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Firebird (roller coaster)

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Firebird logo.jpg
Previously known as Iron Wolf (1990–2011)
Apocalypse (2012–2018)
Six Flags America
Park section Chesapeake
Coordinates 38°54′30″N 76°46′26″W / 38.90833°N 76.77389°W / 38.90833; -76.77389
Status Under construction
Opening date 2019
Replaced Skull Mountain
Six Flags Great America
Name Iron Wolf
Park section County Fair
Coordinates 42°21′58″N 87°55′52″W / 42.36611°N 87.93111°W / 42.36611; -87.93111Coordinates: 42°21′58″N 87°55′52″W / 42.36611°N 87.93111°W / 42.36611; -87.93111
Status Relocated
Opening date April 28, 1990 (1990-04-28)
Closing date September 5, 2011 (2011-09-05)
Replaced Z-Force
Replaced by Goliath
Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America at RCDB
Pictures of Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America at RCDB
General statistics
Type Steel – Floorless Coaster
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Floorless
Track layout Twister
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 100 ft (30 m)
Drop 90 ft (27 m)
Length 2,900 ft (880 m)
Speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Inversions 2
Duration 2:00
Capacity 1220 riders per hour
Height restriction 54 in (137 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train.
Flash Pass Available
Firebird at RCDB
Pictures of Firebird at RCDB

Firebird is an upcoming floorless roller coaster located at Six Flags America in Prince George's County, Maryland.[1] The roller coaster had originally debuted in 1990 as a stand-up roller coaster named Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. It was later relocated to Six Flags America in 2012 and renamed Apocalypse, under which it operated until 2018.[2] It will reemerge as Firebird when it reopens in 2019.[3]

The roller coaster was the first to be built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard.[4] When known as Iron Wolf, the roller coaster briefly held world records among stand-up roller coasters for height (100-foot or 30-metre) and speed (55 miles per hour or 89 kilometres per hour) before being surpassed several years later.


Six Flags Great America (1990–2011)[edit]

Iron Wolf train inside a vertical loop

On April 28, 1990, Apocalypse opened as Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America on the former site of Z-Force (the only Intamin Space Diver ever manufactured).[5][6][7] At its debut in 1990, it was the tallest and fastest stand-up roller coaster in the world until 1992 when TOGO built Milky Way which stands at 125 feet (38 m) and 1996 when Bolliger & Mabillard built Mantis at Cedar Point which has a top speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h).[8][9][10][11][12]

In 1994, Iron Wolf appeared in the movie Richie Rich as Richie's backyard roller coaster.[5][13]

On August 5, 2011, Six Flags Great America announced on their official Facebook page that the Iron Wolf would be closed on September 5, 2011: "After a long 21 year history at the park, we will be removing Iron Wolf. Make sure to get your last rides in – Iron Wolf’s Last Stand is September 5".[8][14][15] 'The Last Stand' is also a reference to the slogan afforded to Apocalypse.[16][17] Iron Wolf's former site would be taken over in 2014 by a custom RMC wooden roller coaster.

Six Flags America (2012–present)[edit]

Fire effects on Apocalypse

Apocalypse (2012–18)[edit]

On August 22, 2011, Six Flags America announced on their Facebook page that they would be adding a new attraction in 2012.[18] From this day, the park began to slowly remove burnt pieces from an envelope each days leading up to the official announcement on September 1, 2011.[19] On September 1, 2011, Six Flags America announced that they would be adding Apocalypse in 2012.[20]

Iron Wolf closed on September 5, 2011,[8] and work began on preparing it for transport to its new location.[21] The new owners planned to add the roller coaster to the Skull Island section of their park, but before the relocation could take place, the Skull Mountain ride at Six Flags America had to be closed and demolished to make room for the new attraction.[22][23][24] Construction for the coaster continued until the end of March 2012 when the final piece of track was installed.[25]

The official Facebook page for Six Flags America had stated that the ride would officially open on May 25, 2012,[26] but this was later changed to June 7, 2012.[1][27]

Firebird (2019–present)[edit]

On August 16, 2018, the park announced on their social media platforms that Apocalypse would close on September 8, 2018.[2][28] On August 30, 2018, instead of being demolished, it was announced that Apocalypse would be converted into a floorless coaster and renamed Firebird for the 2019 season. It is the third Bolliger & Mabillard stand-up coaster to be converted into a floorless coaster, after Cedar Point's Rougarou (previously known as Mantis) and California's Great America's Patriot (previously known as Vortex).

Ride experience[edit]

After departing the station, the train makes a 180 degree turn leading to the 100-foot (30 m) chain lift hill. Once at the top, the train goes through a pre-drop before making a sharp left hand turn leading into the first drop. Once the train is at the bottom of the first drop, it immediately goes through the first of two inversions, a vertical loop. The train then makes an upward right turn before making a left turn back down to the ground. The train continues to go left before going through an upward helix. After, the train makes a downward right s-bend leading into the second and final inversion, a corkscrew. The train makes a left turn back up before going through another s-bend, small over-banked turn which leads to the brake run.[29][30] One cycle lasts about 2 minutes with riders reaching a top speed of 55 miles per hour (89 km/h).[1]


Apocalypse operates with two steel and fiberglass trains. Each train has seven cars with four seats each for a total of 28 riders per train.[1][5] When the roller coaster was known as Iron Wolf, both trains featured the face of a wolf on the front of the train. After the ride was relocated to Six Flags America, the wolf was removed and the word "Apocalypse" replaced it.[31][32]


The steel track is approximately 2,900 feet (880 m) in length and the height of the lift is approximately 100 feet (30 m). The first drop is 90 feet (27 m). When the coaster was known as Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America, the track was brown. Today, the coaster features orange and grey track with black supports to match the apocalypse theme.[32]


Between 1990 and 2011, when Apocalypse was known as Iron Wolf, there was no theme for the roller coaster. After its relocation to Six Flags America, to match the new name of the coaster, an end of the world apocalypse theme was added with fire, crashed planes and zombies located in the queue line and along the layout of the roller coaster.[33][34] As guests go further in the queue line to the end at the station, it mimics an end of the world apocalypse scenario. The skull from Skull Mountain also serves as a backdrop to the ride.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Marden, Duane. "Apocalypse  (Six Flags America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Six Flags America (August 16, 2018). "Six Flags America is closing its Apocalypse stand-up roller coaster". Washington Top News. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Maryland's First Floorless Roller Coaster to Debut at Six Flags America in 2019". Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  4. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Bolliger & Mabillard roller coasters)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Iron Wolf  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. ^ biZarRo (February 12, 2011). "The Significance of Bolliger & Mabillard". COASTER-Net. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  7. ^ Marden, Duane. "Space Diver". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "'Iron Wolf's last stand is Sept. 5'". Chicago Sun-Times. August 5, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  9. ^ Six Flags Great America. "Iron Wolf". Six Flags. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Yeager, Connie (March 25, 1990). "New roller coasters promise wilder rides". The Telegraph. p. 59. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Marden, Duane. "Milky Way  (Mitsui Greenland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Marden, Duane. "Mantis  (Cedar Point)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994) – Trivia". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  14. ^ Six Flags Great America (August 5, 2011). "After a long 21..." Facebook. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  15. ^ Coasterholic14 (August 6, 2011). "Six Flags Great America Losing Long-time Stand-Up Coaster". COASTER-Net. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "Wall Photos". Six Flags Great America (Facebook). September 1, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  17. ^ Moran, Dan (September 1, 2011). "New coaster coming to Gurnee Six Flags in 2012". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  18. ^ Six Flags America (August 22, 2011). "This TOP SECRET envelope..." Facebook. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  19. ^ "Six Flags America's Standing Orders for 2012". News Plus Notes. August 25, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  20. ^ Six Flags America (September 1, 2011). "Maryland's..." Facebook. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  21. ^ Barron, Christina (May 30, 2012). "Six Flags America previews its new coaster, Apocalypse". Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  22. ^ Six Flags America (September 1, 2011). "Apocalypse". Six Flags. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  23. ^ "Six Flags America Prepares Final Voyage For Skull Mountain". Six Flags America. June 9, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  24. ^ "Six Flags America prepares for final voyage of Skull Mountain to make way for 2012 attraction". Behind The Thrills. June 9, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  25. ^ [@sfafans] (31 March 2012). "Apocalypse is complete!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Six Flags America (September 1, 2011). "Six Flags America Announces Apocalypse". Six Flags. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  27. ^ Six Flags America (June 7, 2012). "Six Flags America Unleashes Apocalypse". Six Flags. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  28. ^ Six Flags America (August 16, 2018). "THE APOCALYPSE ENDS AT SIX FLAGS AMERICA". Six Flags. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "Apocalypse HD POV Six Flags America". CoasterBandit3D (YouTube). June 2, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  30. ^ "Apocalypse - The Last Stand (Coaster-Net)". Coaster-Net. December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  31. ^ "Iron Wolf Train". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "7am Six Flags Coaster Holly Morris". Fox 5 News. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "Maryland Six Flags Theme Park Opens First Stand-Up Roller Coaster". Ultimate Roller Coaster. June 7, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  34. ^ "Apocalypse Roller Coaster POV Front Seat Six Flags America 2012". themeparkreviewtpr (YouTube). June 8, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.

External links[edit]