A recent innovation by roller coaster manufacturer Vekoma, the flying coaster is so named because riders are face-down for most of the ride, giving them the sensation of flight - as much as possible with the restraint system necessary for rider safety. The seats are tilted at a sharp angle while in the station, and then as the train climbs the lift hill the chairs recline until passengers are facing the sky for the rest of the journey upward. Immediately after the lift hill comes a small half-inversion, and riders can see the steel supports and the ground below them. A key feature of these coasters is surprise, as because of the body's orientation it is impossible to see what element is coming up next.

There are not many examples of this type of ride yet. The first was Stealth at Paramount's Great America, which opened in 2000 and was followed up by Batwing at Six Flags America and X-Flight at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure the following year. Stealth, as the prototype flying coaster, received the 2000 IAAPA award for "best use of technology applied to amusements." Vekoma's official name for this design is Flying Dutchman.


originally written 12 Nov 2001 as Flying Dutchman - nuke request for that writeup pending