My Top Five Launched Coasters
A launched roller coaster is any coaster that doesn’t use a lift hill or an elevator lift. The majority of these rides are launched by Linear Synchronous Motors (LSMs) which use magnets to propel the train forward. Others use Hydraulic Launches to shoot the train at an incredible speed. Here are my top five:
5. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure
Kingda Ka opened in 2005, and is still the world’s tallest coaster today. It starts with a Hydraulic Launch to 128 mph and then goes vertical. Up the 456 foot, record-breaking tower. At the top I’ve heard that you can see New York City in the distance. The ride drops at a vertical angle while spiraling. At the bottom there is one more hill before the brakes come in. The ride is very good, just not as great as some of these other coasters.
4. Storm Runner at Hersheypark
Storm Runner opened in 2004. It was the first Hydraulically Launched coaster to contain inversions. After a 75 mph launch the ride shoots up a 180 foot top hat before completing three inversions. They are, an Immelmann, a heartline roll, and the unique Flying Snake Dive. The last inversion is one of the most insane elements that I’ve ever been on.
3. The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure
The Incredible Hulk is one of the only coasters in the world to have a tire launch. The tires launch you up hill into a zero-g-roll. Unlike many launched coasters, Hulk doesn’t just end after the launch, there is a full ride ahead. You flip through seven inversions and lots of turns.
2. Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point
Top Thrill Dragster opened in 2003 as the first continuous circuit coaster to reach 420 feet and launch at 120 mph. The ride is very similar to Kingda Ka except for that it is a bit smaller and that it is themed to dragster racing. There are also not any shoulder restraints, just a lap bar, this maximizes the thrill. The only problem is that it is too short, 17 seconds. if they extended it a bit while keeping the intensity up they might have the world’s best coaster.
1. Maverick at Cedar Point
Maverick opened in 2007 and the world was amazed. The ride uses two LSM launches, the first is like a fast lift hill that takes riders to the top of its 105 foot first hill. There are a whole lot of turns before the next, surprise launch rockets you to 70 mph and into the second half. Maverick has it all, launches, speed, surprises, and inversions. It is certainly my favorite launched coaster in the world. Isn’t it funny how my top two picks are both at Cedar Point?
So there you have it. My favorite launch coaster is Maverick.
What do you think? What are your favorite launched coasters? Please comment. Thanks for reading!