Tatsu is a steel flying roller coaster designed by Bolliger & Mabillard at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park located in Valencia, California, United States. Announced on November 17, 2005, the roller coaster opened to the public on May 13, 2006 as the park's seventeenth roller coaster. Tatsu reaches a height of 170 feet (52 m) and speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). The ride's name comes from Japanese mythology and means Flying Beast in Japanese. The roller coaster is also the world's tallest and fastest flying coaster; is the only flying roller coaster to feature a zero-gravity roll; and has the world's highest pretzel loop. It was the world's longest flying coaster until The Flying Dinosaur surpassed it.
In the roller coaster's opening year, it was named the 40th best roller coaster in the world in Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards; in Mitch Hawker's Best Steel Roller Coaster Poll, the roller coaster placed at the 34 position.
Rumors of a new roller coaster being built at Six Flags Magic Mountain first emerged in the summer of 2004. Land clearing began in mid-2005 around the Samurai Summit area of the park with track for the new roller coaster soon later beginning arriving from Ohio. Construction permits filed by Six Flags Magic Mountain and a trademark for the name Tatsu (filed on August 23, 2005) were later found by the public. Tatsu was officially announced to the public on November 17, 2005. Both Revolution and Roaring Rapids were temporarily closed in order for the roller coaster to be built. After construction and testing was complete, Tatsu opened to the public on May 13, 2006.
Tatsu broke several records upon its opening. The roller coaster is the world's tallest, fastest, and longest flying roller coaster. The roller coaster also holds the record for the highest pretzel loop which is 124 feet (38 m) high and is currently the only Flying roller coaster to have a zero-gravity roll.
After the train has been moved into the horizontal position and is dispatched from the station, depending on which station the train is in (Tatsu has two stations), the train will either make a left or right s-bend towards the 170-foot (52 m) lift hill. Once at the top, the train makes a sharp 111-foot (34 m) downward right turn reaching a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). After the train makes it to the bottom of the drop, the train makes an upward right turn leading into the first inversion, a 103-foot (31 m) tall corkscrew. Next, the train makes a downward left turn immediately followed by an upward left turn into a 96-foot (29 m) zero-gravity roll. After the train exits the roll, it drops back down before going through a 84-foot (26 m) horseshoe. Following a left turn, the train then enters the record-breaking 124-foot (38 m) pretzel loop. Upon exiting the pretzel loop, the train makes a slight left turn before going through an inline twist. The train then makes a 135 degree downward right turn before rising back up slightly and going through the mid-course brake run. After exiting the brake run, the train makes a slight downward and upward left turn leading into the final brake run. The train then enters one of the two stations where the trains are put back into the vertical position for the riders to load and unload. One cycle of the ride lasts about two minutes.
Tatsu operates with three steel and fiberglass trains. Each train has eight cars that can seat four riders in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train. Each seat has its own over-the-shoulder-restraint and a pair of ankle restraints to hold the riders' feet in place. The trains are painted green, yellow, orange, and red.
In the station, the trains are oriented in a vertical position in order to allow riders to board. Once the restraints are locked, the train seats are rotated forward 90 degrees into a horizontal position and the train is then dispatched from the station. When the train returns to the station, the seats rotate back down and the riders disembark for the next guests.
The steel track of Tatsu is approximately 3,602 feet (1,098 m) long and the height of the lift is approximately 170 feet (52 m). To slow the train down, air brakes are attached to the track throughout the two brake runs. The track was fabricated by Clermont Steel Fabricators in Batavia, Ohio, which manufactures Bolliger & Mabillard's roller coasters. The track is colored red and yellow while the supports are orange.
On January 2017, the coaster closed indefinitely due to a chain lift error which requires a complete replacement of the chain lift. The ride reopened in March 2017.
Joel Bullock from The Coaster Critic gave Tatsu a nine out of ten for its close-to-the-ground approaches and intense pretzel loop at the bottom of the element. Justice from Park Thoughts also gave the roller coaster a nine out of ten saying that, "The lift hill is one of the most suspenseful I have ever experienced." Justice also praises the ride's intense g-forces experienced throughout the layout of Tatsu. In 2006, Discovery Channel's Mega Builders aired an episode which followed the construction of Tatsu. The episode showed how the coaster was assembled and the problems construction crews had to overcome.
In Tatsu's opening year, it was named the 40th best steel roller coaster in the world in Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards; tied with Talon at Dorney Park. It peaked at 28th place in 2012.
In Mitch Hawker's Best Steel Roller Coaster Poll, the roller coaster placed 34th in its opening year and peaked at 30th place in 2008.