Specific Type: Steel, Looping, Kilo-Twister
Many coasters of the late 90’s took ideas from the 80’s and made them better. A good example of this was in Bolliger and Mabillard designing their version of the stand-up coaster, their first design to take residence at a park in the form of Six Flags Great America’s Iron Wolf. Many other parks would take up a stand-up from B&M, but only a few parks took the idea to the extreme. Cedar Point, record-breaking park extraordinaire, built big in the 1996 addition of Mantis, hauling riders on their feet up to 145 ft. A year later, Kentucky Kingdom, before it became a Six Flags park, had B&M build them a slightly bigger variant, mimicking Mantis’ layout with an extra inversion and a few elements with added height to create Chang. It would then only be surpassed by what is currently the king of all stand-ups in Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Riddler’s Revenge.
Chang was a hit for Kentucky Kingdom as it entered its Six Flags era. The big steel coaster became symbolic for the park as one of its signature rides. However, as the park began to dwindle in through the first decade of the 2000’s, Six Flags sought to reduce the park to being only a water park, similar to what Cedar Fair did with Geauga Lake in 2006. Much to the dismay of the Kentucky Fair Board, Six Flags took a few coasters for relocation. As much as it was against a few contract issues, it was on Six Flags agenda to resurrect Chang at another property. Pieces began to show up at Six Flags Great America to the dismay of the coaster community. Perhaps it would replace Iron Wolf or get floorless trains as most enthusiasts pondered. However, in a last ditch decision, Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure, one of the few remaining Arrow Dynamics giant looping coasters, was to have its last season in 2009. As it was dismantled, Chang parts began showing up at the park, painted with green track and black supports. It would then be revealed that Chang was to be an official resident at Six Flags Great Adventure under the name Green Lantern, going for the superhero theme of DC Comics fame with a movie slated for that summer as well. Six Flags has been no stranger to this method to add rides, adding Riddler’s Revenge to Six Flags Magic Mountain in coordination with the release of Batman Forever, Six Flags Great Adventure’s addition of the now defunct Batman and Robin: The Chiller as Batman and Robin came to the big screen, and the Dark Knight indoor wild mouse trio in relation to the Dark Knight movie.
Six Flags Great Adventure guests need not look hard for the mesmerizing green and black track; it’s one of the first things you see upon entering the park, dominating the area Great American Scream Machine once stood. Future riders veer to the left after entering, and as they queue, they get to see and hear trains as they roar past, tossing riders through one of 5 inversions. The bravest make it to the station and as the restraints come down and the thumbs up is seen from the operators, the ride begins.
The train begins by an immediate ascent out of the station by way of the lift hill. The train rises above the trees and above many rides as riders can look to the left to view the smorgasbord of rides Six Flags Great Adventure has to offer. However, as the crest of 154 ft is reached, the second tallest on a stand up coaster, riders forget the view and pry their heads to look forward. The train dips slightly and levels out, a key feature of a lot of B&M rides known as the pre-drop. Another bigger drop swoops down and to the left. As trains parallel the lift hill, they rise slightly, only to take a nose dive at 45 degrees. At the bottom, a full 144 ft was dropped in order to get trains up to a top speed of 63 mph. The real meat of the course begins as one of the largest loops in the world is taken, rising 121 ft tall as riders see the world upside-down. The train bottoms out again breaking up and to the right as the second inversion, a dive loop, provide some unique lateral movement before the inversion. The train drops towards the station only to rise above and careen to the left through a highly banked, elevated carousel curve. The train comes back to earth as it leans left to tackle a 72 ft. inclined loop, something that is mostly confined to stand up designs. As the train rockets away from the main course, the track rises a bit, then banks hard left and swoops up to enter the mid-course brake run.
After a brief reprieve, the train yanks riders off the level track into inversion number 4, a corkscrew barreling to the right. The train swerves through an s-curve, elevating enough to be able to thread the dive loop before diving down through a counter-clockwise helix. As the train reaches the ground the track banks to nearly vertical before leveling off slightly. The train makes tosses riders abruptly through the fifth and final inversion, another corkscrew, again, to the right. The train then swerves beneath the inclined loop, heading back towards the MCBR through a small hill before swooping back around to the left, ending the ride at the final brakes and into the station for riders to disembark.
There are many heroes thriving at Six Flags Great Adventure, from the Dark Knight to the Man of Steel, but if you’re up for a different take on the genre through roller coasters, consider Green Lantern to save your day.
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