Last year, Bolliger and Mabillard stunned the coaster world with its introduction of Raptor at Gardaland in Veneto, Italy. Now, Six Flags Great America is making waves as the first North American park to announce the construction of a similar Wing Coaster, X Flight.
Raptor was a prototype design of B&M's first new coaster model since they debuted their Diving Machine in 1998 with Oblivion at Alton Towers. B&M has dubbed this new model a Wing Coaster due to the fact that the seats are situated outside the rails instead of directly over or under them. The concept was originally used on Arrow Dynamics, and later S&S's 4D coaster models, and in 2007, Intamin produced a model without spinning cars known as Furious Baco. B&M's take on the concept also features stationary cars but also attempted a much more convoluted layout than Baco, including three inversions and several "near miss" elements involving the ride's detailed scenery.
X Flight at Six Flags Great America will up the ante even more, featuring five mind numbing inversions in its 3,000 ft layout. Of special note in this layout is a first of its kind "inverted" first drop, where the train will roll over at the top of the lift hill before plunging down to reach its top speed of 55 miles per hour. The rest of the layout includes two Zero-G Rolls, an Immelmann, and an elongated Inline Roll. When this incredible ride opens in the Spring of 2012, it will bring new life back into the County Fair section of the park which recently just lost the stand-up coaster Iron Wolf as it moves to Six Flags America in Marlboro, Maryland. Its fitting I guess that, although Six Flags Great America is losing the first ever coaster by B&M, they are replacing it with the first B&M Wing Coaster in the United States.