by Tyler M
The past week two new Bolliger & Mabillard roller coasters have been announced. The two roller coasters are the new innovation from B&M known as Wing Riders. The track is very similar to their floorless, standup, and twister models but with a twist of its own. The cars of the train hang off the sides of the track giving the riders a major sense of freedom.
While most coasters are there to provide speed, g-force, and airtime, this newly introduced coaster design will provide a whole new element. This element is something most coasters lack. The new feature is known as "hang time" where the rides will feel suspended up side down for an extended period of time. While up side down, you will feel the gravity pulling you downwards.
The first US Wing Rider was introduced on September 1st known as "X-Flight" which will open at Six Flags Great America next May. The second announced Wing Rider will be the first to open in the US at Dollywood next March known as "Wild Eagle". The coasters, though the same ride type, will provide completely different experiences. Here are the differences of each ride.
Wild Eagle will be the tallest Wing Rider built so far as it will climb over 200 ft and features a 135 ft drop. It will feature towering inversions and the train will gracefully fly through a large corkscrew, an Immelmann, a zero-G roll, and a loop before. The ride will end with a few turns before rolling onto the long brake run over the mountain terrain. The ride will also feature stunning lights at night.
X-Flight will stand at 120 ft but features one more inversion and more "action time" than Wild Eagle. The first drop is actually the first inversion as it will dive downward on what B&M calls an "inverted drop" element. The train will then sky upward again into a zero-G roll before diving down into a hangar that leads to an Immelmann. After the train leaves the Immelmann it will fly into another zero-G roll, swoops around a corner and into a unique element known as a "keyhole gap" which is an inline twist into a control tower barely missing the sides. The ride finished off with another turn into the brake run.
The differences between the two are great. Wild Eagle will provide a smooth and flowing ride above gorgeous mountainous terrain where X-Flight will be a bit more compact but has more elements and near miss features. Wild Eagle will provide what we all know and love which is airtime. X-Flight will provide more hang time especially on the first drop. The two coasters are completely different and both look incredible! I encourage everyone to go out and ride them both next spring!