NCL Free At Sea

Superman: Ultimate Flight At Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By on 10/02/2013

The Superman: Ultimate Flight roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom opened during the summer of 2012. Unfortunately, all my plans to make it up to Vallejo to ride it had been thwarted. I was finally scheduled to be in the Bay Area over a weekend for work, so I decided to take advantage of the situation and drove up on a Saturday with my older brother to check it out. We were not disappointed.

I checked the weather forecast two days before going, and it showed a very low chance of rain. However, about three-quarters of the way to the park, it started raining. The closer we got to the park, the harder it was coming down. By the time we reached the park, it was a full-blown downpour. Fortunately, I had jackets and umbrellas in my car, so we weren’t going to let a little rain stop us from finally riding Superman: Ultimate Flight!

My brother needed to process the season pass he had just bought, so we weren’t able to head straight to the ride when the park opened. We were fearing a long line by the time we got there, but fortunately it looked like the rain was keeping people away. We could see that the ride was operating as we approached it:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

This is the main entrance to the ride. It’s hard to tell in the photos, but it was raining very heavy at this time, which is why most everyone is wearing ponchos:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

As you walk through a series of switchbacks in the queue, you see various enemies of Superman, some of which have their own rides at other Six Flags parks:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

There was virtually nobody in line and we walked all the way up to the station entrance, which is what you see in this next photo. There were just a few people in front of us. The stairs and the door on the other side are the Flash Pass entrance:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Once you enter the station, there is an employee directing people to a designated air gate. The door on the opposite side is the Flash Pass entrance:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

I asked nicely and was allowed to wait for the front of the train. We only had to wait about 10 minutes before getting in our first ride on Superman: Ultimate Flight:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

The primary ride operator control panel is on the far right, at the front of the train:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

The train is exactly the same as what Six Flags Magic Mountain has on Full Throttle. The only difference is that this one only has two cars, for a total of 12 riders per train:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

The station is very small, but it’s very colorful. The exit is on the far side, with a great mural of the big man himself flying high over Metropolis:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Notice that there are no bags or purses in the above photo? Other than souvenir drink cups, for which you can see the wooden stand above, you are not allowed to bring anything into the station that can’t go with you on the ride. This greatly speeds up the ride operations and makes unloading/loading go much, much faster. I really with Six Flags Magic Mountain would implement this policy on Full Throttle.

Here is a shot of the entrance to the station as seen from the exit side:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Superman: Ultimate Flight is a triple launching steel roller coaster designed by Premier Rides. Using Linear Induction Motors (LIMs) as the propulsion system, the first launch is forwards, directly out of the station and most of the way up a non-inverting half-loop, before gravity pulls it back down into the station. When the train re-enters the station, the LIMs fire in reverse, speeding the train backwards most of the way up the non-inverting vertical loop. As gravity returns the train to the station a second time, the LIMs fire for a third time, giving the train enough forward momentum to make it all the way up to the top of the 150′ ride. If you go back and look at the first photo above, you’ll see how far the train makes it up the track on the first launch before falling back to the station.

This next photo shows the track as it leaves the front of the station. There’s not much runway before the ride goes vertical. This ride is fast, with a maximum speed of 62 MPH. I love the LED lighting and how the tunnel is in the shape of the Superman logo:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Did I mention that the ride is fast? Don’t blink or you’ll miss the train passing through:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

In addition to the main ride operator in the front, there are two more ride operators in the back. The rear tunnel is in the same shape as the front tunnel:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Did I mention this ride was fast? Here’s the train going backwards through the station:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

When you exit the ride, there’s a path along the back of the ride that leads you out front:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Not only do the colors look good, but the ride is nicely landscaped as well:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

The exit takes you past what I’m guessing is a photo booth, but it wasn’t open:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Even though it rained most of the day, and we got pretty wet, the skies eventually cleared up and the sun did come out. Unfortunately for us, that was right when we were leaving. Here’s a shot of how far the train goes up the non-inverting vertical loop after being launched backwards at the start of the ride, before falling back into the station:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

It may not seem like it from looking at this coaster, and possibly even after riding it, but there is only one inversion on this ride. After the three launches, the train makes it all the way up to the highest point of the coaster. Only then does it perform its one and only inversion – a heartline roll 150′ up in the air! In this next shot, the train has just completed the heartline roll and is preparing to enter the non-inverting vertical loop before entering the second non-inverting half-loop, and then back into the station:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

This is what park guests see as their walking to the park entrance from the parking lot:

Superman: Ultimate Flight

Superman: Ultimate Flight is the fourth Premier Rides launch coaster that I’ve been on. The other three are Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Mr. Freeze at Six Flags Over Texas, and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Hollywood. I must say that they are quickly becoming one of my favorite roller coaster designers. Their coasters are fast, comfortable, and a whole lot of fun! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Let’s hear from you. How many of you have been on this Superman: Ultimate Flight? What do you think of it? I look forward to getting back to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to ride this in nicer weather. Even though raindrops in the face at 62 MPH are quite painful, we still had quite a bit of fun riding this roller coaster.


  1. Candice Hargrove

    10/02/2013 at 9:48 pm

    This is so awesome! I can’t wait to go to SFDK to ride this one day 🙂

  2. Logan Shalit

    10/02/2013 at 9:50 pm

    I also love premier rides launch coasters. I haven’t been on this one, but i have been on Full Throttle and Mummy numerous times, and I have been on the other six flags in Texas premier rides coaster: poltergeist at six flags fiesta texas. FT and poltergeist both rank in my top 5 out of different roller coasters 57 roller coasters.

  3. Gregg

    10/02/2013 at 9:56 pm

    Great overview.

    I think I’ve ridden 9 or 10 of the premier launched coasters and Superman is actually my 2nd least favorite (Mummy at Universal Hollywood is my least favorite). It’s a “fun” ride and a perfect fit for that park. I think I like their spaghetti bowl layouts (Poltergeist at SFFT, Jokers Jinx at SFA and Flight of Fear at KD) better. I also felt Speed:The Ride was better and hope that finds a home somewhere (with the nice lapbar only trains would be great).

    • The Coaster Guy

      10/02/2013 at 10:26 pm

      I’ve really been wanting to experience Jokers Jinx ever since I first saw it. Looks like a blast!

      • Eric

        10/04/2013 at 4:01 pm

        I always thought one of Premier’s “spaghetti bowls” would have made an appearance at SFMM at some point, if for no other reason than to up the coaster count. Having such a narrow footprint should make it easy to fit somewhere in the park. At some point, I hope to visit a park that has one.

  4. Eric

    10/02/2013 at 10:14 pm

    My own Premier count includes the Revenge of the Mummy coasters (California and Florida), Speed: The Ride, and Full Throttle. As they build more coasters, they seem to get better. They’re very smooth and seem to be reliable as well. It’s been way too long since I was at SFDK, so I need to get back up there and get caught up. (Medusa had broken ground, but vertical construction had not started during my last visit.)

  5. Billy

    10/02/2013 at 10:16 pm

    S:UF is an amazing ride! It honestly doesn’t look like it does much but never let that fool you! Coming up the first tower and coming down the 2nd tower, you’re treated with some ejector airtime, something almost unheard of in the bay area.

    I really wish that Full Throttle’s operations were as efficient as S:UF. But because SFMM doesn’t fully enforce their locker policy (should be enforced on the low capacity rides like Green Lantern and Full Throttle), it hugely cripples dispatch times, and makes Superman even faster than a speeding bullet!

  6. Kevin

    10/03/2013 at 7:30 am

    This is my first time commenting on this website, but I’ve followed it for a while. I have to say SUF seems like a really awesome ride! What is the best part of it, in your opinion? Does it have any moments that are different and special like the hang time on Full Throttle’s loop? And I must say that even though the only Premier ride I’ve ridden is Full Throttle, the company seems to be stepping up and getting better and better. Also, Eric once said something about Premier building larger out-and- back style coasters with airtime and stuff and I agree that that would be very interesting to see. Thanks for the great update and keep up the good work!

    • Kevin

      10/03/2013 at 7:34 am

      Oh forgot to tell you Coaster Guy that I am the Kevin who met you at the Full Throttle media day and Travel Channel taping of Full Throttle with my mom Cathy.

    • The Coaster Guy

      10/03/2013 at 8:23 am

      Hey, Kevin, welcome to the party! There are three main things that I really liked about S:UF. The first was the backwards launch. It’s very similar to Full Throttle’s, but it was much higher and felt way more intense. It gave me a serious ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling. The second was the roll at the top. It was a ‘pucker’ moment for sure! Lastly, there are so many high-speed twists and sudden turns that you’re never quite sure which way is up. There are also a few moments that you really think you’re going to get ejected from the train. It’s a really fun ride and I highly recommend it.

      • Kevin

        10/03/2013 at 3:34 pm

        Cool. I can’t wait to ride it at CoasterCon if I go, which is a large possibility.

  7. Scott C

    10/03/2013 at 4:11 pm

    Maybe we need a “Friends of Coaster Guy” group for Coaster Con. Unless there is a major event in my life, I am so there. 48 and I am not getting younger…this is probably my best and only chance to get to a Coaster Con.

    Kurt, thanks for this ride review. Your reviews are very well done, and your photograhpy is great as well. I feel as though I have been there.

    • The Coaster Guy

      10/03/2013 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks, Scott. I’m right there with you. At least riding coasters makes me feel young. This will be my first Coaster Con as well. I wish those pics were better, but I haven’t figured out how to control the weather yet.

  8. Nathan

    10/03/2013 at 7:39 pm

    Just to tell you Kurt, Superman uses LSMs not LIMs. And that closed building at the end of the exit path is a gift shop with Superman-themed merchandise. I love this ride! There is actually a lot of airtime after the third launch at the coaster’s highest point and even some before the vertical drop. And there is some pretty heave positive-G’s after the drop. I went on California Screamin’ in heavy rain and it hurt A LOT! But Superman is probably my favorite coaster at SFDK.

    • The Coaster Guy

      10/04/2013 at 5:15 pm

      I’m pretty sure they’re using LIMs on this. It looks like the exact same system that they’re using on Full Throttle here at SFMM, only with one fin and not two. The LSM technology is older and is what is used on Superman: Escape from Krypton.

      • Nathan

        10/04/2013 at 6:47 pm

        I might be wrong, but according to RCDB and wikipedia, Full Throttle uses LSMs.

        • Kevin

          10/04/2013 at 9:50 pm

          I did a search on google for “full throttle roller coaster launch system” and got that it was and LSM launched roller coaster on RCBD, Foxnews, and Wikipedia (which isn’t always accurate) and found a video on Cnet where LSMs are talked about and FT and S:UF are shown. Also on a CoasterForce discussion thread called “LIM vs LSM,” LSMs are said to be superior to LIMs and are what we should see more of in the future even though they require a more complex control system. Before I did this research I also thought that FT and S:UF used LIMs.

      • Justin G

        10/05/2013 at 5:31 pm

        I’m think it is the other way around. LIMs on Superman: EFK and LSMs on Full Throttle. If my memory is correct, Tim Burkhart said FT uses LSMs during the VIP Experience event.

  9. XYZ

    10/06/2013 at 10:14 am

    I found Superman to be rather disappointing. People kept telling me it was very intense and had a lot of airtime and when I went on it, it really wasn’t that intense or had much airtime. I still like Medusa more.

    • The Coaster Guy

      10/06/2013 at 10:28 am

      I liked Superman way more than Medusa. But I’m on Scream! all the time, so it really isn’t that special for me. Superman is not only unique, but I also have a thing for launched coasters.

  10. Brandon

    10/15/2013 at 3:51 pm

    With the exception of Full Throttle, I have been on all of the currently operating Premier rides in the US and I have to say that Superman is my favourite thus far. The insane airtime and the crazy out of control feeling you get going backward into that spin (when you sit in the back seat) are a treat.

    Since you like Premier, I definitely recommend getting out to Kennywood and checking out Sky Rocket…it’s a fun not-so-little ride that folks out west never really talk about.

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