Specific Type: Inverted Coaster
By 1997, the East Coast of the United States was no stranger to the inverted coaster. Five years after the prototype Batman: the Ride swooped in at Six Flags Great America, inverted coasters dotted the country and made their way overseas. Beginning with Batman: the Ride at Six Flags Great Adventure, inverted coasters spread like wildfire up and down the East Coast with competition leading to great achievements such as Montu atBusch Gardens Tampa and Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For that same region's Six Flags over Georgia, the answer to the inverted coaster demand traced its history back to the original ride. In 1997, following a successful season during the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games, Six Flags over Georgia became the latest park to carry on the Six Flags Batman: the Ride tradition with their very own clone of the original layout. As inverted coasters became commonplace for any major theme park wanting a claim to diversity in its ride collection, the second-oldest Six Flags theme park constructed a shiny new Swiss maze of track to become the newest thrillbodiment of the Caped Crusader.
Arriving in shipping crates from Bolliger and Mabillard as the first of their several coasters for the Georgia park over the next decade, Batman took shape with 2,700 feet of square-spined track originally designed into a compact layout by famous coaster designer Werner Stengel to fit into a long, narrow footprint for Six Flags Great America. The reason for the compact layout was the one long acre of space abandoned by the removal of that park's Schwarzkopf shuttle-looping coaster Tidal Wave, which coincidentally ended up at Six Flags over Georgia in 1995 for a six-year timespan under the name Viper. So thanks to the park's own coaster, the layout for the new inverted ride was a perfect fit on the park border alongside the classic 1978 Schwarzkopf terrain looper MindBender. All that was required to be removed for Batman: the Ride was a strip of parking spaces made unnecessary the year before by the removal of over Georgia's back entrance. At the time of installation, Six Flags over Georgia was only home to eight inversions, so Batman brought a welcome five new inversions with its maze of track: two vertical loops, two corkscrew-like flat spin inversions, and one zero-g roll twist.
Before Batman: the Ride, Six Flags over Georgia had been divided into eight sections themed after countries that had ruled over some portion of the United States at one time or another, along with areas devoted to historical Georgia. However, with the completion of Batman: the Ride, the park needed to introduce a fantasy superhero-themed area, thus creating a new Gotham City region just off of the park's USA section. The expansion was originally going to turn MindBender into Riddler's Revenge so that Batman could battle his nemesis as he swoops over the classic looper's last turn. In the end, though, the park chose to stick with the original name of the classic and instead theme around the ride, with lime green waterfalls, question marks on the entry sign, and other attractions including a Batman stunt show, games, and retail to complete the Gotham City section.
Visitors take a left after entering the park and make their way towards the back corner. Passing through Georgia, USA, and then under the train tracks, guests enter into the realm of Gotham City. Walking beyond MindBender's entrance on the left, the entry to Batman: the Ride presents itself straight ahead. Beneath the Gothic architecture of the ride sign and into a lush garden, guests stroll through Gotham City Park before things begin to take a turn for the worst. The line leads into the city sewer system and down into the dark depths of crime in the heart of metropolitan Gotham City. Passing under the twisted maze of black track, Gotham visitors make their way through the rusting Gotham City Public Works building and exit to find a recent police car wreck. However, ascending a flight of stairs leads into the Batcave, where the Caped Crusader himself has a new crime-fighting invention ready to fly: Batman: the Ride. Under a luminous Batman insignia, thirty-two volunteers load onto the ride's next train, ready to take a flight to clean up Gotham City. Armed with the protection of over-the-shoulder restraints and safety belts, the train takes off from the station and begins a 105-foot ascent, far above the wretched streets. A Gotham City parking lot out to the right and the Riddler's evilly-twisted green mind-bending tracks below, Batman tops out at a good height, ready for some extreme flight.
A dip in altitude gets up some minimal speed to begin the first dive, then the rails begin a gracefully-banked swoop to the left diving eighty feet. With four g's of force pushing riders into their seats and fifty miles per hour carrying the train along, the coaster pulls up into a tightly-curving vertical loop of eighty feet. Guests mingling around the ride exit area below watch the train as it soars overhead into the second inversion: the zero-g roll. Making mid-air acrobatics with a 360-degree twist, Batman: the Ride spins through the airtime-inducing flip and dives back down just above ground level. The inversions don't let up just yet, with a rapid-fire inversion number three sending the train for a second vertical loop into the sky and entering the ride's twister section. Passengers pull up in a 315-degree carousel curve climbing with counterclockwise motion as the high level of g-forces continue to push on the train while it bears riders forward into the crime districts of Gotham City. The curve ends, then a curve in the opposite direction dives 180 degrees back down to the base of inversion number four: a flat spin.
The fourth inversion swings up and over in a corkscrew-like motion to the left while the high velocity and g's continue, then Batman enters the layout's highest banking with a near ninety degrees. The curve pulls over the second loop's entry in a sharp turnaround feeding directly into a second flat spin. Riders flip once more, this time to the right, and directly over the other side of the second loop's base, then begin the final curve. Banking to the left, the black track and silver rails guide riders through an upwards U-turn leading into the brake run. Mission complete, thrill-seekers unload in the Batcave and exit to the left. After walking under the zero-g roll, former riders can pick up Batman souvenirs in a gift shop before exiting back into the heart of Gotham City to check out other attractions or get back in line for another two-minute flight.
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