Top Three Roller Coaster Thursdays

Ever get lifted out of your seat on a roller coaster? This is a result of the negative g-forces that are experienced on roller coasters. It’s a large part of the perceived danger that makes roller coasters fun and thrilling. This Thursday I’m listing my Top 3 Airtime Roller Coasters.

Cyclops at Mt. Olympus
Wisconsin Dells, WI
You have to be 18 or older to ride in the back seat of the Cyclops at Mount Olympus. This must be because of the infamous drop towards the end of the ride. It’s innocent looking enough, but has been known to launch riders in the back seat. I’ve read accounts of riders landing in the lap of the rider next to them. (See Timberman’s review). These aren’t exaggerations. I experienced it myself last Summer. It was as scary as advertised launching me higher than the seat divider.

On re-rides I would stay away from the back seat, I enjoy a thrill as much as the next guy, but the airtime on the end of Cyclops coupled with the age of the ride takes this airtime past my comfort level. The subterranean monster known as Hades is also at Mt. Olympus, check out my full Hades roller coaster review.

Phoenix at Knoebels
Elysburg, PA
On Knoebels legendary Phoenix there’s no belt buckle and the lap bar is a good 4 to 6 inches from your legs. Why? You ask. To accentuate the coaster’s “nothing but airtime” layout. And by airtime I mean completely out of your seat at least 8 or 9 times. I guarantee you the screams you hear on the Phoenix’s trains on this seemingly tame coaster are genuine, as riders fear that on the next dip they may be catapulted from the train. Check out my full Phoenix review including an onride video.

El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
El Toro Roller Coaster - Six Flags Great Adventure
Jackson, New Jersey
El Toro is an enigma. A wooden roller coaster with a smooth as glass ride and more airtime than most parks can offer on all of their roller coasters combined. The last drop, which is one of the smallest of the entire ride, offers the sickest airtime I’ve ever experienced. It’s so forceful that you feel if the restraints weren’t there you’d end up being flung into the tiger exhibit over in the Golden Kingdom section.

Luckily, riders are stapled into the seats by ride ops on El Toro. Hardcore enthusiasts hate being pressed into their seats, but on this ride I don’t blame Six Flags Great Adventure. If you want to experience airtime ride El Toro. Check out my full El Toro review.

Honorable Mentions – Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England, Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Europe, and Voyage at Holiday World

What’s Your Take?
Do you have a favorite airtime roller coaster or moment of airtime? Leave a comment below. Image 1 courtesy of CoasterImage

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

20 Responses

  1. Mark

    its so short, but my my my the double down on Kennywood's Jackrabbit is mighty sweet.

  2. The Coaster Critic

    I really need to re-visit Kennywood. I haven't been since 2000 and my experience on the coasters there is little fuzzy. I remember loving Thunderbolt and having fun on the Jack Rabbit and Racer. I hated Exterminator. I have to give Kennywood credit on maintaining Jack Rabbit. It's over 80 years old!Thanks for stopping by Mark.

  3. Evan

    If you want real airtime, ride Cedar Point's Maverick. That has one of the most intense amount of airtime on a roller coaster i've ever been on.

    • Taylor

      Yeah, I agree, the Maverick at Cedar Point is pretty intense especially the first drop. But it's one of my faves even though i don't really like the feeling of "airtime", I just close my eyes and it's really quick.

  4. The Coaster Critic

    Tom, it's probably not clear from the title, but these are my top 3 "moments" of airtime. S:ROS (now Bizarro) had great airtime throughout, but no one ridiculous moment of airtime like these three do. Great question. Maybe I'll go back and edit this post to make that distinction. Thanks for reading.

  5. Ted

    Last Row in Cornball Express is definitely up there. The first drop is holding on for dear life amazing.

  6. QB3

    What about S:ROS at SFAmerica, i was litteraly being torn out of my seat for at least 3 seconds, and also the comet at the great escape has good airtime if you sit in the front. (also includes a Double-dip)

  7. Rollercoaster Dude

    I haven't riden any of those. I hope KD's 305 will give us all some good airtime next summer. Hey, Coaster Critic, do you like 6 Flags/DC's Superman? I use to ride that when we got season passes, but stopped getting season passes, when the park went 'ghetto' with people cussin' and wearing their pants to their knees. Got on my nerves!

  8. Anonymous

    Some coasters with surprise moments of huge airtime are maverick, millenium force (the tiny hill next to the station), the voyage (triple down in the tunnel), and most suprising of all, Fahrenheit at hersheypark. There is obviously airtime on the 97 degree drop, but there is one hill near the end that had a huge moment of ejector air, similar to el toro, and almost as strong.

  9. JaMeS

    You guys should try the Mummy at USF. On the lap bar thingy, they have leg restraints to keep them down. It has some real surprise moments there.

    P.S., how much longer on the Mummy review? I asked you like 3 months ago, and u said soon

  10. Cameron

    I agree with your review on El Toro. Sitting in the back row, the first drop gave an incredible amount of ejector, and that last hill is REDICULOUS. This is why it's my #1 ride

  11. James

    I don't understand why Cyclops is on your list. Cyclops has on e or two moments of great ejector air, but apart from that there's nothing to write home about. I would put a woodie with more consistent airtime on the list rather than Cyclops.

      • RCTPro

        I caught Cyclops at aroud five in the afternoon and got an ejector air filled ride, including a VERY forceful yank off of the lift hill, and I can't wait to experience that insanity again next year, and BTW Cycolps is my new number one on my short list of coasters that I've ridden so far because of that insane ride.
        I still haven't ridden Hades yet because I'm scared of how rough the riide will be, and not the ride itself

  12. Torrawrs

    I would put Boulderdash on there, but I suppose it's not extreme. It's just very consistent airtime in the front. I swear, my butt was rarely actually in that seat.

  13. Brandt

    Being a local of Erie pa i think the ravine flyer’s bridge has the most airtime ive exsperinced on a rollercoaster


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