Goliath (Six Flags Great America)
Goliath's 180 feet (55 m) drop
|Six Flags Great America|
|Park section||County Fair|
|Soft opening date||June 18, 2014|
|Opening date||June 19, 2014|
|Manufacturer||Rocky Mountain Construction|
|Model||Topper Track – Custom|
|Lift/launch system||Chain lift hill|
|Height||165 ft (50 m)|
|Drop||180 ft (55 m)|
|Length||3,100 ft (940 m)|
|Speed||72 mph (116 km/h)|
|Max vertical angle||85°|
|Height restriction||48 in (122 cm)|
|Trains||2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.|
Platinum Flash Pass only available
Single rider line available
Must transfer from wheelchair
|Goliath at RCDB|
Pictures of Goliath at RCDB
Goliath is a wooden roller coaster in County Fair at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. It was manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction and designed by Alan Schilke, and set three world records for wooden roller coasters when it opened to the public on June 19, 2014: the longest drop at 180 feet (55 m), the steepest drop at 85°, and the fastest speed at 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). The ride also features two inversions.
The ride was constructed over a nine-month period beginning in September 2013 on the site previously occupied by Iron Wolf. Following its opening, the ride received favorable reviews from the media and roller coaster enthusiasts.
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. The ride was subsequently removed and relocated to Six Flags America where it operated as Apocalypse: The Last Stand, before becoming Firebird (roller coaster).At the time, the park did not have any definitive plans for the site.
On August 1, 2013, Six Flags Great America began a teaser campaign entitled "Follow the Journey". In mid-August 2013, it was revealed Six Flags Great America would be building a 165-foot-tall (50 m) roller coaster, with plans being lodged with the local zoning committee to exceed the 125-foot (38 m) height limit imposed on the park.
On August 29, 2013, it was officially announced that Six Flags Great America would be adding Goliath, a wooden roller coaster by Rocky Mountain Construction, for the 2014 season. As part of the announcement, a concept computer-animated "point-of-view" (POV) and statistics of the ride were released. Situated on the site of the former Iron Wolf roller coaster, Goliath would utilise the majority of the station and queue line of the former ride, with the station being lengthened to account for twelve rows of seats instead of seven.
On February 21, 2014, Six Flags Great America posted a collection of pictures to its official Facebook page, revealing Goliath's final design. This updated version includes a steel lift hill structure, rather than the traditional wooden structure. An updated animated POV was also released on the park's official YouTube channel.
Construction for Goliath began in September 2013, with a team of 35 employed by Rocky Mountain Construction to erect the ride. The team worked 11-hour days, six days a week through the winter to early May 2014, amounting to approximately 40,000 man hours. The lift hill was topped off on May 16, 2014, with the first test run taking place two weeks later on May 31, 2014. On June 6, 2014, a small section of the rides station was struck by lightning and caught fire, ride was extinguished without any reported injuries or major damage. Following the ride running hundreds of test runs, it officially opened to the public on June 19, 2014.
Goliath is Rocky Mountain Construction's second wooden roller coaster, following the opening of Silver Dollar City's Outlaw Run in early 2013. Although the ride is located in the County Fair section of Six Flags Great America, the name and theme of the ride was chosen purely on the basis of the ride's size and scale. The 3,100-foot-long (940 m) ride stands 165 feet (50 m) tall; however, the ride drops a total of 180 feet (55 m) at an angle of 85° into an underground tunnel. Goliath features two inversions, two overbanked turns, and a top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). Because Goliath was built in such a small space, the lift hill is abnormally steep at an angle of 45°. The entire track has been filled with grout to allow a quieter and smoother ride experience. The ride was designed by Alan Schilke.
The 3,100 feet (940 m) of track is made of six layers of laminated wood, with a steel square tube acting as the topmost layer of track. The steel square tube is known as Topper Track and is found on many roller coasters that Rocky Mountain Construction has renovated, as well as Outlaw Run. This track style is designed to reduce the maintenance typically required for a wooden roller coaster and to provide a smoother ride experience. Rocky Mountain Construction spent four years developing technology to allow them to twist beams of wood, that make up the lower layers of the track. This track configuration allows for more dynamic roller coaster elements to be performed on a wooden roller coaster.
Goliath operates with two trains manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. Each train is made up of six cars, with riders being arranged in two rows of two for a total of 24 riders per train. This configuration caters for approximately 800 riders per hour. The trains feature polyurethane wheels, allowing for a quieter ride. Riders are restrained through the use of an individual lap bar, shinbar, and a seatbelt.
The ride begins with a left turn out of the station before ascending the 165-foot-tall (50 m) chain lift hill at a 45° angle. From the highest point, trains drop 180 feet (55 m) at an angle of 85°, 15 feet (4.6 m) below ground level, reaching their top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). After this, cars ascend to a height of 125 feet (38 m) for an overbanked turnaround, followed by a descent back to the ground and a small air-time hill. A dive loop is next, where riders are inverted before descending a half loop. The track then enters the second inversion, a zero gravity stall, where the train is suspended upside-down as it crests over a hill underneath the lift hill. This element is followed by a second overbanked turnaround, leading to the brake run and a short path back to the station. One cycle of the ride takes approximately 105 seconds to complete.
Goliath claims three Guinness World Records. The ride's 180-foot-tall (55 m) drop at 85° is both the steepest and longest in the world for wooden roller coasters. Goliath was also the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, with a top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). This record was surpassed by Lightning Rod at Dollywood by a single mile per hour at 73 mph in Spring 2016. The addition of Goliath allowed Six Flags Great America to claim having the most wooden roller coaster track of any amusement park in the world. However, this record was later surpassed by Kings Island with the opening of Mystic Timbers in 2017.
The opening of Goliath was widely reported across the world, with those experiencing the ride giving positive reviews. Jessica D'Onofrio of ABC7 Chicago stated Goliath was the smoothest roller coaster she had ever been on, describing it as "a great adrenaline rush". Marcus Leshock of WGN-TV commended the uniqueness of the zero-g stall element, stating "it's something I've never really felt on a coaster before". He describes hanging upside down as a "really nice, fun, exhilarating feeling" without feeling disorientated. Reviewing the ride for Shaw Media, Taylor Trimby of American Coaster Enthusiasts described Goliath as a wonderful ride, stating "You don't have time to prepare for anything. ... You're twisting and turning. ... It's great". Anthony Murphy of Theme Park Insider praised the ride for being "one of the most intense roller coasters" he has ever ridden.
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