Featured Photo #23 – A Thrill Ride in Disguise

Featured Photos

Woodstock Gliders Carowinds - Charlotte NC

This ho-hum looking ride found in the kiddie section at my home park, Carowinds has a wild alter-ego. I had always wondered about the interest hardcore theme park fans had in flying scooters or flyers as their called. Flyers can be flown with very little movement and taken as a nice, breezy ride. Or, riders can play the role of fighter pilots and make the vehicles do swoops, dives, and climbs. Some ride ops even encourage the insanity. When I went to CoasterStock the ride op was doing play-by-play as he looked to see who could make their scooter fly the highest.

Expert pilots get some pretty strange looks from the parents just looking to take their kids on a gentle family ride. I’d love to see a park theme one of these and give it a grown up makeover. For example, it would be pretty sick if it was placed indoor, in the dark, with some well-done space theming. Add in some faux rocket boosters and sound effects when you do certain manuevers and you could really unleash the thrill potential in this kiddie ride.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of ‘flyers’? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.


  1. I don't think I've ever ridden a flyer, but I can see how it could be possible to turn one of those things into a real thrill ride.

  2. Joel, I've been on a Dumbo themed ride before like this at Disney. I'd love to see OTSR on a rebooted version so we can do loops!!! I'd also like barrel rolls. And maybe even a cockpit with a 360 screen so it could be like a self controlled simulator. That would be cool.

  3. Love the Flying Scooters. Ride them any chance I get. The only problem is that the capacity is low and lines can be long and slow.

    • Yep. The wait is always pretty long. I need to hit the park on a weekday and get a bunch of rides in.

  4. Disney would probably do what you suggested. I think I rode one of these at Six Flags Great America in 09. I can't really remember. but whatever it was, the line was short.

  5. um… dumbo isnt like this at all… you just go up and down without being able to really do any tricks.

  6. There is a county fair that we sometimes go to that always has one of these, my only problem is that I get dizzy very quickly so It makes me feel sick (it is still worth it though).

  7. Lagoon in Utah has one of these, and nobody noticed that it could be really fun! While everyone was rocking side to side a little, i was having an awesome time swooping and diving! Almost hit a tree and light post, so i had to slow down a little bit 🙂

  8. I've walked by several of these over the years never giving them a second thought, I now make it my mission to check one of these out. I'll be by one at Jungle Jack's Landing in Columbus, OH in the next couple weeks, anyone have any tips on making it as crazy as possible?

  9. These can be a total BLAST!!! I've been riding them since my childhood. The best one still out there is at Knoebel's Grove in Elysburg, PA. They run it at full tilt and there are no bolts or governors on the fins. With slight urging, they let it go all out and you can hit almost a 90 degree flight. And they don't care if you pop the rudder to get some insane air. They are fully aware of the fact they have a classic ride in top shape that's a huge favorite to those of us in the know. Next time you gp tp ride The Phoenix and Twister, be sure to check it out. Don't miss their incredible bumper carsd ether. And, now that I remember, you can still grab the brass ring o the Carousel.

    Man, what a great, old-fashioned amusement park… with FREE admission and great food.

    • Knoebels definitely has the best flyer ride. It was the 2nd flyer ride I remember getting on (next to the one at Kings Dominion). When I first rode the Knoebes version, I was unaware of "snapping the line" or that they run theirs differently (i.e. faster) than Kings Dominion.

      Unfortunately, since the capacity is low, the queue can get backed up.

  10. These things are pretty insane. Love em!

  11. I agree with DC, Knoebels has the best Flyer I've seen. I think the radius of theirs is wider than most Flyers, which adds to the speed and height. I also think the wider path reduces the vertigo that I often experience on spinning rides. The added speed and height, of course, improves the thrill of the ride, as well. I've seen many riders get their scooter bucking wildly on this ride – with just a loose chain keeping them in the car. It's borderline reckless of them to operate the ride the way they do. I prefer to go for pure air time without the headache, but either way, it's definitely a thrill.

  12. At Carowinds, I can pretty much spend all day going from Intimidator to Afterburn to The Flyers (as I call them), over & over.

    The Flyers are the only amusement park ride that 1.) you have any actual control over, 2.) have a real element of random wildness, and 3.) let you participate in a contest to win a "free ride" by outdoing the other riders.

    It is true, alas, that the line can get long, especially if there is only 1 ride operator….however, the entertainment of watching who "flies the highest" while voting to determine who will earn an extra ride, coupled with the looks of horror on the faces of the parents with small kids who thought they were in line for a mild-mannered kiddie ride, make the wait quite bearable. On more than one occasion, I have see parents drag their little kids out of the line, muttering angrily "I'm not letting you on that thing!"

    I'm a pretty darn good flier myself, but two of my buds are wickedly good at getting these suckers really high. The higher you fly during the ride, the more your flyer swings back & forth after the ride stops. My buddies outdid themselves one time & their flyers actually banged into each other after we stopped. Now I don't let them get into adjacent flyers if I can help it!! Of course, this ride is 100+ yrs old, and still kicking, so I guess it must be safe….right??


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Lost Password