Specific Type: Inverted Coaster
Back in 1990, Monthey, Switzerland's Bolliger and Mabillard made their debut to the coaster scene with their first ride ever - the stand-up looping Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. Still, B&M wanted to blow away the coaster world with an unprecedented innovation, so 1992 was the year that the Swiss engineers returned to the Gurnee, Illinois Six Flags park to throw coaster riders for a loop - five of them - all hanging below the track, feet dangling free. Replacing the shuttle-looping Tidal Wave coaster, the compact twisting track layout of Batman: the Ride soon took shape, black track swooping to form two Vertical Loops, two Flat Spins and one never-before-attempted Zero-G Roll. There were plenty who said it couldn't be accomplished, but B&M proved every one of them wrong when, on May 9, 1992, the dark knight took his inaugural flight under 2,700 feet of track, swooping down from a peak of just over 10 stories and hitting 55-mile-per-hour speeds. The concept was a hit, with inverted coasters becoming a standard for major parks worldwide. And the compact layout of Batman soon proved a perfect space-filler at Six Flags' Great Adventure in 1993, Magic Mountain in 1994, St. Louis in 1995,Over Georgia in 1997 and
Over Texas in 1999, with another coaster running along the Batman: the Ride layout opening in 2002 at Madrid, Spain's Warner Bros. Movie World, and in 2003, Japan's Batman clone Gambit was purchased by Six Flags and installed at Louisiana's Six Flags New Orleans.
Entering the queue line, visitors first stroll through the beautiful landscaping of Bruce Wayne's estate, but the scenery changes before long with the line taking a trip through a Gotham City drainage pipe and power plant and passing by a crashed police car. Eventually, guests wind up in the Batcave to board the inverted trains of Batman's newest crime-fighting contraption beneath a huge glowing Batman insignia. Leaving the boarding area, the ride heads up the lift to acheive 105-foot heights. Nothing below, Batman makes a first sweeping dive of 180 degrees and roars up into the first inversion, a vertical loop. Diving back down, the 360-degree Zero-G Roll twists and turns the track and sends the ride in the direction of a second loop - the third inversion. Batman sends riders flying around an upwards curve of 300 degrees banking around and then heading back down through a curve in the opposite direction. The first Flat Spin flips the track over again and leads the course to a highly-banked turn over top of the Zero-G Roll exit. A second quick Flat-Spinning flip spirals the track and flings the train into the air one last time, with a banked U-turn leading back to the Batcave.
The Batman: the Ride concept may be a decade old, but the Batmen still prove some of the most unforgettable inverted coasters around.
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