Specific Type: Steel, multi-looper
In 1967, Angus G. Wynne opened his second "Six Flags" theme park in Austel, GA, on the outskirts of burgeoning Atlanta with the name, Six Flags over Georgia. The park opened with, what was then a state of the art steel coaster from manufacturer Arrow Dynamics, Dahlonega Mine Train as its star attraction. In 1973, they added the Great American Scream Machine, a wooden masterpiece from legendary designer, John C. Allen, and 1978 brought the Schwarzkopf looper Mindbender. But it was 1988 when Six Flags over Georgia really started investing heavily in coasters. That year they brought in Z-Force from Six Flags Great America as part of the "Ride Rotation" program. It stayed until 1990 when the Cyclone clone, Georgia Cyclone, was introduced. Finally, in 1992, the park would add its second looping coaster.
That year, the park would bring in Ninja, a five inversion machine from Dutch manufacturer Vekoma. The ride originally operated as Kamikaze at Dinosaur Beach in Atlantic City, NJ prior to the park closing in 1991. Seizing the opportunity, Six Flags over Georgia purchased the semi-new coaster (it had only opened two years before in 1989) to add to its rapidly-expanding arsenal of thrill rides. In an ironic happenstance of placement, the former ocean side coaster, which spent its first few years on a pier, was erected over the park's lake. With its new name of Ninja and striking red and black color scheme reflecting across the water, the looper helped welcome in the new season in a big way.
From any angle, Ninja looks like an absolute mess of track work. Owing to its original residency on a pier, the coaster was forced to have as compact a footprint as possible. In response to such a demanding location, Vekoma adapted their Suspended Looping Coaster model (or SLC) to fit a sit down, above the rails coaster train. After a 90 degree right hand turn out of the station, dip, and another 90 degree right hand turn, the train slowly crawls up the 122 ft lift hill, allowing riders to soak in the maze of steel track below them, that they will all too soon find themselves traversing. Finally, the tracks bend back towards level as the train disengages the lift some 130 ft above the water so far below.
Riders are swiftly yanked off of their perch, diving all the way down towards the lake, turning over 180 degrees clockwise as it does so, angling riders back towards lift hill. Traveling at 52 mph, the train rockets skyward into an element that is unique to Vekoma, the Inverting Butterfly. Here riders are flipped upside down twice in a Sea Serpent-like maneuver that more closely resembles a double loop. Emerging from this steel pretzel, riders fly around a left hand carousel curve directly above the ride's pre-lift. Heads slightly cleared from the previous inversions, riders head directly for the lift hill only to be whipped up to the left in a Reverse Sidewinder inversion, shooting riders out between the entrance and exit of the aforementioned Butterfly. Having diagonalled back across the layout, the tracks bank once again to the left, curving riders towards the front end of the ride before entering the counter-clockwise double corkscrew. Another left handed u-turn brings riders around pointing them through the twisted mess they have just endured, threading them onto the final break run. A right handed u-turn brings the train back around and into the station, where it all began, just under a minute and a half ago.
Most recently, the ride has received a whole new set of Arrow trains from Six Flags Great Adventure. At the end of the 2010 season, Six Flags Great Adventure closed their iconic Great American Scream Machine (GASM) coaster, a move which left Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain as the last of Arrows mega-looping coasters. The blue train from GASM quickly made its way to Six Flags Over Georgia, where it then operated along side one of Ninja's original Vekoma trains. In late October, GASMs red and white trains arrived on site at SFOG, with plans to use them on Ninja in the future in place of its aging Vekoma trains.
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