Specific Type: Flying Coaster
In a land of Samurais, on the summit of Magic Mountain, rose a new foe that strikes fear. Samurai Summit had always been Magic Mountain’s place of solitude on the summit of the park’s mountain, housing two of the park’s big thrills, Ninja, an Arrow Dynamics made suspended coaster; and the once tallest and fastest roller coaster, Superman: the Escape. The area, for many years, would remain a silent area of peace with gardens, the iconic 384-foot-tall Sky Tower, and a gentle transport ride known as Orient Express going up and down the mountain.
Peace was disturbed in mid-2005 when groundwork throughout the Samurai Summit area ofSix Flags Magic Mountain began occurring. In result, two original Magic Mountain rides were at risk before the official announcement as to what was taking place, the Sky Tower and Orient Express. Soon after the groundwork began, Bolliger and Mabillard flying coaster track began arriving at the park and permits for Six Flags Magic Mountain were found at online public records. What was found was the ride name and motto, "Tatsu - Fly at the Speed of Fear!" A few weeks later, the announcement was coming near and for construction, a portion of the park was closed. Revolution had to be closed for terrain construction, and one piece of track was taken out. The Rapids Camp Crossing section and Roaring Rapids water ride were also closed. The dragon that would soon dominate Samurai Summit would now soon rise.
Tatsu was officially announced on November 17th, 2005 and suddenly became one of the most anticipated coasters of the 2006 season. Tatsu, the word "dragon" in Japanese, boasts a killer layout and will stand as the second coaster of its type to take advantage of terrain, the first being AIR: Aerial Inversion Ride at the United Kingdom's Alton Towers. The ride will become California’s second flying coaster and now the state's only one since the 2003 removal of Paramount’s Great America’s Stealth, now BORG Assimilator at Paramount’s Carowinds. At the time of announcement, Tatsu was boasted as the world's largest overall flying coaster. With sheer heights of 170 feet, speeds of sixty-two miles per hour, and 3,260 feet of twisted and terrifying track, Tatsu is bound to give riders the ride of their lives.
As soon as brave warriors enter the gates of Magic Mountain, Tatsu looms in the skyline above the entry plaza’s iconic Valencia Falls, towering over the loop of the Revolution coaster. Tatsulooms over and weaves in and out of the Mountain skyline. Warriors run up the hill to the summit of Magic Mountain to challenge this ferocious foe. Thrill seekers enter the Samurai Summit area and enter into the station, a building designed to look like an average piece of Asian architecture. They then board eight-rowed, four-across Bolliger and Mabillard flying coaster trains adorned with a dragon’s head on the front of the train. Brave samurais set out to conquer their new challenge after being lifted into a prone flying position and dispatched out of the dual-tracked station with an S-curve to the right or left.
After dispatching, riders slowly fly up the lift hill until they are 170 feet in the air with nowhere to go but down. After the lift, riders head down a twisted 111-foot drop curving 180 degrees to the right. At the bottom of the drop, trees fly past on either side while the track heads upwards into a 103-foot right-hand flat spin swooping past the Sky Tower and over the lift hill. The station building flies past on the left as the yellow and red track soars back up to the left in a twisted ninety-six-foot zero-g roll climbing high above the station. Samurais fly back to the ground, heading away from the station at a diagonal angle only to take on another fast-paced thrill element: a tight-radius over-banked turnaround.
The over-bank sends riders over the edge of the mountain, far above the ground and trees below, then heading back in the direction they came from. Then, the track quickly bends in the opposite direction in a second over-bank to make another pass over the brake run and under a mess of bright orange supports. With the brake run now parallel on the left and Revolution far below on the right, the train takes on this dragon's fiercest challenge: an enormous pretzel loop. Making a slight climb to reach 124 feet over the park, Tatsu reaches the summit of the inversion, then the track dives under for its largest drop, sending riders head-first over twelves stories to the ground below where they find themselves on their backs. Hurtling ahead at sixty-two miles an hour, the train soars 180 degrees in another half-loop climbing back up to the top of the pretzel loop.
After wrapping up the centerpiece inversion, the coaster dips back down and the track bends to the left forty-five degrees. Finally, a fourth inversion is thrown at thrill-seekers: a heartline twist. The train rolls 360 degrees to the right, passing over the brake run again, then dipping slightly. For the grand finale, a banked turnaround to the right takes passengers high above the park for an impressive view nearly 100 feet over the entrance. The track dips, rises, and then the brakes slow riders to a stop. Curving back into the dual station, the ride wraps up after three-and-a-half minutes. Now, who dares to challenge this flying beast next?
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