Great America held a special Season Passholder Preview on Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13. Only those with season passes would be allowed to check out X Flight before it opened to the public on Wednesday, May 16.
James Charmelo of Lombard is one of those Season Passholders. James gave his experience exclusively to Q101:
After several months of anticipation, I was fortunate enough to finally experience X Flight, Six Flags Great America’s stunning new wing coaster, and first major coaster in several years. X Flight, designed by coaster giants Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), takes riders 12 stories high through 5 inversions while flying alongside the track, with nothing but air above or below. Heading to the park Saturday, I had determined that X Flight would be my first ride.
Normally, I can hit several coasters and other rides when the park opens, but I wasn’t going to chance the line for X Flight being even more crowded later in the day. So, with my heart pumping out of my chest, I excitedly entered the queue, which was somewhat crowded but not filled nearly to capacity. The music while waiting for X Flight intensifies the wait while watching the train, er, plane, soar by, flying over guests in a couple places. While in line, guests even get to pass under the control tower which houses the in-line roll right above! I looked for myself at what I was about to ride, and even though I am a self-proclaimed Great America pro, I admit to having a few butterflies and nerves dancing on end.
I arrived at the bottom of the station, which splits off into two sides, the right and left wing. I chose the left wing, and after about 50 minutes of waiting and shaking my head in amazement, I was in the back left seat, which I’ve heard some call the most intense.
Going uphill was an experience alone, with the steep incline and seeing the park from a new perspective. My brain said, “This isn’t normal! You shouldn’t be up here!!” in a way that tickled the senses. Finally the plane caught up to the dive drop, which flipped me to the left and hung me upside down for a second before we jetted back around and down nearly 120 feet! I was on X Flight!
Continuing on, the flight was great! I screamed in triumph as we flipped a couple more times in ways the other coasters in the park don’t do. Guests on the right wing then dip near water on the ground while dozens of jets spray upward, lightly hitting riders but not not drenching. Flying through the control tower could just be the most intense point on any ride in the park. This in-line twist takes you through the control tower while the plane flips completely around the track, leaving riders flying upside-down through a large mister before straightening out and continuing on. Arriving back in the station, all I could do was let out a bellowing, “Woooooohoooo!!” with the most satisfactory smile on my face.
I made it! I survived! Finally, after months of watching X Flight’s development, I was fortunate enough to experience coaster magic! Only three other wing coasters exist in the world, with only one other in the U.S. Well, an hour of my day had passed, and I had only one thing lingering on my mind. How about the right side?…
Mr. Charmelo has been back to Great America two more times since the 12th. I think that qualifies him to be an “X” pert on X Flight.
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