10 Surprising Facts About SUPERMAN Krypton Coaster
The first roller coaster to go upside-down in modern times debuted in California in 1975. Over time, innovations allowed steel coasters to take more dramatic directions. The 1975 original soon became outdated as taller, longer, and loopier rides surfaced seemingly overnight. Our very own SUPERMAN™ Krypton Coaster falls into that category.
When SUPERMAN Krypton Coaster opened in 2000, it welcomed in the new millennium with exclusive thrills to Texas. This steel thriller is one of a rare breed of rides called a “floorless” coaster. With riders soaring over the rails with nothing under their feet, the exhilaration of the aerobatic maneuvers is intensified.
In addition to the unique floorless position, did you know?:
- SUPERMAN Krypton Coaster is one of only 13 floorless coasters on earth (eight in the United States). It was the second one in the world to open.
- The closest floorless coaster to San Antonio is more than 1,150 miles away.
- SUPERMAN Krypton Coaster was a continuation of an enormous ride package from the year prior. It kept over a million new additional visitors to Six Flags Fiesta Texas screaming and entertained.
- The park had to blast part of the quarry wall away to anchor some of the structure into the cliff.
- The track segments are filled with sand to help reduce the sound level.
- The floor is made up of sections called “combs.” For everyone’s safety, the combs cannot drop away until a light curtain on each side of the train confirms that the loading area is free of any blockage.
- At night, the structure is illuminated with more than 25,000 watts of lighting.
- For more than a decade, the steel giant held the record for tallest vertical loop in the world.
- Superman did not stand on the loop for the first weeks of operation. He was added later, but in an unforeseen (and slightly humorous) turn of events, his cape blew over his head and became stuck there sometime after. Once a crane could correct the snafu, the cape was secured in place. Eventually, a new figure with a fiberglass cape replaced the one adorned with cloth.
- Believe it or not, when the park is closed, Team Members will sometimes fish in the irrigation lake under Superman — strictly catch and release.
A History of Looping Coasters
Traveling back in time, the original looping roller coasters were built more than a century ago. America’s first known looping coaster dates back to 1895 and was known as The Flip Flap Railway. Loop-the-Loop appeared at Coney Island a few years later. However, such type rides were short lived. Back then, the loops were more circular and caused discomfort due to high G forces. The single cars also had such low capacity in comparison to other roller coasters that sported full trains. The fascination with looping coasters soon faded away.
Things changed in the 1970s and major improvements were made. After the first upside-down roller coaster debuted in 1975, a coaster wars race began and the looping coaster evolved quickly. As the decades progressed, modern technology progressed freeing steel looping coasters to go in all new directions.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.