Specific Type: Suspended Looping Coaster
In 1981, Keko Entertainment, the theme park branch of Taft Broadcasting, opened Canada's Wonderland as the largest theme park in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The company already operated two parks in America, Kings Island and Kings Dominion. On opening day, Canada's Wonderland boasted and impressive five roller coasters, including the four inversion Arrow looper, Dragon Fire, and the PTC built, Mighty Canadian Minebuster. The park would continue to add coasters regularly and it quickly became one of the top tourism destinations in all of Canada.
In 1992 when Swiss manufacturer Bolliger and Mabillard first introduced the inverted coaster concept with their first Batman the Ride installation at Six Flags Great America everyone took notice. Soon rival manufacturer Vekoma would come up with their own compact inverted coaster model, the SLC (Suspended Looping Coaster), opening their prototype at Walibi World in Belgium in 1994. Canada's Wonderland, now under the ownership of Paramount Parks, immediately jumped on the opportunity to get one of these state of the art thrill machines and released theirs the following year.
This installation of the popular clone would be named Top Gun after the blockbuster jet-fighter movie Paramount had released in 1986. In total, the Paramount chain of theme parks would dub four different roller coasters Top Gun, all with different layouts. The other three installations can be found at California's Great America, Kings Island, and Carowinds. Those who want to take flight atCanada's Wonderland can find the ride immediately to the left as the enter through the parks gates onto International Street. Future pilots enter beneath the shadow of the 110 ft lift hill and meander through the ride's twisted layout, listening as those already on board scream their way through five high flying inversions. Soon they are in the station and boarding the twenty person trains, track above their heads, feet dangling helplessly beneath.
The ride starts off with a 110-foot climb up the rides lift hill, at which point the train banks to the right and swoops down in a curving drop towards the ground. Just feet above the ground, and reaching speeds of nearly 50 mph, the train ends its highly banked and swooping first drop, straightening out and then pulling up into a double-inversion called a Roll Over. The inversion essentially consists of a half-loop, followed by a reversed in-line roll (starting and ending upside down), and finishes with a half loop that runs parallel to the entrance of the inversion. From here, the track rises and banks almost completely sideways, putting the train nearly perpendicular to the ground before the train dives down to the left into a shallow trench parallel to the station. Pulling out of the trench, the train enters its third inversion, the Sidewinder, also called an Immelman Loop. Exiting this inversion, the train twists to the right and pulls through a tight, 270-degree rightward helix that flows straight into a Double In-Line Twist, the last two inversions on the coaster. The train then rises slightly and banks heavily to the right again, dropping to the ground again before twisting and rising slightly into the final break run, ending the 2,260-foot long ride.
In 2006, the park changed hands again, this time being purchased by the Cedar Fair chain of theme parks. Paramount retained the rights to any names associated with the company's productions and so many rides where stripped of their former names. Top Gunwas one such ride and now thrills riders under the name of Flight Deck.
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