Specific Type: Inverted Coaster
Dorney Park, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, first had established its park on the true coaster enthusiast’s map in 1997, when Morgan Manufacturing produced their record-breaking, 200-foot Steel Force and opened the ride on May 30th of that year. For the next three years, Steel Force would provide enough income and popularity for the park to survive, but in the fall of 2000, a new coaster was proposed to continue to improve the park. For the new millennium, the park needed a unique coaster that could thrill riders from head to toe, yet still have the ability to fit in Dorney’s limited space. The simple solution: a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted looping coaster.
Traveling throughout 3,110 feet of twisting, vibrantly-colored track, Talon: the Grip of Fear’s one-of-a-kind layout would thrust riders through a total of four smooth inversions (three of which were never used on a previous coaster in the park) and would become the tallest inverted coaster in the Northeastern United States. As construction started onTalon in the winter of 2000, it became obvious to the general public that Dorney was not joking around with this new bird of prey. Towering above the ground at an altitude of 135 feet, Talon became one of a few B&M coasters to fill their tracks with a finely-grinded sand to prevent sound problems. This expensive but incredibly effective measure helped make an already-smooth coaster even smoother. This was first proven when Talon gave its first ride on May 5th, 2001.
As riders-to-be start their journey down Talon’s lush, gardened queue, they are greeted with the sight of thirty-two screaming passengers rocketing through a 270-degree helix above the ground. After being checked for height by one of Dorney’s friendly employees, guests roam through the line, eventually coming to a staircase. Here, future riders can finally get a glimpse of the whole ride. After climbing into the station, guests get to choose which row they would rather ride in. A separate line splits to the right where visitors craving a ride in the front row can queue. Guests wishing to ride in any of the trains’ other seven rows simply walk up to the row they wish to ride in. Once the train stops in the station and the magnetically-sealed gates open, four riders file into each of the train’s eight rows, giving the ride a total of thirty-two riders and sixty-four riders during two-train operation. Once everyone is fastened in, the orange steel floor lowers and the train starts to crawl out of the station.
Once the chain grabs the train it is at the faith of the bird itself. Climbing up higher and higher, the train finally levels out at 135 feet. Next, the train takes a quick shallow dip, and the clicking of the chain ceases. The aqua and blue trains then highly bank to the right, thrusting riders on the outside of train upward, and those on the inside down. This clever method of descent known as the 'Bolliger & Mabillard Dive' is used so that riders don’t see the end of the drop until they are already there. Evening out at fifty-eight miles per hour, riders are thrown up into a ninety-eight foot vertical loop adjacent to the lift hill. Evening out once more, the train gains more momentum and shoots its riders into a zero-g roll right over the station and guests eagerly waiting there turn to ride. Next up, the train dives into a cement-filled trench fifteen feet below the ground. Once again, riders are thrust upwards, this time into an Immelman. Now traveling in the reverse direction, Talon takes its riders into the first of two spirals.
Traveling above the entrance to the queue, riders soar around the yellow, orange and purple track in the shape of a large circle. Now the train twists its riders into an S-bend, giving riders on the right side of the train a near-miss moment with supports from the brake run below. Next, the train plummets down a long drop, loading riders with airtime, something unique to an inverted coaster. Snaking over the zero-g roll, riders travel through an extremely highly-banked section of track, swerving to the right. Traveling right towards the initial drop, at the last second the train pulls upward into the final inversion, the corkscrew. Last up the ride’s menu is a highly-banked 270-degree carousel curve only feet from the ground. Blasting any onlookers with a rush of air, the train makes a final bunny hop into the brake run. Slowing down, riders finally start to rejuvenate from a breathtaking experience with Talon. Passing the transfer track, the train full of thrill-induced riders makes a final U-turn into the station.
Modeled after amazing coasters such as Raptor and Alpengeist, Talon is one coaster sure to give Dorney Park guests the ride of their lives. All you need to do is let bird of prey sink its claws into you, something you’re surely not going to forget anytime soon.
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