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A steel roller coaster is a roller coaster that is defined by having a track made of steel. Steel coasters have earned immense popularity in the past 50 years throughout the world. Incorporating tubular steel track and polyurethane-coated wheels, the steel roller coasters can provide a taller, smoother, and faster ride with more inversions than a traditional wooden roller coaster.
Arrow Dynamics first introduced the steel roller coaster to feature tubular track to the thrill industry with their creations of the Matterhorn Bobsleds (Disneyland) in 1959 and the Runaway Mine Train (Six Flags Over Texas) in 1966.
As of 2006, the oldest operating steel roller coaster in North America is Little Dipper at Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio and has been operating since April 1952. The oldest operating steel rollercoaster in the world is Montaña Suiza at Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo (Spain). It has been operating since 1928.
There are different types of steel coasters, such as flying, inverted, floorless, and suspended.
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A wooden roller coaster is most often classified as a roller coaster with running rails made of flattened steel strips mounted on laminated wooden track. Occasionally, the support structure may be made out of a steel lattice or truss, but the ride remains classified as a wooden roller coaster due to the track design. The type of wood typically used in the construction of wooden coasters is Southern Yellow Pine, usually grown in the US and the rest of North America.
Top Thrill Dragster is a steel accelerator roller coaster located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Manufactured by Intamin, it was the sixteenth roller coaster to be built at the park since Blue Streak in 1964. It opened in 2003 as the tallest roller coaster in the world and the first full-circuit roller coaster to exceed 400 feet (120 m) in height. Its height record was later surpassed by Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in 2005. Top Thrill Dragster, along with Kingda Ka, are the only strata coasters in existence. It was the second hydraulically launched roller coaster built by Intamin, following Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm. The tagline for Top Thrill Dragster is "Race for the Sky".
Bolliger & Mabillard, officially Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, Inc. and often abbreviated as B&M, is a roller coaster design consultancy based in Monthey, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1988 by Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard, both of whom had worked for Giovanola, who supplied rides for Intamin.
Millennium Force is a steel roller coaster located at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. Manufactured by Intamin, it was the park's fourteenth roller coaster dating back to the opening of Blue Streak in 1964. Upon completion in 2000, Millennium Force broke six world records and was the world's first giga coaster, a term coined by Intamin and Cedar Point to represent roller coasters that exceed 300 feet (91 m) in height and complete a full circuit. It was briefly the tallest and fastest in the world until Steel Dragon 2000 opened later the same year. The ride is also the third-longest roller coaster in North America following The Beast at Kings Island and Fury 325 at Carowinds.
Batman: The Ride is an inverted roller coaster based on the DC Comics character Batman and found at seven Six Flags theme parks in the United States. Built by consulting engineers Bolliger & Mabillard, it rises to a height of between 100 and 105 feet and reaches top speeds of 50 mph (80 km/h). The original roller coaster at Six Flags Great America was partially devised by the park's general manager Jim Wintrode. Batman: The Ride was the world's first inverted roller coaster when it opened in 1992, and has since been awarded Coaster Landmark status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Clones of the ride exist at amusement parks around the world.
Superman: Escape from Krypton is a steel shuttle roller coaster located at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. When it opened in 1997, it was the tallest roller coaster in the world, and its speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) was tied for the fastest with Tower of Terror II, a similar roller coaster which opened two months earlier at Dreamworld in Australia. These two coasters were the first to utilize Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) technology to propel vehicles to top speed. As of November 3, 2019, it is the only reverse freefall coaster left in operation after the closure of Tower of Terror II.
Green Lantern, formerly known as Chang, is a stand-up roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. Green Lantern stands 155 feet (47 m) tall and features a top speed of 63 miles per hour (101 km/h). The 4,155-foot-long (1,266 m) ride features five inversions and a duration of approximately 21⁄2 minutes. The ride was manufactured by Swiss firm Bolliger & Mabillard.
The Riddler's Revenge is a stand-up roller coaster located at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride opened as the park's eleventh roller coaster on April 4, 1998, setting multiple world records among stand-up coasters. Located in the Movie Town area of the park, The Riddler's Revenge was also the park's single biggest investment at a cost of $14 million. It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and features a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h). The 4,370-foot-long (1,330 m) coaster also features six inversions and a ride duration of approximately three minutes.
Kumba is a steel roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the ride opened in 1993. It stands 143 feet (44 m) tall and has a top speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). Kumba features a total of seven inversions across the 3-minute ride.
El Toro is a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. Designed by Intamin of Switzerland, the wooden coaster opened to the public on June 11, 2006. Intamin contracted Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) to build the ride, and the coaster's track was prefabricated, allowing for quicker installation and lower construction costs. When it opened, it had the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the world at 76 degrees, until the record was broken by T Express in 2008 by one degree. Overall, its structure height of 181 feet (55 m) is ranked fourth, its drop height of 176 feet (54 m) is ranked second, and its top speed of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) is ranked fourth among all wooden roller coasters in the world. It was also the first wooden roller coaster to use a cable lift as opposed to the traditional chain lift.
Superman: Krypton Coaster is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park in San Antonio. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, the Floorless Coaster model opened to the public in 2000 as one of the first of its kind in the world. The well-received ride held the title for the world's tallest vertical loop from its opening until 2013. Superman: Krypton Coaster stands 168 feet (51 m) tall and reaches a maximum speed of 70 mph (110 km/h).
A 4th Dimension roller coaster is a type of steel roller coaster whereby riders are rotated independently of the orientation of the track, generally about a horizontal axis that is perpendicular to the track. The cars do not necessarily need to be fixed to an angle.
Montu is an inverted roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa in Tampa, Florida. Built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, it is the park's second roller coaster designed by that company following the success of Kumba, which opened 3 years prior. When the ride opened on May 16, 1996, it was the world's tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster, a title it has since conceded to Alpengeist at sister park Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The ride stands 150 feet (46 m) tall and reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h).
Tatsu is a steel flying roller coaster designed by Bolliger & Mabillard at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park located in Valencia, California, United States. Announced on November 17, 2005, the roller coaster opened to the public on May 13, 2006 as the park's seventeenth roller coaster. Tatsu reaches a height of 170 feet (52 m) and speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). The roller coaster is also the world's tallest and fastest flying coaster; is the only flying roller coaster to feature a zero-gravity roll; and has the world's highest pretzel loop. It was the world's longest flying coaster until The Flying Dinosaur at Universal Studios Japan surpassed it in March 2016.
A Giant Inverted Boomerang is a type of steel shuttle roller coaster manufactured by the Dutch firm Vekoma. The ride is a larger, inverted version of Vekoma's popular Boomerang sit down roller coasters. As of November 2020, five installations of the model are operating, with another one under construction.
A Wing Coaster is a type of steel roller coaster designed by the engineering firm Bolliger & Mabillard where pairs of riders sit on either side of a roller coaster track in which nothing is above or below the riders. Development of the Wing Coaster began between 2007 and 2008 leading to the opening of Raptor at Gardaland, the world's first Wing Coaster, on 1 April 2011. There are currently fifteen Wing Coasters either under construction or operating worldwide.
Superman: Ultimate Flight is a steel Premier Rides roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. It opened to the public on June 30, 2012. It is not to be confused with Superman: Ultimate Flight, a B&M steel flying roller coaster at three other Six Flags parks.
Goliath is a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) and designed by Alan Schilke, the roller coaster features RMC's Topper Track design and opened to the public on June 19, 2014. Goliath initially set three world records among wooden coasters, having the longest drop at 180 feet (55 m), the steepest angle of 85 degrees, and the fastest speed of 72 mph (116 km/h). It still holds the record for the longest drop. In addition, the ride also features two inversions and a maximum descent that reaches 15 feet (4.6 m) below ground level.
The Flying Coaster is a model line from Bolliger & Mabillard. It has produced 10 models in 18 years of production, one of the more average selling models in the company.