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X-Flight (Six Flags Great America)

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This article is about the Bolliger & Mabillard wing coaster at Six Flags Great America. For the Vekoma flying roller coaster at Kings Island that used to operate at Geauga Lake under this name, see Firehawk (roller coaster).
Train going through the "Keyhole" on X-Flight at Six Flags Great America.jpg
X-Flight train going through the "Keyhole"
Six Flags Great America
Park section County Fair
Coordinates 42°21′55.57″N 87°56′1.63″W / 42.3654361°N 87.9337861°W / 42.3654361; -87.9337861Coordinates: 42°21′55.57″N 87°56′1.63″W / 42.3654361°N 87.9337861°W / 42.3654361; -87.9337861
Status Operating
Soft opening date May 12, 2012 (2012-05-12)
Opening date May 16, 2012 (2012-05-16)
Cost $12–15 million[1]
Replaced Splashwater Falls
Great America Raceway
General statistics
Type Steel – Wing Coaster
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Model Wing Coaster
Track layout Twister
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 120 ft (37 m)
Length 3,000 ft (910 m)
Speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Inversions 5
Duration 1:15
Height restriction 54–78 in (137–198 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.
Flash Pass available
Must transfer from wheelchair
X-Flight at RCDB
Pictures of X-Flight at RCDB

X-Flight is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. Designed and built by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride opened as the fourth Wing Coaster in the world and the second in the United States on May 16, 2012. It replaced both the Splashwater Falls and Great American Raceway attractions. The 3,000-foot-long (910 m) roller coaster features barrel rolls, high-speed drops, and a signature fly-through element, where the train narrowly misses a support structure – designed to look like an air traffic control tower – as it passes through an opening known as a keyhole element.


X-Flight was announced on September 1, 2011. Six Flags Great America was the first park to announce plans for a Wing Coaster in the United States.[2][3] Land clearing started in September 2011 on the former site of Splashwater Falls and the Great America Raceway.[4] The first pieces of the track began to arrive in early October.[5] 127 Caissons (footers), ranging from 30 feet (9.1 m) to 77 feet (23 m) were dug into the ground.[6] On January 27, 2012, the final piece of the lift hill was topped off.[7] The trains for X-Flight arrived at the park on March 2, 2012.[8] In a Chicago Sun-Times article in February, the park said they expect safety tests to start in early April.[9] X-Flight opened for "Xclusive season pass holders" on the weekend of May 12 and opened to the public on May 16.[10][11][12]

Ride experience[edit]

After departing from the station, which resembles an airplane hangar, the train immediately begins to climb the steep 120-foot (37 m) chain lift hill. Upon reaching the top of the lift hill, the train enters the first element of the roller coaster, a Dive Drop. This element is similar to the Dive Drop's found on The Swarm at Thorpe Park and GateKeeper at Cedar Point and consists of the train rotating 180 degrees into an upside down position before descending back to the ground. During this drop, the train reaches its top speed of 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). At the bottom of the first drop, riders get their picture taken. After the train exits the first drop, the train then enters a zero-g-roll before going through a cloud of fog. The train then makes a slight left turn before entering an Immelmann loop followed by a right turn over a pond. The train then leads into the second zero-g-roll over the main entrance of the ride. Following the roll, the train makes a left turn before going through an Inline twist. During this element, which is known as a keyhole, riders go through an actual airplane control tower (which was retrieved from O'Hare International Airport), giving the illusion the train will hit the tower. After going through the tower, the train goes through another near miss keyhole surrounded by a cloud of fog, before exiting the twist and making a tight right turn, passing by Demon's corkscrews and last turn, before making a slight left upward turn leading into the brake run. The train then makes a 180-degree left turn into another set of brakes before entering the station. One cycle lasts about 1 minute and 15 seconds.[4][13][14]


X-Flight train


X-Flight is a Wing Coaster model from Swiss manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard. It was the fifth B&M coaster for Six Flags Great America. X Flight joins the inverted roller coaster, Batman: The Ride, the hyper-twister, Raging Bull and the flying roller coaster, Superman: Ultimate Flight, giving the park a total of four operating coasters from B&M. The park's first B&M coaster, Iron Wolf was moved to Six Flags America at the end of the 2011 season. X Flight was the fourth Wing Coaster built and the second in the United States, preceded by Wild Eagle at Dollywood.[15]


X-Flight operates with two steel and fiberglass trains. Each train has 8 cars with 4 seats per car (2 on each side of the track) for a total of 32 riders per train. The colors of the train are red and black with over-the-shoulder restraints.[12][16] The restraints are similar to the restraints found on Superman: Ultimate Flight.


The steel track is approximately 3,000 feet (910 m) in length and the height of the lift is approximately 120 feet (37 m).[12] The track is colored red while the supports are black.[4]


X-Flight has received a mix of positive and negative reviews. Doug George from the Chicago Tribune stated the ride is very smooth with "rolls, dives and inverted, eye-bugging flips." However, he stated that the ride is pretty short and with only one train running the course at a time, the wait time can reach as long as other popular attractions at the park.[17] "The Coaster Critic" reviewed the ride and stated that the theming is very well done, especially the keyhole element. He said the different seating set up encourages re-rides because of the different experience on each side of the train. Overall, he gave the ride a 9 out of 10 because of the "riding position, loops, and interactions or near-misses."[18]


Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 2013
Ranking 45 (tie)[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Black, Lisa (September 3, 2011). "Six Flags gets in line for more thrill rides". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Thrilling Coasters, Family Rides, New Shows and Attractions Coming to Six Flags Parks Across North America in 2012". PR Newswire. September 1, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Six Flags' 'Flying' Roller Coaster". Fox News. September 1, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "X-Flight at Coaster-Net". Coaster-Net. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ "First 3 pieces of track have arrived". Six Flags Great America. October 5, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Rebar that is used to support the caissons". Six Flags Great America. November 28, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ Six Flags Great America (January 27, 2012). "We've reached the top...". Facebook. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ Six Flags Great America (March 2, 2012). "First few coaster cars of train 1.". Facebook. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ Morgan, Dan (February 21, 2012). "Record profit ends Six Flags financial roller coaster". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ MacDonald, Brady (April 11, 2012). "X-Flight wing coaster premieres at Six Flags Great America in May". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Six Flags Great America unveils 'X Flight'". WLS-TV. May 10, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "X-Flight  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Morgan, Dan (February 2, 2012). "X-Flight 'like riding on the wing of a plane'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  14. ^ "X-Flight POV *REAL* Six Flags Great America 2012 Roller Coaster". themeparkreviewtpr (YouTube). May 10, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  15. ^ Kramer, Beth (May 10, 2012). "X Flight takes wing at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ George, Doug (May 10, 2012). "X Flight all about inversions". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  17. ^ "X-Flight @ Six Flags Great America". The Coaster Critic. July 31, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  18. ^ "2013 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 34–35. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]