Specific Type: Gerstlauer Custom
Because of height restrictions, Alton Towers has always found creative ways to build the rides so they are thrilling but comply with the restrictions. The first example was the park’s 1994 addition Nemesis; a terrain centered B&M Inverted Coaster. Nemesis is only 42 feet tall, but manages to reach the top of many enthusiasts’ ride rankings. This was done by an amazing amount of digging so that the drop height reached 104 feet and the train could reach a speed of 50 MPH. With four inversions to follow, Nemesis was a very intense ride and still ranks among the top coasters today.
Again with Oblivion and Air after Nemesis, the park managed to create a thrilling coaster without going over the tree line. Oblivionwas the first B&M Dive Machine, with short trains and a near vertical drop. But if it was only 60 feet tall, how could it be a thrilling ride? With a big hole in the ground. Oblivion dived into a 180 foot hole reach a speed of 68 MPH, and thrill guests with a huge drop into nothingness. Air also pioneered B&M’s flying coaster design by implementing trenches to gain speed. The surroundings also helped give a larger sense of speed on the ride.
2013 marked the opening of another record breaking coaster at Alton Towers. Smiler opened on May 31st as the first coaster to have 14 inversions. The ride is themed to an insane asylum, which granted the name Smiler. Rumors floated around when the ride was announced about a section of track that would flip riders multiple times before sending them on the ride, which could give the ride the inversion record. This was not the case, but it managed to break the record without the contraption.
Smiler was built by Gerstlauer and implements Eurofighter trains, but the ride is not considered a Eurofighter. This is most likely because of the lack of a beyond-vertical drop. The ride contains two lifts, one at a 45 degree angle and one vertical lift. Smilercontains a 98 foot drop and a speed of 53 MPH along a course of 3,839 feet in a time of 2 minutes and 45 seconds. The trains contain 4 cars instead of the Eurofighter standard 2, with 4 riders per car.
A ride on the Smiler starts with a dip to the left and a heartline roll inside the rides show building. Plenty of disorienting strobe lights flash to give a feeling of insanity. Then, the first 45 degree lift hill lift riders up to a great height. A drop and turn to the right start the second portion of the ride. The main drop occurs after a corkscrew element high up in the air. The third inversion is a dive loop so the ride is facing the first drop. Another dive loop occurs right after that, and faces riders in the original direction. After a small set of trims, the train executes an airtime hill through a bit of smiling scenery before going through a drawn out batwing inversion, which ups the inversion count to five. The seventh inversion is a corkscrew right over the airtime hill, which leads into the brake run into the vertical lift hill. At the top, riders experience essentially a mirror image of the drop off of the first lift hill. Inversions 9 and 10 occur in a roll-over element to the left. The ride flies through some more smiling scenery before engaging the cobra roll which entwines around the batwing. What follows this element is a double corkscrew, and then a turn to the left to complete a ride on the world’s most inverting coaster.
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