Afterburn (roller coaster)

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This article is about the roller coaster at Carowinds. For the roller coaster previously called Afterburn, see Flight Deck (California's Great America).
Afterburn
Afterburn overview.jpg
An overview of Afterburn. Its lift hill, first drop and batwing can be seen in the foreground, with its vertical loop in the background.
Previously known as Top Gun: The Jet Coaster
Carowinds
Park section County Fair
Coordinates 35°06′01″N 80°56′27″W / 35.10025°N 80.94092°W / 35.10025; -80.94092Coordinates: 35°06′01″N 80°56′27″W / 35.10025°N 80.94092°W / 35.10025; -80.94092
Status Operating
Soft opening date March 16, 1999 (1999-03-16)
Opening date March 20, 1999 (1999-03-20)
Cost US$10.5 million
Replaced The Wild Bull
General statistics
Type Steel – Inverted
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH
Model Inverted Coaster – Custom
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 113 ft (34 m)
Length 2,956 ft (901 m)
Speed 62 mph (100 km/h)
Inversions 6
Duration 2:47
Capacity 1380 riders per hour
Height restriction 54 in (137 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.
Fast Lane available
Afterburn at RCDB
Pictures of Afterburn at RCDB

Afterburn is a steel inverted roller coaster at the Carowinds amusement park in the United States. The ride was added in 1999 after more than two years of planning and construction. The ride operated under the ownership of Paramount Parks as Top Gun: The Jet Coaster, before it was renamed Afterburn under Cedar Fair's ownership.

Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, Afterburn stands 113 feet (34 m) tall and reaches speeds of 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). The 2,956-foot-long (901 m) track is navigated in under three minutes. The ride has generally been well received, featuring several times in the Golden Ticket Awards' Top 50 Steel Roller Coasters.

History[edit]

In early 1997, Paramount's Carowinds began consultations with roller coaster manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard about adding a new ride to their park.[1] During 18 months of discussions, several designs and themes for the ride were developed, including theming it to the Godzilla franchise.[1][2] In July 1998, the park announced the addition of Top Gun: The Jet Coaster for the 1999 season.[1] At a cost of $10.5 million, it would be the single biggest investment in the park's history.[3] The announcement followed Paramount Parks adding Top Gun-themed inverted and suspended roller coasters to several of their parks throughout the 1990s, including Paramount's Great America, Paramount Canada's Wonderland, and Paramount's Kings Island.[4][5][6] To construct the attraction at Carowinds, the park's Bayern Kurve ride, Wild Bull, had to be removed. The park intended to keep the ride in storage for a potential relocation elsewhere within the park. The removal of Wild Bull shortened construction time because no trees or buildings had to be removed. Construction began in late July 1998, with the first track arriving in August. Testing was completed in January 1999.[1]

Top Gun: The Jet Coaster soft opened to guests and media on March 16, 1999.[7] Riders of the first cycle included NASCAR drivers Stanton Barrett, Tony Stewart, Jerry Nadeau, and Kenny Wallace.[3] The ride officially opened to the public on March 20, 1999.[2] On July 1, 2006, the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company announced their acquisition of all of the Paramount Parks, including Carowinds.[3] The aforementioned Top Gun roller coasters at other parks were all renamed to Flight Deck by the 2008 season, with Carowinds' installation being renamed to Afterburn.[2][4][5][6][8] For the 2014 season, the ride's 15th season, Afterburn will receive a new coat of paint.[9]

Characteristics[edit]

Afterburn's Immelmann

The 2,956-foot-long (901 m) Afterburn stands 113 feet (34 m) tall. The ride features a total of six inversions including a vertical loop, an Immelmann loop, a zero-g roll, a batwing, and a corkscrew. Riders over 54 inches (140 cm) achieve a top speed of 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) on the two-minute forty-seven second ride. Afterburn operates with two trains featuring eight cars. Each car seats riders four across, for a total of 32 riders per train. The theoretical hourly capacity of the ride is 1,380 riders.[1][2]

To match the original Top Gun theme, the ride's area was designed to feel like a military base. The main queue was housed in a hangar with a two-third scale F14 Tomcat fighter. Guests enter the ride area by passing through the batwing element.[1]

Ride experience[edit]

As the train leaves the station, a recorded message, "Clear for Takeoff" is played.[10] Afterburn then climbs its chain lift hill, reaching a peak height of 113 feet (34 m). After a small pre-drop, the roller coaster train then drops to the right to enter its first inversion, a vertical loop. It then remains low to the ground as it enters an Immelmann loop, which sends the train in the opposite direction. The train then climbs up and spins through a zero-g roll, an inverting element where riders experience the feeling of weightlessness. The exit of the inversion dives back to the ground, entering the two-inversion batwing element which crosses under the park's rear entrance in the process.[2][11]

As Afterburn exits the batwing, it climbs through a camelback hill, before entering its final inversion, a corkscrew to the right. The train then begins a 270-degree climbing helix to the left, after which it reaches the ride's brake run and returns to the station.[2][11]

Reception[edit]

A train navigating Afterburn's zero-g roll

Afterburn has been well received. Arthur Levine of About.com stated the ride "is among the best inverted coasters" he's ridden, giving the ride a 4 out of 5 rating. Levine praises the ride for the lack of headbanging that results from over-the-shoulder-restraints (OTSR) on many roller coasters.[12] The Coaster Critic describes the "pacing and order of inversions [as] near perfect", giving the ride an "excellent" rating of 9 out of 10.[13]

Afterburn has appeared in Amusement Today '​s annual Golden Ticket Awards several times. It debuted at position 18 in 1999,[14] before disappearing from the poll for the three years to follow.[15][16][17] The ride returned to the poll, before hitting a low of 45 in 2012.[18]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Ranking 18[14] [15] 34[16] 46[17] 39[19] 40[20] 29[21] 32[22] 41[23] 39[24] [25] [26] [27] 45[18] 35[28]

In Mitch Hawker's worldwide Best Roller Coaster Poll, Afterburn entered at position 12 in 1999, before slowly declining to a low of 41 in 2012. The ride's ranking in subsequent polls is shown in the table below.[29]

Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best steel-Tracked Roller Coaster[29]
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Ranking 12 No poll 33 33 21 20 23 29 27 34 35 31 No poll 41 41

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Muret, Don (July 13, 1998). "Top Gun shoots down Wild Bull at Paramount's Carowinds Park". Amusement Business 110 (28): 42. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Marden, Duane. "Afterburn  (Carowinds)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Rutherford, Scott (2013). Carowinds. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 106–107. ISBN 9781467120036. 
  4. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Flight Deck  (California's Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Flight Deck  (Canada's Wonderland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Bat  (Kings Island)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Flying high". The Post and Courier. March 17, 1999. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ O'Daniel, Adam (March 29, 2008). "Carowinds slashing season ticket prices". Herald Online. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Carowinds (December 11, 2013). "Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Exhilarating Experience - 'Top Gun' Roller Coaster Fulfills Need For Speed - And Fear". The State. March 20, 1999. 
  11. ^ a b "Afterburn Front Seat on-ride HD POV Carowinds". Coaster Force. YouTube. January 26, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ Levine, Arthur (2010). "Afterburn Roller Coaster at Carowinds Mini Review". About.com (The New York Times Company). Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Afterburn @ Carowinds". The Coaster Critic. August 14, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. August 1999. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. August 2001. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. September 2002. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 16 (6.2): 36–37. September 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14–15B. September 2003. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 18–19B. September 2004. Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 26–27B. September 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 26–27B. September 2006. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 11 (6.2): 36–37. September 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 12 (6.2): 36–37. September 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 13 (6.2): 32–33. September 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 14 (6.2): 34–35. September 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 15 (6.2): 38–39. September 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  28. ^ "2013 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 17 (6.2): 34–35. September 2013. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b Hawker, Mitch. "Steel Roller Coaster Poll 13 Year Results Table (1999–2013)". Best Roller Coaster Poll. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 

External links[edit]