Flight of Fear
Specific Type: Steel, LIM Launched Looping Twister
For the longest time in coaster history, the main method of propulsion has been gravity. A chain lift takes cars to the top of the biggest hill, and gravity takes over from there. Methods to launch coasters were popping up in the 1970's, but none really caught on and most resulted in rather un-inventive courses. Most of the launch mechanisms resulted in dropping weights and flywheels. Hydraulic technology wasn't up to par with coasters in the 1990's, so something more conventional and practical was needed.
Kings Island and Kings Dominion were up to the challenge, calling in Premier Rides to build them a pair of revolutionary new coasters. The mechanism to launch them, Linear Induction Motors, were something that could easily propel trains to high speeds. The motors use magnetic technology, combining attractive and repulsing forces in the motors interacting with aluminum fins attached to the sides of trains. The idea was so interesting, that the US Navy and even NASA looked in on the two projects, both interested in the magnetic technology for their launch needs (aircraft carriers and space launches respectively).
Not only was the technology great, but so was the track design. It wasn't your typical shuttle coaster as most launch coasters were reduced to. An enclosed room, 80 ft high, held within it over 2,500 ft of track, including dozens upon dozens of twists, curves, drops, and even 4 inversions, including a cobra roll (2), sidewinder, and a corkscrew finale. The interior which held the queue line and station was to be themed to the Outer Limits television series and topped with a space theme, as future riders journeyed to the inside of a government captured UFO, complete with a queue video, lights and music on par with something you'd see at Universal Studios. In 1996, Outer Limits was unleased.
This new LIM technology paved the way for future launch coasters, including outdoor versions of Flight of Fear, as seen in Poltergeist at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Jokers Jinx at Six Flags America, shuttle coasters such as Speed the Ride at the Nascar Café at Las Vegas, and the Mr. Freeze's at Six Flags over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis, and the new LSM technology found on Maverick at Cedar Point and Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
At Kings Island, just take a stroll under the Racer's first drops and you'll see the infamous Hanger 18 with Firehawk flying high just behind it. Lock some valuables in the lockers outside if you choose and head into the hanger to reach the ride. Lines are heavy most of the time due to the air conditioning and the nature of the ride. Once you're seated in one of the two 5 car trains, the thumbs go up from the ride operators and the ride beings.
Riders fixated to the ride may feel a slight hum as the LIM's juice up. A stroke of silence fills the room as the magnets come to live and the train shoots forward. In the pitch black tunnel, a friendly camera captures your face pinned to the headrest as the train skyrockets to 54 mph in less than 4 seconds. Once the dimly lit spaghetti bowl room is reached, the train heads vertical and into the first two inversions, the cobra roll. After the half loop finishing it is taken, the train heads up again into inversion #3, the sidewinder. The element leaves riders significantly higher than the launch track as the train meanders through a high carousel curve. The track shoots across the room back around the cobra roll. A few small drops and highly banked curves circle around counter-clockwise as the train threads under the sidewinder and into the midcourse brakes.
The music in the room livens the mood as the train banks hard left and into a helix, gradually getting lower and gaining speed with that ever increasing pacing adding intensity. As the ride quickens, more positive g's are felt and transitions get faster. The train ends the helix cutting across the launch track, passing to the right, coming back to split the cobra roll. The track banks hard left and bottoms out in the building. The track sways and banks harder and harder, almost at vertical at one point. Then the track banks all the way around as the final corkscrew flips riders in a finale befitting of the ride. The ride flies out of the main room and into the final brakes. The riders depart at a second station to show empty trains entering the loading station, adding some drama before the ride.
©1998-2016 COASTER-net.com, All Rights Reserved.