My trip out West to Los Angeles brought me to the state’s largest theme park, Six Flags Magic Mountain. While X2 was a big draw, the co-main event had to be Tatsu. I got off the world’s largest flying coaster in awe of another masterpiece from Bolliger & Mabillard. Located near the top of Samurai Summit stood Tatsu. The massive 170′ tall, 3,600 foot long red and yellow dragon has redefined what a flying coaster can be. Riders ‘fly’ face down through a high-flying twisted path. Flying roller coasters are becoming more common these days, but for now I think it’s easy to call Tatsu the king. Like all B&M flyers you board trains that look similar to inverted (ski-lift style) trains. Then, after everyone’s secured, the seats fold upward until the riders are facing the ground below in a superman-like position. The climb to the top of the 17-story lift feels like it takes forever. The view at the top is one of the most unnerving things I’ve ever experienced. There you are looking at the tall trees far down below and the only between you and a 15-story plunge are the ride’s trusty harnesses. Any novices dragged onto Tatsu might never forgive their friends. Tatsu Takes Flight After the terrifying ascent, Tatsu finally begins its dive. With nothing obstructing your view, the flying experience is unparalleled. The trains climbs back up to do a corkscrew by the Sky Tower 100′ in the air. Then riders are treated to a much tighter loop in the zero-g roll. The super smooth roll is reminiscent of a fighter pilot maneuver. It’s short, but very effective. Next, the train rises again for a banked turn known as a horseshoe. There are a few swooping turns that set the riders up for the coup de grâce. Tatsu’s Pretzel Loop – The Most Intense Inversion on the Planet Of course I haven’t even come close to riding every roller coaster on the planet, but one has to wonder if Tatsu’s massive pretzel loop is the world’s most intense inversion. I’d survived the pretzel loop found on the Superman Ultimate Flight clones when I rode the Six Flags Over Georgia installation, but with Tatsu being a much larger coaster, it’s pretzel loop is about 50′ taller. The train basically does an upside down vertical loop. It enters flat track at the very top and begins to dive downward until the riders backs are on the ground. The g-forces at the bottom are insane! The screams from the train during that section have to be some of the loudest in the park. The train exits the intense loop, offers up another quick and smooth loop like the second inversion. This time it’s a 360 degree in-line twist. There are a few more turns and then you hit the station brakes. Tatsu is easily one of the most impressive roller coasters in the West. And in my opinion, until we can see what Manta will be like, it’s the king of the flying roller coasters. I wavered between an 8.5 and a 9.0 for Tatsu, but I think a 9 is deserving considering the ride’s distinction as one of the world’s few flying terrain coasters. Final Rating – 9.0 (Excellent) Tatsu is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its ride position, intense g-forces, and height. Check out this official on-ride Tatsu video: Note – This video was filmed by a professional with permission from the park. For safety reason, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster. What’s Your Take? Have you ridden Tatsu? What did you think? Do you think it’s the best flying roller coaster? Leave a comment below. 15 Responses Stephen February 15, 2009 Wow that is such an awesome ride. I love how they don't rush into the pretzel loop and then when it does come halfway through it is just so ridiculously intense. I've been on the superman ultimate flight at six flags great america and the g-fores were HUGE so I can't even imagine what this pretzel loop feels like at 50' bigger. The rest of the ride is great looking also around the focal point of the pretzel loop. I can't see how Manta could possibly top Tatsu with it relatively short but the theming for it should also be unparalleled. One of these days I'll have to somehow make the trek out there. Thanks for the great review as always! Reply The Coaster Critic February 24, 2009 No problem Stephen. Reviews take more time to write than the general news & update posts, but I enjoy writing them. The g's definitely are intense. The g-forces are also really intense on another ride at Magic Mountain, Goliath. I'll have to review it soon. It was an interesting ride for me. A surprising letdown. Reply Wyatt March 5, 2009 I thought you said Phantom's Revenge would be your next review. Reply The Coaster Critic March 6, 2009 You're right Wyatt. Thanks for keeping me honest. I'll have a Phantom's Revenge post in a few days. I promise. Thanks for reading! Reply Judy P in Pgh March 7, 2009 Good thing … you wouldn't want to upset your friends in Pittsburgh, now, would you?! Reply malcolm July 1, 2009 great review can't wait for that tatsu vs manta blog Reply Racquel July 24, 2009 wow looks intence i went there yesterday & didnt get a chance to ride that:( but i have a question. What makes you whoozyier Scream or Tatsu. Cuz i threw up after scream, and i dont wanna repet tht lol please & thank you Reply Matthew July 25, 2009 If you go on youtube or any other roller coaster video site, and you look up scream, youll notice how they fail to keep the camera still. This ride will wake you up if your tired in the morning. If i was going here i would go to this ride first cause usually when i go to a theme park, im always tired Reply Hoss December 15, 2009 You claim that the Pretzel loop on Tatsu might be the most intense inversion in the world. My question is if you have ever been on one of the classic Anton Schwarzkopf loopers like Olympia, Mind Bender or the Thriller. Those loops are near circular, and i've read that they supposively pull over 6 g's! How does Tatsu compare to those if you have been on any of them? I have never been on Tatsu or any Anton Schwarzkopf looper( except for Scorpion but that is fairly tame)so I have no idea. Reply Dillon September 10, 2011 i would say that the pretzel loop is a completely different feeling from a regular loop. on a regular loop centrifigal force is fighting gravity. but on the pretzel loop gravity and centrifigal force work together to provide massive g-force applied to your chest. in my oppinion a pretzel loop is more intense than the anton loopers (i have ridden Mindbender and Manta) Reply Matt August 18, 2011 I finally got to experiance Tatsu yesterday on my first trip back to SFMM in 17 years. Although X2 is the big draw and Green Lantern is on the to do list, Tatsu is by far in my opinion the best ride in the park. With a unique riding position, the passenger experiances what it might be like flying while clutched in the claws of a dragon. While some might find that the heights and the speeds unnerving, if one was to relax and enjoy the simple sensation of flight, such as the lazy roll overs and deep swoops, the experiance can be quite zen like. Right up to the point of the pretzel loop. The G-forces obtained during this drop are quite enough to take your breth away and with out anti GLOC procedures one might find themselves approaching a grey out if not a full on GLOC. This is the first coaster I have been on in 30 years that approaches what a fighter pilot or a shuttle astronaut might feel. I give this coaster top marks for ride feel and intensity level. I actually enjoy this coaster MORE that X2. This coaster combined with Goliath (which did put me into a grey out) makes for seriously intense coaster action in the park. I give Tatsu a 9 of 10 rating only because the G load might be far in excess then novice riders can handle. Then again all you have to do is remember to scream on the pretzel loop… Reply TheSuperCoasterKid October 11, 2011 I would like to go here next year because B&M flyers are my favorite roller coasters and I would like a ride on this. Reply Jim and Lori March 23, 2012 My wife and I rode Tatsu several times this weekend. We have ridden Tatsu a year ago. Tatsu is one of my top 3 favorite coasters ever! Millennium Force at Cedar Point is my #1 favorite. Superman @ SFGA was my first flying coaster and I Ioved it too! As I get older, (I'm 52) I got quite a bit of motion sickness this last weekend riding coasters. I'm going to try some Dramamine to help relieve this. Thanks! Nice blog! Reply Jack August 15, 2012 sadly it was closed on my trip to six flags magic mountain i missed on that fun Reply Susan July 11, 2013 Had the pleasure of visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain last month from Australia. Went on a Saturday, but bought the Platinum Flash Pass and managed 26 rides in the 10 hours we were there. Tatsu was my favourite, we rode it 5 times. Twice in the back row, once in the 2nd row and twice in the front row, both during the day and at night. It’s the most comfortable flying coaster we have ridden and the pretzel loop – what can I say? Fantastic feeling, so intense. It is now my favourite roller coaster, followed closely by Millennium Force & Gatekeeper (Cedar Point) and Diamondback (Kings Island) which we also did on the same trip. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.