Wing Coaster

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This article is about Bolliger & Mabillard's roller coaster model. For Intamin's version, see Wing Coaster (Intamin).
Wing Coaster
The swarm drop, thorpe park, england.jpg
The first inversion and drop of The Swarm at Thorpe Park. X-Flight features a similar first drop.
Status In Production
First manufactured 2011
No. of installations 7
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Vehicle type Train seats are located level with the track on both sides.
Riders per row 4
Restraint Style "Cover" and bar that sits on the riders waist
Wing Coaster at RCDB

A Wing Coaster is a type of steel roller coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard where pairs of riders sit on either side of a roller coaster track in which nothing is above or below the riders. Development of the Wing Coaster began between 2007 and 2008 leading to the opening of Raptor at Gardaland, the world's first Wing Coaster, on April 1, 2011. There are currently seven Wing Coasters operating worldwide and one under construction as of July 2014.

History[edit]

Raptor at Gardaland was the world's first Wing Coaster, opening in 2011.

According to Walter Bolliger, development of the Wing Coaster began between 2007 and 2008.[1] In 2010, Bolliger & Mabillard announced a prototype Wing Coaster design that would be built at Merlin Entertainments' Gardaland.[2][3][4] It became known as Raptor, which opened on 1 April 2011.[5] A year later, Merlin Entertainments opened a second Wing Coaster on 15 March 2012, called The Swarm at Thorpe Park.[6][7]

In the United States, the first Wing Coaster to be announced was X-Flight, which opened at Six Flags Great America on 16 May 2012.[8][9] Dollywood's Wild Eagle actually opened earlier on 24 March 2012, making it the first Wing Coaster in North America.[10][11] On 13 August 2012, Cedar Point announced plans to build a new Wing Coaster called GateKeeper, which set new records for a Wing Coaster including longest track length, fastest speed and drop height.[12] The first Wing Coaster in Asia, Flying Over the Rainforest, opened at Ocean Kingdom on 25 January 2014.[13] Thorpe Park announced that the last two rows of The Swarm would be turned backwards – a first for a Wing Coaster – for the 2013 season.[14][15]

On July 24, 2014, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari announced Thunderbird, a new launching Wing Coaster for the 2015 season. It will be the first launched Wing Coaster in the U.S., accelerating from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. It will also feature a 14-story Immelmann loop, a popular half-loop inversion found in many modern roller coasters.[16]

Design[edit]

A ride operator checking the restraints on X-Flight at Six Flags Great America. Notice how the bars on the restraint system are not what actually hold the rider in place.
Nothing above, nothing below. An unprecedented feeling of freedom.[17]

—Bolliger & Mabillard

The design of a Wing Coaster differs from many traditional steel roller coaster. Unlike many roller coasters, the trains for a Wing Coaster are not located above or below the track but rather on the sides. With the trains in this configuration, there is nothing above and below the riders giving the feeling that they are flying freely. Also, because there is nothing on top of the track and only steel beams holding each ends of the train together, all current Wing Coasters have an object (that relates to the theme) that covers the steel beams and adds to the experience.[18] The restraints on the trains are also different. Instead of simply having the traditional over-the-shoulder restraint bar as used on many inverted roller coasters, the Wing Coaster uses similar restraints as Bolliger & Mabillard's Flying Coaster which includes a "cover" and a restraint that sits on the rider's waist holding them in place with bars on the side for the rider to hold on to.[19] The differences are not only within the train but also the layout of the station. This is because the layout of the station for a Wing Coaster requires the queue to split in two halves. This allows riders to board the train where the seats sit level with the track.[20]

Installations[edit]

X-Flight at Six Flags Great America going through the signature keyhole element.

Bolliger & Mabillard has built seven Wing Coasters as of July 2014. The roller coasters are listed in order of opening dates.

Name Park Country Opened Status
Raptor Gardaland Italy Italy April 1, 2011 Operating [5]
The Swarm Thorpe Park United Kingdom United Kingdom March 15, 2012 Operating [6]
Wild Eagle Dollywood United States United States March 24, 2012 Operating [11]
X-Flight Six Flags Great America United States United States May 16, 2012 Operating [9][21]
GateKeeper Cedar Point United States United States May 11, 2013 Operating [22][23]
Parrot Coaster Chime-Long Ocean Kingdom China China January 25, 2014 Operating [13][24]
Flug der Dämonen Heide Park Germany Germany March 29, 2014 Operating [25]
Thunderbird Holiday World & Splashin' Safari United States United States April 2015 Under construction [26]

Similar rides[edit]

Prior to the development of the Wing Coaster, in 2007, Intamin debuted a version of their Accelerator Coaster with modified trains similar to those used on 4th Dimension roller coasters and Wing Coasters.[27] Known as a Wing Rider Coaster, Furius Baco at PortAventura was the first and currently only ride of its type.[28] It launches riders from 0 to 135 kilometres per hour (84 mph) in 3.5 seconds with trains that seat six rows of four people (two on either side of the track).[27]

In addition to the Wing Rider Coaster, Intamin has also introduced a model named Wing Coaster. The first installation was Skyrush at Hersheypark in 2012. The trains feature 2 seats are still positioned over the track and have a floor, while 2 hang over the side which are the "wings".

The Wing Coaster is also similar to John F. Mares' 4th Dimension roller coaster concept from the 1990s. However, unlike 4th Dimension roller coasters, cars on a Wing Coaster train do not spin — they are locked in place. Examples of 4th Dimension roller coasters include X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Eejanaika at Fuji-Q Highland.[29][30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IAAPA 2011 Trade Show Part 4 Theme Park Review Fishpipe Water Ride B&M Zamperla". Theme Park Review / YouTube. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  2. ^ B&M 2012 Product Catalog
  3. ^ "X-Raptor, the prototype 4th Dimension B & M". 23 July 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Gardaland Raptor". Gardaland. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Raptor  (Gardaland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Swarm  (Thorpe Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Weekly notice of applications registered by Runnymede Borough Council for the period ending: 09/02/2011". 9 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Marshall, Glenn (31 January 2012). "Construction Underway For Six Flags 'Wing Coaster'". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "X-Flight  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Dollywood 2012". 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Wild Eagle  (Dollywood)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Cedar Point Announces Plans for New World-Record-Breaking Roller Coaster!". Cedar Point. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Parrot Coaster  (Ocean Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Sim, Nick (January 22, 2013). "Confirmed: Thorpe Park to reverse seats on each train of The Swarm roller coaster for 2013 season". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Swarm". Thorpe Park. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  16. ^ McCleery, Bill (July 24, 2014). "Holiday World takes flight with $22M Thunderbird wing coaster". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Wing Coaster". Bolliger & Mabillard. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Marden, Duane. "Wing Coaster". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Six Flags opens X Flight wing coaster". Chicago Tribune. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Wild Eagle Media Day!". Theme Park Review. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  21. ^ MacDonald, Brady (1 September 2011). "Six Flags unveils new attractions for every park in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  22. ^ Marden, Duane. "GateKeeper  (Cedar Point)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  23. ^ Haidet, Ryan (October 23, 2012). "First track pieces for GateKeeper coaster arrive". WKYC. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  24. ^ Alvey, Robb. "IAAPA 2012 Trade Show". Photo. Theme Park Review. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Marden, Duane. "Flug der Dämonen  (Heide Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Marden, Duane. "Thunderbird  (Holiday World & Splashin' Safari)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Furius Baco  (PortAventura)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  28. ^ "Wing Rider Coaster". Intamin. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Marden, Duane. "X2  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  30. ^ Marden, Duane. "Eejanaika  (Fuji-Q Highland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 

External links[edit]