Flight of Fear Roller Coaster Kings Island
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Flight of Fear roller coaster (previously known as The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear) is an enclosed launched roller coaster at two Cedar Fair parks – Kings Dominion and Kings Island. Both locations opened in 1996 and were the world’s first roller coasters to feature a linear induction motor (LIM) launch.
Kings Dominion began teasing the new attraction in the summer of 1995 by cutting a “crop circle” in a nearby field which featured a UFO, the face of an alien and the letter “F” written in binary. Premier Rides and Paramount’s Kings Dominion performed the first successful launch of the ride on April 11, 1996 at 5:33 p.m., proving that linear induction motors could be used to accelerate a roller coaster train using magnetic fields with enough force to complete a full circuit. The launch requires 3 megawatts of electric power, which caused frequent voltage sags to neighboring utility customers. Square D by Schneider Electric developed a complex solid-state capacitor bank to reduce the load on the electric utility.
Both ride locations held a media day on June 17, 1996 and opened to the public as The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear roller coaster on June 18, 1996. When the rides opened, both had the fastest acceleration of any roller coaster in the world. The attraction was awarded top honors for Major Theme/Amusement Park Ride/Attraction and Technology Applied to Amusements at the November 1995 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show.
Flight of Fear
Flight of Fear roller coaster was originally themed to the television show The Outer Limits, but due to the license for using the name and theming of The Outer Limits expiring, the ride’s name changed to Flight of Fear roller coaster at the start of the 2001 season.
The Kings Dominion location was closed for much of the 2006 season, only reopening on August 18, 2006 after the park was purchased by Cedar Fair. At Kings Island, the ride is located in the X-Base subsection of Coney Mall. For years it was the only ride on the east side of The Racer. With the addition of Firehawk in the 2007, the area took on a theme center on experimental flight and propulsion systems. During the 2007 season, the ride was equipped with on-board video cameras that recorded riders with the option to purchase the video at the ride exit. These cameras were removed at the end of the season.
Premier Rides built other LIM Catapult models from 1996 to 1999, including Joker’s Jinx at Six Flags America, Poltergeist at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Crazy Cobra at Discoveryland. The two Flight of Fear roller coaster rides are the only indoor versions. All share a similar layout and have the same technical specifications.
Riders are launched from the station, accelerating from 0 to 54 mph in four seconds down a 220-foot launch tunnel. The ride emerges into a “spaghetti bowl” of track inside of the 110-foot tall ride building. Following the launch, the train immediately enters a cobra roll, which contains two of the ride’s four inversions. The ride layout continues with a sidewinder and multiple turns. After passing through the mid-course brake run, riders spiral downward to the left, continuing to maneuver through the twisted ride structure. The train picks up speed as riders dive at the floor of the building, finally passing through a corkscrew before arriving at the final brake run.
The trains on the ride originally featured over-the-shoulder restraints, but these were changed to individual lap bar restraints for the 2001 season. Each train also originally featured six cars, but that was later reduced to five. Kings Dominion operates three trains, while Kings Island typically operates two trains despite owning four.
The queue building is designed to represent an Area 51 military installation. The outside of the hangar is marked with the number 18, referencing Hangar 18 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Hangar 18 supposedly stores evidence from the Roswell crash site which serves as a base for the ride’s storyline. A UFO was spotted crashing into a field not far from the park and the press along with civilians are now permitted to enter the base to view its contents for themselves.
Riders enter the line through a “press area” located under an awning to the side of the building. Various announcements regarding the operation of the base and broadcasts from WERD (“weird”), a fictitious radio station, are played over speakers in the outside queue area. The queue leads down a narrow tunnel, entering the hangar. The interior of the hangar contains a full-sized mockup of one-half of a UFO which appears to be complete as one of the walls of the building is completely covered in mirrors.
A video is played over multiple screens explaining how the spacecraft was recovered not far from the park. While some base personnel are running tests on the vessel, others are convinced that it is a hoax and decide to allow the press in to view it. The hangar contains lighting effects which are synchronized with the video. At Kings Dominion, much of the interior of the queue building was converted into a space for the “Lockdown” Halloween Haunt maze, although much of the UFO-related theming remains. The line winds around the inside of the hangar before entering the underside of the UFO up a short flight of stairs.
Theming inside the saucer
The inside of the saucer features a display with alien markings and various sound effects. The queue makes a right turn and then sharp left turn into the boarding area. The loading and unloading stations are separate, so riders in the loading side of the building see an empty train returning. The loading station features “cryotubes” containing mannequins dressed in the park’s souvenir clothing and wrapped in plastic to look as if they have been captured by the aliens.
The station of Flight of Fear Roller Coaster at Kings Island
While the train is loading and waiting to be dispatched, a sound effect imitating a jet engine warming up is played and as the train launches, a take off sound is played. The two stations are the only parts of the ride which have much lighting; most of the ride is in the dark. As such, the ride buildings are also used to store trains and parts for other rides; the building at the Kings Island location formerly held the trains for the now-defunct stand-up coaster, King Cobra, and still holds some of the seats removed from The Crypt.
The ride originally used The Outer Limits-based theming. However, after the Paramount’s licensing to use the show expired, all references to the television show were removed for the start of the 2001 season. The attraction features an original soundtrack composed by Rob Pottorf and theming co-designed by Bob Dennis and David Ferguson of Paramount Parks Design & Entertainment.
At approximately 2:45 p.m. on June 2, 2014, emergency crews received a report of a fire at the ride. Smoke from an overheated electrical motor had filled the ride building. Two of the eighteen people exposed to the smoke were treated at the scene. Emergency crews cleared the building around 3:45 p.m.
Smoke coming from a panel outside of the ride building was reported at 10:35 a.m. on June 14, 2014. The panel was the only part of the building to suffer damage; the ride was unaffected, with no flames or injuries reported. The ride later reopened around 12:15 p.m.
Banshee – The Bat – Delirium – Drop Tower: Scream Zone – Invertigo – Xtreme Skyflyer – Backlot Stunt Coaster – The Racer – Vortex – WindSeeker – Firehawk – Flight of Fear – Boo Blasters on Boo Hill – Eiffel Tower – Adventure Express – SlingShot – Flying Ace Aerial Chase – Woodstock Express – Diamondback – Kings Island & Miami Valley Railroad – Mystic Timbers – The Beast
Record Video on Flight of Fear Roller Coaster
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