NCL Free At Sea

Ride Profile: Full Throttle

By on 01/19/2016

Ride Type: Roller Coaster
Manufacturer: Premier Rides
Model/Style: Custom Launched Coaster
Year Built: 2013

Back in October 2011, Six Flags Magic Mountain unexpectedly closed one of the park’s original attractions from when it opened in 1971, a log flume ride named Log Jammer. They said the location was going to be used for a brand new attraction which would be named at a future time. On August 30, 2012 they finally announced what they were building. It was going to be the world’s tallest and fastest looping roller coaster called Full Throttle, designed by Premier Rides.

It took nearly ten months from the time the announcement was made to the time the ride opened. However, it was more than just a new roller coaster they were building. It was a whole new themed area, including a couple of new food locations, a new retail store, and a new plaza complete with a permanent stage for special events. Full Throttle opened to the public on Saturday June 22, 2013 with massive crowds lining up to ride the new coaster.

The entrance to Full Throttle is located just off the new Full Throttle Plaza, which has multiple programmable light stands, as well as an in-ground misting system for those sweltering summer days:

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It’s hard to miss the entrance as you walk by. Just walk through the big white canopy:

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The main queuing area is located under the large saddle canopy, away from the main station. I suspect this type of covering was chosen because it provides shade, yet still allows you to look up and see the coaster navigate through the large loop behind it. There is also a large screen TV to keep you entertained while you wait in line:

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When the ride first opened, the line extended from underneath the canopy to the station. This was very uncomfortable in the hot summer sun, as there was no shade to protect you:

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These days, they keep the crowd in the shade until there is enough room to move several people up to the next shaded area, near the station:

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As you approach the main station from the canopy, there are two paths that extend underneath the coaster track. The path on the left is the regular stand-by line. The path on the right is for Flash Pass and handicapped guests:

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Looking back at the two paths from the station, you can see they are both covered and protected by the launch track located directly overhead:

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There is a bit of a gap between the queue line to the left and the launch track to the right:

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The previous picture is quite old. Not only was the permanent canopy not yet installed over the loading area, but the General Sam tree is still in the background!

Both the stand-by and Flash Pass lines make their way up a long ramp to the loading area where a grouper will assign them to a seating row:

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The station is absolute bare bones with no frills. No theming here at all:

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The final loading area covering ended up being a tin metal roof, installed with the front corner angled upward to offer views of the loop. Unless the sun is directly overhead, it provides very little shade for both the waiting guests and the poor employees who must stand there for hours at a time. It can get very hot in this line:

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No shade over the train itself, and it launches directly from the station:

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The trains are standard Premier Rides trains. They are comprised of three cars per train, each with a 2×3 configuration, for total seating capacity of 18 people per train. There are two trains:

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There are two storage boxes on the opposite of the train to store any loose articles you may have, one for each train (more on this later):

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This coaster utilizes LSM technology to launch the coasters at 70 MPH. High powered magnets are attached to the underside of the coaster, which pass through the stator fins (electromagnets) that are mounted on the track. When the stators are powered, they push or repel the magnets on the train as they pass each other. When this is done in rapid succession with many stators, it can either speed up or slow down a coaster train, in either direction.

The white fins you see down the middle of the launch track are the powered stators. The copper-looking fins you see on the return track in the background are the braking magnets:

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This coaster will only launch when everyone puts their hands up:

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When Full Throttle opened in 2013, it shattered the record for the tallest vertical loop. At 160′ tall, it took over the record from Superman: Krypton Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which held the record at 145′ since March 2000.

In addition to being the tallest vertical loop, this coaster introduced a new type of coaster track that we’ve never seen before: dual-sided track! The trains run on both the inside and outside of the vertical loop. Here is a shot of the coaster going through the inside of the vertical loop during the initial launch (#1):

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This is the same shot as seen from the other side of the loop. It’s so big that you feel like you’re upside-down forever, even though it’s only a couple of seconds:

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Just in case you forget it’s the world’s tallest vertical loop, there’s a sign:

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Full Throttle does have an on-ride camera, so be sure to smile:

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After the vertical loop, the track goes up and over the Superman Plaza:

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It’s amazing how close the coaster passes over the Superman Plaza:

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After the plaza flyover, the coaster dives into the old monorail tunnel located directly underneath the plaza walkway, where it abruptly stops:

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Here is a head-on shot of the train diving into the tunnel:

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Here is the entrance to the tunnel, complete with some high-tech rope lighting:

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After a brief countdown inside the tunnel, the train suddenly launches backwards (launch #2) and goes partially back up the dive loop. Gravity eventually takes over and pulls the train back down into the tunnel:

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As the trains rolls into the tunnel for the second time, it does not stop. Instead, more stators on the tunnel track propel the coaster forward again (launch #3), pushing it up and over the vertical loop. Notice how it’s the same section of track as the initial launch, but the coaster is now running on a second set of rails mounted on the outside of the track:

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Again, the same shot as seen from the other side of the loop:

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Many people ask the same question: How often do you see a train on the inside and outside of the track at the same time? The answer is easy: never. The reason is because there is no way to stop the train after it passes through the inside of the loop until it hits the brakes inside the tunnel. If the second train being launched from the tunnel misfires (or doesn’t launch at all), it will rollback into the station and the two trains will collide. Therefore, a train cannot launch from the station until the other train has cleared the top of the vertical loop.

As soon as the train passes over the top of the loop (the park calls this element a “high hat,” but not everybody agrees) it immediately hits the final brake run and starts to slow down:

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How many roller coasters can you name that send the train into the final brake run as soon as it comes off of the highest part of the track? Many people think this was a wasted opportunity and the coaster should have been extended further. I don’t disagree with this logic, however I wasn’t the one paying for the coaster.

After the final brake run, the train comes to a stop while it waits for the coaster in the station to be dispatched. In this aerial photo from the Sky Tower, you can see one train in the station, the other waiting on the transfer track, and the storage track where a train can be taken out of service if needed:

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For a theme park the size of Six Flags Magic Mountain, this is a pretty low capacity ride. It only takes about 52 seconds from the time a train launches to the time it returns to the final brake run. And, it takes roughly 30 seconds for the waiting train to swing around into the station after a launch. That means that one train is already more than halfway through the ride before the other train can even begin to unload. You cannot unload and reload a train for dispatch in 22 seconds.

If everything were perfect, and guests were quick to get in and out of the trains, and the staff were running at maximum efficiency, you might be able to do it in a minute. Maybe. However, this never happens. Remember those storage boxes I pointed out earlier? Yah, you guessed it. Guests take forever to store their gear and then get back on the train, and even more time to get their gear and clear the platform after the ride. This is purely a guess, but I would bet that the average dispatch time for this ride is at least two minutes. Therefore, you will always have a wait on the final brake run in the hot sun after riding Full Throttle before you get back to the station. There’s just no way around it. And with only two trains, each only holding 18 guests, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math and realize the throughput is not the greatest.

Here’s a nice aerial shot showing the entire course layout. The station and loop are in the top-right corner, then the track snakes over the Superman Plaza and into the tunnel. It shoots out of the tunnel, over the top of the loop, and back down to the station:

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You exit the train on the opposite you boarded, out a gate between the storage boxes, then exit the station down another ramp:

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On your way out, you will pass the photo booth where you can buy your photo:

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You may notice some strange markings on the very top of the loop, at least on the back side. The red is the top dead center of the loop. Since it is theoretically possible for the train the become perfectly balanced and stuck on the top of the loop, I’ve been told that this is how they can tell which side the train is favoring so they know which way to nudge it in case this actually ever happened:

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Here is an on-ride video of me during Full Throttle media day:

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