station, you’ll see the outline of where the turntable used to be.

      • Joshua

        08/28/2015 at 8:37 am

        Ahhh. See I always thought the dragon station was the big condemned purple structure by the collosus fair sign with the pigs on it. I have it that was the barrel ride?

  11. Tommy

    09/09/2015 at 12:19 pm

    Amazing post, thank you so much! I have nothing but the fondest memories of the ride my friends always beat me up about LOL! You wanna go on THAT!? Yep, there was something laid back and magical about it, thanks again for the great post

  12. John Doe

    11/01/2016 at 8:14 pm

    Don’t forget they also redesigned the hump on the bottom of jet streams drop ! ” it use to drop then glide over a small hill at the bottom of the drop then splash down 🙂

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