Flying Coasters – Prone or Supine?

Further to John’s post about flying coasters, I thought it appropriate to follow up with a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago and was saving for later, but as John has already touched on the subject this seems to be as good a time as any to post my take, from a different angle.

Custom Riding Positions

Unconventional or “custom” riding positions offer a refreshing change from what has come to be accepted as the norm and flying coasters are probably the most unorthodox for positioning of riders.  While equally divergent, flying coasters offer different ride experiences depending upon whether the primary position is supine or prone.   I thought that it would be interesting to compare the two riding positions based on the four flying coasters I’ve ridden: Superman:Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Great Adventure, Galactica f/k/a Air at Alton Towers, Batwing at Six Flags America and Nighthawk at Carowinds.

Prone Position

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

My first ride on a flying coaster (Superman), in a prone position, had me squirming from the get-go.  Not only did the position feel odd; the ascent up the lift hill made me feel as if I was about to be ejected from the train.  Once I got past the lift hill the ride was OK but at the conclusion I found myself stuck in this position with my hair falling into my eyes for four or five minutes until the train in the loading station was dispatched.  On Galactica I felt somewhat uncomfortable upon dispatch although the lift hill was fine and reentry to the station was easy because Galactica has two separate entrances for boarding so that riders aren’t stuck in that position while waiting for the next train to be dispatched.  (Galactica is far superior to Superman, featuring the fly to lie and lie to fly elements lacking on Superman but that’s a different story.)

Supine Position

Photo of author by unknown park guest

I must admit to feeling some trepidation about departing the loading area in a supine position when I decided to ride Batwing.  It just seemed weird.  However, I quickly discovered that I actually enjoyed going up the lift hill on my back and returning to the loading station in the same position.  It was a pleasure. I had the same reaction when riding Nighthawk.  These Vekoma Flying Dutchman coasters are pretty cool (see Joel’s reviews) and I look forward to riding the only other one in operation, Firehawk at Kings Island, featured in John’s post.

Preferred Position

Although the prone position more closely simulates the sensation of flying, I find the supine position far preferable for starting out.  It feels more comfortable and even more natural.  You still get the flying sensation when the ride transitions into the other position while feeling relaxed at the end of the flight.

What’s your take?  Would you prefer to begin and end a ride in the prone or the supine position?