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Kingda Ka

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Kingda Ka
Kingda Ka.jpg
Kingda Ka prior to the addition of Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom
Six Flags Great Adventure
Park sectionGolden Kingdom
Coordinates40°08′21.18″N 74°26′11.39″W / 40.1392167°N 74.4364972°W / 40.1392167; -74.4364972Coordinates: 40°08′21.18″N 74°26′11.39″W / 40.1392167°N 74.4364972°W / 40.1392167; -74.4364972
Opening dateMay 21, 2005 (2005-05-21)
General statistics
TypeSteel – Launched
DesignerWerner Stengel
ModelAccelerator Coaster
Track layoutStrata Coaster
Lift/launch systemHydraulic launch
Height456 ft (139 m)
Drop418 ft (127 m)
Length3,118 ft (950 m)
Speed128 mph (206 km/h)
Max vertical angle90°
Capacity1,400 riders per hour
Acceleration0 to 128 mph (0 to 206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds
Height restriction54 in (137 cm)
TrainsFour trains, with five cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows (except for the last car), for a total of 18 riders per train.
Flash Pass Available
Kingda Ka at RCDB
Pictures of Kingda Ka at RCDB

Kingda Ka is a steel accelerator roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. It is the world's tallest roller coaster, the world's second fastest roller coaster, and was the second strata coaster (over 400' tall) ever built. It was built by Stakotra,[1] a subcontractor to Intamin. Riders must be at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall.[2]

The train is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds.[2] At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower, reaching a height of 456 feet (139 m), followed by a drop of 418 feet (127 m) and spanning over a 3,118-foot-long (950 m) track by the end of the ride.[3]


Plans to build Kingda Ka were announced on September 10, 2003, at an event held for roller coaster enthusiasts and the media.[4] The event revealed the park's goal to build "the tallest and fastest roller coaster on earth", reaching 456 feet (139 m) and accelerating up to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds.[5] On January 13, 2005, Kingda Ka's tower construction was completed,[6] and on May 21, 2005, the ride opened to the public. Kingda Ka became the "tallest" and "fastest" roller coaster in the world, taking both world records from Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. It lost the title of world's fastest when Formula Rossa at Ferrari World opened in November 2010.[7] Intamin designed both Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster, and the two share a similar design and layout that differs primarily by the theme and the additional hill featured on Kingda Ka.[8] Both rides were built by Stakotra[9] and installed by Martin & Vleminckx.[10]

On August 29, 2013, Six Flags Great Adventure officially announced Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom for the 2014 season. The new attraction was attached to the Kingda Ka coaster.[11] The drop tower features three gondolas integrated into the existing structure which was also built by Intamin. Kingda Ka closed at the start of the 2014 season in order to construct Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom on to Kingda Ka. Kingda Ka reopened on weekends on Memorial Day Weekend and fully reopened when Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom was completed on July 4, 2014.[12]

Ride experience[edit]

Kingda Ka's layout and experience is nearly identical to that of Top Thrill Dragster.[13] After the train has been locked and checked, it moves slowly out of the station to the launch area, then passes through a switch track which allows four trains on two tracks to load simultaneously. When the signal is given to launch, the train rolls back slightly so that the catch car can latch on to the middle car, and the brakes retract on the launch track.[14] As the brake fins are retracting, a recording announces: "Arms down, head back, hold on!"[15] The train is launched approximately five seconds later.[16]

When the train is in position, the hydraulic launch mechanism accelerates it from 0 to 128 miles per hour (0 to 206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds.[2] The hydraulic launch motor is capable of producing 20,800 peak horsepower (15.5 MW).[17] At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main tower (top hat) and rolls 90 degrees to the right before reaching a height of 456 feet (139 m).[3] It then descends 418 feet (127 m) straight down through a 270-degree, clockwise spiral. It climbs the second hill of 129 feet (39 m), producing a moment of weightlessness before being smoothly brought to a stop by the magnetic brakes; it then makes a left-hand U-turn and enters the station. The ride lasts 28 seconds from the start of the launch.[18][19]


Kingda Ka is located in the jungle-themed area of the park known as The Golden Kingdom.[20] The ride portrays a mythical bengal tiger named after one that was housed in the nearby Temple of the Tiger attraction, an interactive exhibit that was closed in 2010.[21][22] The ride's queue line is surrounded by bamboo, which augments the jungle-themed music that plays in the background.[4][21]

Jungle-themed Kindga Ka entrance sign

Trains and station[edit]

Kingda Ka's four trains are color-coded for easy identification (green, dark blue, teal, and orange) and are numbered; the four colors are also used for the seats and restraints. Each train seats 18 people (two per row). The rear car has one row, while the rest have two.[23] The rear row of each car is positioned higher than its front row for better visibility.

Empty coaster seats, with restraints in place
Kingda Ka's seat restraints

Each of Kingda Ka's trains has an extra row of seat mounts. The panels could be removed for the installation of additional seats in the future. This modification would increase the capacity of each train from 18 to 20, and the hourly capacity of the coaster from 1400 to 1600 riders per hour. Kingda Ka's station is prepared for this modification, with entrance gates for the currently-nonexistent row of seats.[23]

Kingda Ka's over-the-shoulder restraint system consists of a thick, rigid lap bar and two thin, flexible over-the-shoulder restraints.[24] Because the over-the-shoulder portions of the restraint are not rigid, the hand grips are mounted to the lap bar. Kingda Ka's restraints are also held down by a belt, in case the main locking system fails. To speed loading, riders are asked to secure their own restraints if possible.

Green switch tracks at bottom of ride
Switch track at the station's exit

Kingda Ka's station has two parallel tracks, with switch tracks at the entrance and exit. Each of the station's tracks is designed to accommodate two trains, so each of the four trains can be operated from its own station. While all of the trains are mechanically identical and able to load and unload at each of the four individual station bays the original plan was for all trains to operate at the same time and for each train to load and unload at their own station. During normal operation, trains on one side are loaded while trains on the other side are launched.[24] When both sides of the station are in use an employee directs riders in line to go to a particular side, where they can choose to sit in the front or rear of the train.[14] During recent seasons it has become common that only one train bay (the forward one on the side opposite of the parking lot) be used for the loading, unloading, and dispatching of trains and that the other train or trains in operation on any given day wait either in the station behind a loading/unloading train or outside of the station on the brakes that follow the second hill. Two operators load, check and dispatch each train; another launches the trains. Kingda Ka's music is by Safri Duo; almost their entire Episode II album is played in the queue and station. Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger", played by DJ Quicksilver, may also be heard in the queue and station.[25]


Kingda Ka rollback warning sign

A train may occasionally experience a rollback following a launch. A rollback occurs when the train fails to make it over the top of the tower and descends back down the side it was launched. Kingda Ka includes retractable magnetic brakes on its launch track to prevent a train from rolling back into the loading station.[26]


On June 8, 2005, a bolt failed inside a trough through which the launch cable travels. This caused the liner to come loose, creating friction on the cable and preventing the train from accelerating to the correct speed. The cable rubbing against the trough caused sparks and shards of metal to fly out from the bottom of the train. The ride was closed for almost two months following the incident.[27]

Damage occurred to the launch cable which was frayed and required replacement, including minor damage to seals and brake fins. The incident caused stress on a number of fins, and Six Flags did not have enough replacement fins. Extra brake fins had to be ordered from Intamin in Switzerland, and the ride had to undergo thorough testing following the repair.[17] Kingda Ka reopened on August 4.[28]

Kingda Ka was struck by lightning in May 2009 and suffered serious damage.[29] The ride was closed for three months for repairs and reopened on August 21, 2009.[30]

tall green framework for steel roller coaster
Kingda Ka's tower

On August 27, 2011, Kingda Ka suffered unspecified damage shortly before Hurricane Irene, and Six Flags Great Adventure did not open. It is unknown whether additional damage occurred due to the storm, but the coaster was damaged to the extent that it could not run before Irene.[31] Kingda Ka remained closed until the start of the 2012 operating season on April 5.[32]

Shortly before 5 p.m. on July 26, 2012, a young boy was sent to the hospital after suffering minor injuries from being struck by a bird during normal operation. The ride resumed normal operation shortly after the incident.[33]


Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Ranking 42[34] 28[35] 31[36] 25[37] 31[38] 27 (tie)[39] 33[40] 38[41] 35 (tie)[42] 45[43] 49[44]


Preceded by
Top Thrill Dragster
World's Tallest Complete Circuit Roller Coaster
May 21, 2005 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Top Thrill Dragster
World's Tallest Roller Coaster
May 21, 2005 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Top Thrill Dragster
World's Fastest Roller Coaster
May 21, 2005 – November 4, 2010
Succeeded by
Formula Rossa
Preceded by
Top Thrill Dragster
World's Tallest Roller Coaster Drop
May 21, 2005 – present
Succeeded by


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  2. ^ a b c "Kingda Ka: Great Adventure". Six Flags. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
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External links[edit]