Last fall my group from work went on an outing to Six Flags of New England. The Superman rollercoaster (they’re named after superheroes) was a real monster: you accelerate to 77 miles per hour going (what feels like) straight down and spend a mile worth of track looping and twisting before you decelerate enough to stop the train. I was pretty impressed. Here are some pictures that Matt posted from that trip. Then I remembered to check the Roller Coaster DataBase,
a “comprehensive, searchable database with information and statistics on over 1700 roller coasters throughout the world.” I wanted to see how the Superman ride stacked up against the others. It’s in the top ten in terms of speed, but there are some faster ones. Then I noticed that one rollercoaster absolutely dominates all others in the categories of speed, height, and drop: the Top Thrill Dragster of Cedar Point in Ohio. I remember reading an article in Wired about roller coasters like this long ago. I did a little more research and found this extremely entertaining review at ThrillRide.com. One hundred twenty miles per hour, 420 feet straight up and straight back down… here’s what a professional ride reviewer had to say about his ride:
[After three seconds] I can’t scream anymore. Unqualified terror and the forces pummeling my body literally strangle me into silence. We’re still accelerating. Four… Knifing through the air, the train hits 120 brain-splattering miles per hour. And now things really go berserk.
Finally, here’s a video of what it looks like in action (Windows media). I hope my group doesn’t go on any outings to Cedar Point. With enough peer pressure I might end up riding this thing.