Specific Type: Steel, Figure-L, Mega-Coaster
It was an ultimate moment of valiance and faith. David, an Israelite servant and the youngest of eight brothers, came face to face with a supreme adversary. That adversary was ten feet tall and the champion of the Philistines' armies. Men trembled at his sight. He was the ultimate in evil. His name: Goliath. "Come to me," he challenged, "and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field." "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin," David replied, "but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted...." With that, David defeated Goliath with a stone to the forehead and sliced his head off with a sword. In 2006, this Biblical account takes on new form, looming over the skies of Austell, Georgia as the United States Southeast's largest roller coaster and challenging new generations of Davids. Now who will choose to conquer this new giant come this spring?
In late March and early April this year, the first courageous ones will get their chance to take on this new Goliath by strapping themselves into open-air coaches, three-dozen at a time, and taking off riding steel rails to over a daunting twenty stories in height before plunging 170 feet over Six Flags over Georgia. However, it's the second drop that holds the title of largest in this case, a swooping 175 feet overshadowing the 1999-constructed Georgia Scorcher below, another steel coaster that was coincidentally slated to bear the identity of another menace of Biblical times, the wicked queen Jezebel, before debut. With the new giant on the block, the skyline of Six Flags over Georgia is changing more than it ever has before since opening in 1967, and the theme park will never be the same again.
Goliath comes from a long line of highly-acclaimed stars from Bolliger and Mabillard. It was only nine years before the 2006 hyper-coaster that the company's first coaster opened at Six Flags' Georgia: Batman: the Ride, an inverted coaster with similar siblings at other Six Flags parks. Just two years later, the park was demanding a new stand-up coaster to grace the entryway, and that came in the form of Georgia Scorcher. Then, three years after that, Superman: Ultimate Flight landed as a lay-down "flying"
coaster. Now, four years later, Goliath will put the rest to shame at just over 200 feet tall, 70 miles per hour, and 4,480 feet long. It has to make you wonder what may come about in another five years. Something even larger or more unique?
To make way for the enormous L-shaped hyper-coaster layout,Six Flags over Georgia said goodbye to the twenty-story parachute ride Great Gasp, a landmark on the skyline for twenty-nine years, in order to fit the station area. From there, the layout runs over the exisiting park for the first two climbs, roaring over the heads of pedestrians, riders, and spectators. The layout then encompasses the area of the park's entrance and entry roads as part of a total eight-and-a-half acres of roaming space, making for a stunning first impression upon visitors as the teal supports lead orange-spined, silver-topped track carrying speeding trains through effectual track elements swooping down over scenic landscaping and ponds. Any way you look at it, Six Flags over Georgia thrill-seekers have a lot to look forward to when Goliath stomps into town this year.
From the highway, future riders get a prime view of their hyper-coaster to conquer as they approach the park. Driving towards the back parking lot or walking towards the front entrance, guests cross underneath Bolliger and Mabillard track diving towards them. Entering the park, Davids and Davidettes brave enough to conquer the taunting giant make their way towards the center of the park into the USA themed section. After making their way through the line for Goliath, thirty-six riders get their chance to board one of two nine-row trains, sitting four abreast. The comfortable, slightly reclined and raised seating is enhanced by a lack of over-the-shoulder restraints, with simple clamshell-like lap bars and side-less cars. Once it's time for the battle to begin, the train departs with a 90 degree left turn towards the lift hill. Climbing over the park, riders are presented with exceptional views of the park, with Atlanta looming in the distance at right. Finally, the chain reaches the culmination of the lift at just over 200 feet, and there's only one place left to go.
Without the traditional Bolliger and Mabillard dip to ease off of the chain, the orange and silver track simply plunges forward. Diving towards buildings and pathways below, Goliath
sends its riders down seventeen stories, leveling out thirty feet above the park while approaching seventy miles per hour. The track curves slightly to the left as it ascends towards the second apex. With riders heading directly towards the front of the park, the hill tops off and begins plunging over the yellow and purple maze of Georgia Scorcher, speeding down to reach the full seventy miles per hour just above the roadway. Crossing the road, the track dives into a ninety-degree left-hand banked curve first descending and then climbing to start off the second camelback over water. Sending riders floating off of their seats again for another moment of airtime and the third hill concludes with a 129-foot straight drop over the larger pond.
At the top of the fourth hill, a bank to the left commences the 550-degree downward helix. The helix begins sharply with a tight complete single helix as it dives, then continues winding around over water with over another 180 degrees to wrap up the 118-foot dive. Bottoming out as trees fly past on either side, the track sends riders climbing over the top of the fourth camelback hill and heading back towards the first banked turn. The banking begins for a 135-degree horseshoe element first curving slightly to the left, then
winding around a curve banked completely on its side at the highest point. Once the curve wraps up, passengers dive seventy-nine feet back down at a diagonal angle to the roadway and climb over another hill outside of the park, this time ending with a fifty-six-foot drop. At the base of the plunge, the train pulls up over a pathway and then rises over the end of Georgia Scorcher.
Coursing through the Georgia section at the front of the park,Goliath ascends over another hill climbing over the midway and dropping forty-eight feet, and then the track ascends into a ninety-degree fan curve to the left. The track dips slightly and begins climbing over a hop as the curve ends, and riders enter the final brake run with a slight dip. Moving straight back into the station, riders unload after three-and-a-half minutes on the coaster. Do you have what it takes to take on Goliath? Six Flags over Georgia's new giant awaits.
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