When I was at Six Flags Great America, I interviewed PR Manager Katy Enrique. I spoke with her about X-Flight. We talked about the planning for the ride, the near-misses, and the decisions that were made to bring this popular new wing roller coaster to Six Flags Great America. We walked back to the ride right before the park was open on a Saturday morning. We stopped in front of X-Flight as it was testing. During the interview, guests started entering the park and a long line began to form at the ride’s entrance. [divider_line] X-Flight: Planning for Take Off Joel – So, you had a plot of land and you wanted to decide what you could fit there? Were there any other types of rides that you had in mind? Katy – My understanding is that we went through a few different ride manufacturers. And had them submit their proposals on what they could do with this property of land. But at the end of the day, B&M came through with the strongest design. So, we decided to go with B&M. Joel – Can you share what the other proposals were? Katy – I can tell you that the only thing that we were considering here was a roller coaster. And, as soon as we heard about the wing on the side of the track, I think we were pretty sold at that point. That’s what we wanted to do. So, we didn’t really go too deep into anything else. Joel – And you’d worked with B&M before so you knew it’d be a good product. Katy – We’re a big B&M park here and they are fantastic partners to build a coaster with. X-Flight: The Ride & The Near Misses Joel – During coverage of the Media Day, I saw many different answers as to favorite seats and sides of the train. Do you have a favorite seat on X-Flight? Katy – I am normally a back seat girl. I like the back, because I like the pull; especially on Raging Bull. But this one, is probably one of the very few rides where I like the front seat. [On the first drop] You get pulled way up in the air, or really far down and you feel like you’re going to fall out of your seat. You get a lot of near-misses on X-Flight. And you can watch guests when they’re riding it. You’ll see them hoist their legs up because they really think that they’re that close. Joel – Speaking of the near-misses, were they something that people here had the idea to incorporate or did B&M bring those to the table? Katy – These are unique elements to the ride that we wanted to make sure we added to the coaster. We don’t have anything like that here at this park. That’s something that some of our sister parks do. So, when talking to B&M we said, how can we incorporate some of these really cool “thread the needle” ideas. Or the idea that you’re going to get really close to your head, really close to your feet. So they submitted a couple design concepts. And then we went back and forth about what we were going to land on. Joel – That’s cool because, you could have this sitting here and. I love rides that use the terrain, but there’s not a lot of terrain here. But, you did other things to make it special. You interact with different things like the water canons…. Katy – The water canons, the tower, the yellow deck and a-frame. All those items. Joel – Who makes the final decisions for these kinds of things? Are those made by the park president? Katy – It’s really about working it into the budget of the ride. Pricing out what those elements are and seeing if that works within our budget. And if it does, then it’s absolutely the park’s call to decide. Joel – When you build something that costs this much, this many millions of dollars, how do you know when you’ve made your money back? Katy – I think we can tell by our attendance day-over-day. And how we’re feeling for this season. This year we’ve had a very strong season. Six Flags Great America’s been very popular. We’re definitely recouping our cost of X-Flight for sure. [divider_line] Thanks to Katy for taking the time to talk with me about X-Flight. Check out my full review of X-Flight at Six Flags Great America. What’d you think of the interview? Leave a comment below. 5 Responses Nick - Coaster101 October 7, 2012 Great interview! I always love hearing about the creation process of a ride and what other concepts or ideas were pitched to the park. Reply CoasterCritic October 10, 2012 Thanks Nick. I was really hoping that she could give specifics, but she couldn't. Still, like you, I enjoy hearing what it takes to bring these concepts to life. Reply Piedude81 October 7, 2012 I rode this earlier in the year, and I have to say it is one of my favorite rides ever, and they really did get their money's worth. And personally, my favorite seat is the outer right back one. Reply Jonathan Hawkins October 9, 2012 When these rides first started getting announced, I thought they might be a bit boring and might not offer a drastically different experience from B&M's other looping coasters. Having had a chance to ride The Swarm at Thorpe Park last month, though, I was very pleasantly surprised. The winged seats really do make it a unique experience, and I loved the restraints. They make a huge difference. Hopefully I'll get the chance to ride Wild Eagle or X-Flight at some point. Reply CoasterCritic October 10, 2012 Those winged seats really do make you feel very exposed. And that's cool that you got to ride The Swarm Jonathan. I'm still dying to get across the pond. Let us know how it compares to the others when you've ridden them. And feel free to leave a comment on my Swarm post. I hope to have an X-Flight vs Wild Eagle post up later this month. 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