Despite being obsessed with roller coasters, there is one flat ride that continues to be a huge attraction for Enthusiasts - "Flyers."
"Flyers," (technically known as flying scooters) are a carnival style ride that consists of usually 8 "buckets" suspended by metal cables from a central spinning, motor-powered axis. The central spire spins, and the buckets swing out with centrifugal force, round and round, very similar to a yo-yo or wave swinger (AKA "swingy chairs" for the non enthusiasts.) However, Flyers feature additional fun! Each bucket, normally themed after a bird, features a movable swivel fin in the front. Each rider can steer this fin back and forth in order to catch wind resistance and change the aerodynamics of the bucket, enabling the bucket to dip, dive, speed up, and slow at the rider's whim. It is one of the few rides that truly allows the passenger to control his/her ride experience.
There are several obvious reasons why Enthusiasts love Flyers. First, they feature numerous moments of varied air time. Second, the buckets are large enough to seat riders of all sizes. And third, they are featured almost exclusively at locally owned parks and are rarities at corporate parks. All the necessary ingredients to whet an Enthusiast's appetite!
Enthusiasts absolutely love Flyers. In fact, if a park would offer ERT on its Flyers, the coasters may never even be touched, and Enthusiasts would rave about the opportunity to spend 3 hours riding Flyers over and over again. ERT on Flyers would become the most popular Enthusiast event in the world. (Is HW listening?) If Shapiro were to add Flyers to every Six Flags park, Enthusiasts would proclaim SF the greatest theme park chain in the universe.
However, just enjoying a simple ride on Flyers is not enough. To truly impress your Enthusiast friends, you must become a skilled pilot of the birds and accomplish the most revered and envied ability in all of the Enthusiast world - Snappage. Snappage, or snapping the Flyers, is the most incredible moment of an Enthusiast's life. They train for years and observe experts (I recommend studying under Chuck and Rob N - I have never seen better Flyers pilots in my life. They should be in the hall of fame.) to learn the deft skill. Yes, Snappage is better than sex. And considering many Enthusiasts, like myself, ride Flyers 3-4 times more frequently in a given year than hopping in the sack, this is not a surprise.
Unfortunately, most parks feature rules against Flyer snappage. They hang signs and provide vebral warnings on the rides that snapping will result in a removal in from the ride. Ironically, Enthusiasts ignore this park rule. Enthusiasts will rant and complain all day along about line-skipping, smoking, dress codes, and puncutation on message boards, but when it comes to breaking the snapping rules, they typically let it slide. Apparently Enthusiasts only like to enforce park rules that they agree with.
I must add that I am extremely proud that Flying Scooters are manufactured in my mother's home town of Plainview, Texas by Larson International.