Specific Type: Flying Dutchman
The concept of flying like the birds has always appealed to humans - soaring through the sky, dive-bombing the ground, twirling and looping in one aerial maneuver after another, feeling the wind on your body as you slice through the air - and it was but a mere fantasy until the year 2000, when dream became reality as the concept of flight was applied to its perfect match - a steel coaster. On March 21st, 2000, Santa Clara, California's Paramount's Great America (nowCalifornia's Great America) pulled the wraps off their latest steel prototype coaster and Stealthwas unveiled as the world's first ever 'flying' coaster - the first extreme ride ever to send passengers soaring - head first - Superman-style through the air. After its debut, Stealth proved a pure success, with seven years of brainstorming and engineering behind it and a layout packed with aerial maneuvers. For 2004, the coaster is making a cross-country flight to Paramount's Carowinds, where it will be reinstalled as BORG Assimilator, with a new Star Trek-based theme. With 2,766 feet of twisting, turning, flipping, inverting steel rails, this thrill ride is the world's first flying coaster and a whole lot more. As riders soar through the layout, the track rolls through three complete 360-degree inversions including an intense 4-G Vertical Loop, four half-inversions and an over-banked Horseshoe Curve.
When Paramount sold it's parks off to Cedar Fair, the theming rights of BORG Assimilatorexpired, as it was Star Trek themed. Carowinds painted the coaster yellow with dark blue supports, and renamed it Nighthawk.
Passengers load onto the ride in a 4-abreast arrangement and secure double-sided upper restraints and T-shaped lower lap restraints before the 24-rider train reclines to the laying position and moves out of the loading area with riders traveling backwards.
After rounding a 45-degree curve, the journey upwards begins. As the lift carries the train to a maximum summit of 12 stories above the ground, riders are treated to a panoramic view of the park from a unique perspective. After moving over the peak, the train tips over a first dip and begins to pick up speed. Suddenly, a 180-degree twisting, 180-degree curve rolls the train over into an inverted position and thrill seekers face the ground 100 feet below. Riders soar down the first drop Superman-style and then begin the over-banked Horseshoe Curve. Diving back down, a second 180-degree twist flips the train back on top of the track to begin the Vertical Loop head-first, up and around with over 4 g's being pulled. The third U-turning flip sends the ride around the lift-hill and back into the flying position. The track next heads up through another half-flipping maneuver and around a Double-Corkscrew element. Leveling back out, the coaster banks around to the right and glides into the brake run.
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