Hypersonic XLC

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Hypersonic XLC
PKD-Hypersonic XLC.jpg
The launch section
Kings Dominion
Park section The Grove
Coordinates 37°50′14″N 77°26′46″W / 37.837155°N 77.445974°W / 37.837155; -77.445974Coordinates: 37°50′14″N 77°26′46″W / 37.837155°N 77.445974°W / 37.837155; -77.445974
Status Removed
Opening date March 24, 2001
Closing date October 28, 2007
Cost $15,000,000 USD
General statistics
Type Steel – Launched
Manufacturer S&S Worldwide
Designer S&S Worldwide
Model Thrust Air 2000
Track layout out-and-back
Lift/launch system Pneumatic
Height 165 ft (50 m)
Drop 133 ft (41 m)
Length 1,560 ft (480 m)
Speed 80 mph (130 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 16 seconds
Max vertical angle 90°
Capacity 1,380 riders per hour
Acceleration 0-80 in 1.8 seconds
G-force 4.0
Height restriction 54 in (137 cm)
Hypersonic XLC at RCDB
Pictures of Hypersonic XLC at RCDB

Hypersonic XLC was a roller coaster located at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. Hypersonic was the first compressed air launch coaster in the world. In 2007, Hypersonic XLC was closed and later dismantled. The platform is all that remains at the ride's former location between the Grizzly and the now defunct Hurler coasters.

Hypersonic was built by S&S Worldwide, a company specializing in air-powered rides such as Skyhawk and Power Tower, both located at Cedar Point. Hypersonic was S&S Worldwide's actual prototype for an air-launched coaster, called Thrust Air 2000. The ride was originally fabricated by Intermountain Lift, Inc.[1] It was reconstructed at Kings Dominion after being moved from its original location in Utah. S&S Worldwide also greatly modified the section following the 90° drop to accommodate Kings Dominion's landscape and to properly bank the turn.[2] Hypersonic XLC suffered extended downtime, and was closed for nearly three months at the beginning of Kings Dominion's 2002 season.

Ride experience[edit]

After a launch from 0 to 80 mph (130 km/h) in 1.8 seconds up a 90° incline, the ride crested a 165-foot (50 m) hill, and without fully slowing, plummeted down a 90° dive. Next, the coaster performed a banked left turn, went through a smaller banked right turn, and skirted a small hill before heading into the brake run.

Riders face the 90° dive in front of the now defunct Hurler.

Launch system[edit]

Hypersonic XLC's launch system was comparatively new technology utilizing compressed air to launch the ride train. It is very similar to the launch system used to launch Space Shot rides, also developed by S&S Worldwide. Characteristics of compressed air launches are shorter runways and quicker acceleration, when compared to hydraulic and LIM/LSM launch platforms.

The compressed air launch system is used on the world's fastest accelerating ride, Dodonpa, which accelerates to 107 mph (172 km/h) in just 1.8 seconds. It was also used on Ring Racer. Rides such as Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster have a higher top speed than Dodonpa, but Dodonpa is the ride with the quickest acceleration.

Current status[edit]

During the 2006 off-season, Kings Dominion put Hypersonic XLC up for sale.[3] In January 2008, the park removed Hypersonic from its web site.[4] On the park's opening day on March 22, 2008, Hypersonic XLC had been disassembled and was placed in its current laydown yard, along part of the park's back road. In May 2009, Kings Dominion marketing representative John Pagel stated that the coaster is still available for sale, either to another amusement park or as scrap metal.[citation needed]

The ride is now fully removed from Kings Dominion and has been recycled.[citation needed]