Thursday, April 23, 2015

Holiday World's New Thunderbird Coaster Takes Off This Saturday

Ah spring!  There are a lot of things to love about spring...the flowers, the warmer air, spring cleaning, and...roller coasters!  Yes, it's been a long, cold winter and it seems like months since I last brought up the subject of coasters on this blog, but this Saturday, Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana will be debuting its newest thrill ride, Thunderbird, and if that doesn't get this roller coaster enthusiast's juices flowing, nothing will...

I first visited Holiday World, a long awaited visit at that, last year and though the park overall was a bit smaller than I had expected, I loved its stable of coasters, especially the fantabulous The Legend in the Thanksgiving section of the park.  At the time, the three coasters at Holiday World were all of the wooden variety, so when the park announced Thunderbird back in July, I was excited to see it was of the steel variety.  In fact, not only is the new coaster an out and out steel ride, but it's a record breaking monster.

Thunderbird is the world's first launched wing coaster. For those of you new to coasters, a winged coaster is one in which riders are seated on the sides of the track, giving them a feeling of flying. There are several winged coasters out there, including Wild Eagle at Dollywood, X-Flight at Six Flags Great America, Gatekeeper at Cedar Point and others. None of those coasters, though, use magnetic launch technology as this one does.

Here are the stats for the new Thunderbird, as posted on the Holiday World website:

Description: Thunderbird is the nation’s first launched wing coaster. It is Holiday World’s first major steel roller coaster, with a 0-60mph launch in 3.5 seconds, followed by multiple inversions – including a 14-story Immelmann loop, Zero-g roll, barrel roll, and loop. Continuing Holiday World’s tradition of sending roller coasters through thickly wooded and hilly terrain, Thunderbird at first soars and loops high in the air and then hugs the ground, surprising riders with rapid-fire “near misses” such as keyholes, themed elements, other rides, trees, and even the ground.

Track length: 3,035 feet

Height: 140 feet at Immelman loop's peak

Speed: 60 mph

Ride Time: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Designer: Bolliger & Mabiliard

Legend: In 1620, as the Mayflower neared the end of its 66 days at sea, a mighty storm nearly capsized the ship, taking it hundreds of miles off course. As passengers and crew feared all was lost, an immense bird appeared in the sky. The thunderbird, whose wings created the thunder and eyes flashed the lightning of the powerful storm, rescued the ship by launching it to the New World.

Well, I won't be riding Thunderbird this summer, at least I don't anticipate it, but judging from the video below, I think maybe I'd like to make another visit to Santa Claus, Indiana sometime in the near future...

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