Superman: Ultimate Flight At Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
The primary ride operator control panel is on the far right, at the front of the train:
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:
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:
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 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:
Did I mention that the ride is fast? Don’t blink or you’ll miss the train passing through:
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:
Did I mention this ride was fast? Here’s the train going backwards through the station:
When you exit the ride, there’s a path along the back of the ride that leads you out front:
Not only do the colors look good, but the ride is nicely landscaped as well:
The exit takes you past what I’m guessing is a photo booth, but it wasn’t open:
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:
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:
This is what park guests see as their walking to the park entrance from the parking lot:
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.