SkyScreamer

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This article is about the tower rides at Six Flags parks. For the tower ride at MarineLand, see MarineLand.
SkyScreamer
SkyScreamer logo.png
SkyScreamer at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.JPG
SkyScreamer at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags St. Louis
Area Illinois
Coordinates 38°30′58″N 90°40′28″W / 38.5161°N 90.6744°W / 38.5161; -90.6744
Status Operating
Opening date May 14, 2011 (2011-05-14)
Replaced Riverview Racer
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Area Sky
Status Operating
Opening date May 27, 2011 (2011-05-27)
La Ronde
Status Operating
Opening date May 19, 2012 (2012-05-19)
Six Flags Great Adventure
Area Adventure Alley
Coordinates 40°08′09″N 74°26′26″W / 40.1357°N 74.4406°W / 40.1357; -74.4406
Status Operating
Opening date May 23, 2012 (2012-05-23)
Replaced Turbo Bungy
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Area Spassburg
Status Operating
Soft opening date May 26, 2012 (2012-05-26)
Opening date May 27, 2012 (2012-05-27)
Replaced 3-Point Challenge
Six Flags Over Georgia
Area Lickskillet
Status Operating
Soft opening date May 11, 2013 (2013-05-11)
Opening date May 24, 2013 (2013-05-24)
Replaced Wheelie
Six Flags Over Texas
Area Goodtimes Square
Status Operating
Opening date May 25, 2013 (2013-05-25)
Replaced Texas Chute Out
Six Flags New England
Area North End
Status Operating
Soft opening date May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15)
Opening date May 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)
Replaced Taz's Dare Devil Dive
Six Flags Mexico
Area Hollywood
Coordinates 19°17′39″N 99°12′23″W / 19.2942°N 99.2064°W / 19.2942; -99.2064
Status Under construction
Opening date 2015 (2015)
General statistics
Attraction type Tower Swinger
Manufacturer Funtime
Model Star Flyer
Speed 43 mph (69 km/h)
Vehicles 16
Riders per vehicle 2
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Flash Pass available

SkyScreamer is an amusement ride located at several Six Flags theme parks in North America. Designed by Funtime, an Australian ride manufacturer, the attraction is one of their "Star Flyer" models. Since 2011, Six Flags has installed SkyScreamers in eight of their parks.

Riders aboard SkyScreamer are carried aloft in two-person swing-like chairs attached to a rotating gondola mounted on a central tower. When the gondola reaches the top of the tower, riders are swung in a wide circle at speeds approaching 43 miles per hour (69 km/h), with expansive views of the adjacent countryside. The ride is marketed to both thrill-ride enthusiasts and patrons seeking a more family-friendly experience.

History[edit]

The first two SkyScreamers were announced in late 2010 for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags St. Louis for the 2011 season.[1][2] On May 14, 2011, SkyScreamer officially opened at Six Flags St. Louis,[3] where it replaced the Riverview Racer.[4] On May 27, 2011, SkyScreamer made its debut at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, adjacent to the Medusa roller coaster.[5]

In September 2011, Six Flags announced the addition of SkyScreamer to two more parks, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Great Adventure.[6][7] On January 19, 2012, Six Flags announced that La Ronde would also receive a Star Flyer tower.[8] On May 19, 2012, La Ronde opened their attraction, using the name Vol Ultime (French for "Ultimate Flight") instead of SkyScreamer.[9] On May 23, 2012, Six Flags Great Adventure opened SkyScreamer as part of their new Adventure Alley section, which was based around the idea of retro-style amusement rides.[10] On May 27, 2012, Six Flags Fiesta Texas opened their SkyScreamer in the Spassburg section of the park; season passholders were allowed to experience the ride one day earlier.[11]

In July 2012, Six Flags New England submitted plans to the city of Agawam, Massachusetts requesting special approval to construct a 385-foot-tall (117 m) Star Flyer ride, as the proposed height exceeded the city's height limit.[12] The approval was granted a week later, with an additional conditional approval to build as tall as 410 feet (120 m), in case a competing park built a taller model first.[13] The planning documents revealed that the ride would replace the park's Skycoaster, "Taz's Dare Devil Dive".[13]

However, when Six Flags announced its 2013 capital investments in August 2012, the Six Flags New England Star Flyer was not included.[14] Instead, two other parks, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Over Georgia, were set to receive SkyScreamer attractions.[15][16] Six Flags Over Georgia's 242-foot (74 m) version replaced the Wheelie and officially debuted on May 24, 2013 after two weekends of passholder previews.[16][17] Six Flags Over Texas' model, dubbed the Texas SkyScreamer, reached 400 feet (120 m) in height and opened on May 25, 2013. It replaced the Texas Chute Out and Flashback.[18] Texas SkyScreamer was awarded the title of the "world's tallest swing carousel ride" by Guinness World Records.[19] Although reports suggested it took this record from the 117-metre-tall (384 ft) Prater Turm in Vienna, Austria,[19] Eclipse at Gröna Lund actually held the record for a period of a month standing at 120 metres (390 ft), 3 metres (9.8 ft) shorter than the Texas SkyScreamer.[20]

On August 29, 2013, Six Flags announced that they would be adding the New England SkyScreamer to Six Flags New England in 2014.[21] The over 400-foot-tall ride debuted officially on May 23, 2014 in the park's North End section.[22]

As part of its 2015 attractions presentation on August 28, 2014, Six Flags announced that Six Flags Mexico will be the next park to receive a SkyScreamer, a 74-metre (243 ft) model and the only attraction of its kind in Latin America.[23]

Installations[edit]

All rides were installed by Ride Entertainment Group, who handle all of Funtime's operations in North America.[24][25]

Name Park Area SkyScreamer Height Opening date Refs
SkyScreamer Six Flags St. Louis Illinois 236 feet or 72 metres May 14, 2011 [2][3]
SkyScreamer Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Sky 150 feet or 46 metres May 27, 2011 [5]
Vol Ultime La Ronde 148 feet or 45 metres May 19, 2012 [9]
SkyScreamer Six Flags Great Adventure Adventure Alley 242 feet or 74 metres May 22, 2012 [10]
SkyScreamer Six Flags Fiesta Texas Spassburg 200 feet or 61 metres May 27, 2012 [11]
SkyScreamer Six Flags Over Georgia Lickskillet 242 feet or 74 metres May 24, 2013 [16]
Texas SkyScreamer Six Flags Over Texas Goodtimes Square 400 feet or 120 metres May 25, 2013 [18]
New England SkyScreamer Six Flags New England North End 409 feet or 125 metres May 23, 2014 [22]
SkyScreamer Six Flags Mexico Hollywood 242 feet or 74 metres 2015 [23]

Ride experience[edit]

New England SkyScreamer

While the heights of the various SkyScreamer installations vary from park to park, the basic operation of the ride is consistent. Riders sit in one of 16 two-seat chairs connected to a gondola mounted on a central tower, which brings the gondola up and down.[5] A seat belt is placed over the rider's waist to keep them firmly in their seat, and a lap bar is fastened into place.[10] When the ride cycle begins, the gondola rises to the top of the tower, beginning to spin slowly around the central tower and picking up speed as it ascends further.[10] By the time it reaches the top, it is rotating around the tower at its full speed of approximately 43 miles per hour (69 km/h), with riders rotating around the tower in a circle 98 feet (30 m) in diameter.[5] The gondola remains at the top of the tower for a period of time, then it descends and slows down slightly before returning to the top.[10] At the end of the cycle, the gondola lowers to the ground and slows its rotation such that, by the time it reaches the bottom of the tower, all rotation has ceased and the riders are able to depart. Optionally, SkyScreamer can be set to rotate in the opposite direction during its cycle, such that riders are traveling backwards. Thus far, the installations at St. Louis, Discovery Kingdom, Fiesta Texas and La Ronde have operated in this manner, with each running them in this mode during special events or as a limited-time promotion.[26][27][28]

The New England SkyScreamer and Texas SkyScreamer differs from the standard models, although the actual ride experience is intended to be the same. The gondola of the two rides hold 12 two-seat chairs instead of 16.[15] When the gondola reaches full height, the chairs rotate in a larger circle—124 feet (38 m)—but at a slower speed—35 miles per hour (56 km/h).[15][21]

Reception[edit]

SkyScreamer has been described as being a "classic" and "retro" ride by the press.[10][11] It is marketed as a compromise between riders who prefer roller coasters and similar thrills and those who prefer more family-friendly rides.[10][11] Roller coaster enthusiasts, who are often sought out to sample new thrill rides, have been generally positive about the attractions. Frankie Gobel, a roller coaster fan whose father, Charlie Gobel, wrote a book about their experiences entitled Flying With Frankie: Three Hundred Days in Amusement Parks Riding Roller Coasters With My Son, described the ride as not being "your typical swing set" commenting that "It’s not too intense for Mom or too dull for a teenager. It’s the perfect family ride - assuming your family has a strong stomach."[10]

Gary Slade, the publisher of Amusement Today magazine, said that while SkyScreamer doesn't have the same drawing power as a new roller coaster, it still was the type of ride parks needed to install to keep guests returning.[11] Slade said, in regards to the attraction at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, "I think it's really going to be a huge hit for them."[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brady MacDonald (October 7, 2010). "Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to add tower swing ride for 2011". latimes.com (Tribune Newspapers). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Evan S. Benn (September 16, 2010). "More rides, more fun: Six Flags to add SkyScreamer". stltoday.com. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Huy Mach (May 16, 2011). "Video: Take a peek at Six Flags' new SkyScreamer ride". stltoday.com. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Six Flags St. Louis (September 16, 2010). "where is the ride...". Facebook. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Amy Maginnis-Honey (May 25, 2011). "Six Flags launches new ride with support from Travis AFB". dailyrepublic.com. Fairfield-Suisun Daily Republic. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Guillermo X. Garcia (September 2, 2011). "SkyScreamer ride to be built". mysanantonio.com. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Great Adventure, Dorney Park announce new rides for 2012". NJ.com. New Jersey On-Line LLC. September 1, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ La Ronde (January 19, 2012). "La Ronde will set the limit in 2012 with its upcoming new extreme tower ride". Press Release. Six Flags. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "La Ronde ouvre ses portes et nous entraîne dans son Vol Ultime!". quebec.huffingtonpost.ca (in French). Huffington Post. May 19, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Jacob E. Osterhout (May 24, 2012). "Six Flags Great Adventure debuts new SkyScreamer ride". nydailynews.com (New York Daily News). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f William Pack (May 23, 2012). "New ride screams onto park scene". mysanantonio.com. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  12. ^ Constantine, Sandra (July 23, 2012). "Six Flags New England seeks to build world's tallest swing set ride in Agawam". News Article. MassLive.com. 
  13. ^ a b Constantine, Sandra (July 30, 2012). "Six Flags New England gets Agawam OK to build highest swing set ride in world". News Article. MassLive.com. 
  14. ^ "Six Flags New for 2013". SixFlags.com. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c Karen Robinson-Jacobs (August 30, 2012). "Six Flags plans to launch world’s tallest swing ride next spring". dallasnews.com. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c Beth Sawicki (August 30, 2012). "Six Flags, White Water unveil new rides". 11alive.com. Pacific and Southern Company. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  17. ^ Tom Kelley (May 10, 2013). "Six Flags’ SkyScreamer gets you in the swing of things at 24 stories". myajc.com. Cox Newspapers, Inc. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b McCormack, David (May 26, 2013). "Scream if you want to go higher! The world's highest swing ride opens in Texas to take thrill-seekers up to 400 FEET in the air". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Guinness World Records certifies Six Flags’ Texas SkyScreamer as ‘world’s tallest swing ride’". The Dallas Morning News. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Officially the world's tallest Star Flyer!". Park World Magazine (Datateam Business Media Limited). 13 June 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "New for 2014". August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Kristi Palma (June 4, 2014). "New SkyScreamer Ride at Six Flags New England Inspires Photos, Videos, Tears". boston.com. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Six Flags México anuncia emociones de altura con el nuevo SkyScreamer". sixflags.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Star Flyer opens in Vancouver". Park World Magazine. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Projects". Ride Entertainment Group. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Six Flags St. Louis Presents Expanded Fright Fest with Extra Days, New Haunted Attractions and More Scare Zones". The Wall Street Journal. 23 Sep 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "Experience Surprising Twirling Thrills On Skyscreamer Backwards". Six Flags. 19 Mar 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "Vol Ultime". sixflags.com. Six Flags. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eclipse at Gröna Lund (399 ft/121.6 meters)
World's Tallest Swing Ride
(Texas SkyScreamer)

May 2013–May 2014
Succeeded by
New England SkyScreamer at Six Flags New England (409 ft/124.6 meters)
Preceded by
Texas SkyScreamer at Six Flags Over Texas (400 ft/121.9 meters)
World's Tallest Swing Ride
(New England SkyScreamer)

May 2014–present
Succeeded by
Current holder