Superman VR roller coaster in pictures

Behind the scenes (and inside the headset) of the Superman VR roller coaster at Six Flags New England.

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Six Flags

Superman battles Lex Luthor in virtual Metropolis

At the Six Flags New England amusement park in Agawam, Mass., visitors can now experience virtual reality on one of the park's most popular roller coasters - Superman The Ride.

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Six Flags

The first drop is a doozy

The coaster is the "world's tallest, fastest and longest virtual reality coaster", featuring a 221-foot drop, speeds of 77 mph and 5,400 feet of track. The first drop features animation of Superman catching the virtual train after Lex Luthor attacks during the ascent.

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Keith Shaw

Safety, maintenance and ride operators collaborate

Before the ride operates for the day, teams from safety, maintenance and the ride operator areas for the park review the status of the ride to make sure riders have a safe and fun experience.

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Brandon Butler

Preparing to ride

The loading area includes an area for attendees to store and charge the VR headsets (upper left of photo). The front two seats do not use the VR, as the headsets need to read a QR code on the back of the seats in order to control the VR animation.

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Keith Shaw

Open air coaster allows for good head movement

The coaster can seat 34 passengers, and the ride has two trains on the track (one loads while the other one is on the coaster). The more open design allows for good movement of your head (to see all of the VR action) while you're seated. The rack on the upper left is a charging station to recharge the Galaxy S7 smartphones.

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Keith Shaw

VR is optional

Riders get to choose whether to ride the coaster with or without the VR headset. Many first-time riders decide to experience it without the VR. Six Flags says about 70% of riders go with the VR option.

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Brandon Butler

Up close with the VR gear

Guests who wish to ride with the VR headset put on a Samsung Gear VR headset equipped with a Galaxy S7 smartphone. For safety purposes, the headset includes an over-the-head strap that tightens to a rider's head, as well as two safety chinstraps that prevent the headset from flying off during the ride.

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Brandon Butler

Keeping the headsets sanitized and secured

The customized headset includes an anti-microbial velcro pad that can be swapped out (and cleaned) between rides, so users won't feel that they're touching another rider's sweat. Originally the headsets were secured via a velcro strap, but the plastic headset and twisting knob on the back were added to improve the fit as well as make it quicker for riders to put on before the ride.

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Keith Shaw

Instructions and warnings

Like many roller coasters, there's a list of warnings and instructions, but this one also includes instructions for the VR portion. Guests under the age of 13 are not allowed to wear the VR headsets.

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Six Flags

Lex Luthor attacks the train!

Once the ride begins, in the virtual space you get to see Lex Luthor and one of his LexBots immediately attack the Metropolis Sky Tour car that you're riding. Viewers can look up, down, left and right to see the animation. This happens during the train's ascent.

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Six Flags

That truck is in trouble

There's lots of action in the skies as Superman fights Lex Luthor over the skies of this virtual Metropolis. That tanker truck in the back about to explode will trigger the action on the physical coaster.

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Six Flags

Save us, Superman!

As the physical coaster takes the first plunge down 220 feet, the virtual train is also falling. Luckily, Superman is there to save you as the merging of the virtual and physical worlds kick into high gear.

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Six Flags

More Lex and robot battles

After the first drop, there's still more than two minutes of virtual and physical action. Every turn and drop is synchronized with the action in the virtual space. If the train is turning left, the action inside the headset turns left as well.

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Six Flags

Superman saves the day!

At the end of the ride and battle, Superman is victorious, Lex Luthor has been defeated and you're back in the virtual (and real) train station.