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.
|No. of installations||15|
|Manufacturer||Bolliger & Mabillard|
|Vehicle type||Train seats are located level with the track on both sides.|
|Riders per row||4|
|Restraint Style||"Cover" and bar that sits on the rider's waist|
|Wing Coaster at RCDB|
According to Walter Bolliger, development of the Wing Coaster began between 2007 and 2008. In 2010, Bolliger & Mabillard announced a prototype Wing Coaster design that would be built at Merlin Entertainments' Gardaland. It became known as Raptor, which opened on 1 April 2011. A year later, Merlin Entertainments opened a second Wing Coaster on 15 March 2012, called The Swarm at Thorpe Park.
In the United States, the first Wing Coaster to be announced was X-Flight, which opened at Six Flags Great America on 16 May 2012. Dollywood's Wild Eagle actually opened earlier on 24 March 2012, making it the first Wing Coaster in North America. On 13 August 2012, Cedar Point announced plans to build a new Wing Coaster called GateKeeper, which set new records for a Wing Coaster including longest track length, fastest speed and drop height. The first Wing Coaster in Asia, Parrot Coaster, opened at Ocean Kingdom on 25 January 2014. Thorpe Park announced that the last two rows of The Swarm would be turned backwards – a first for a Wing Coaster – for the 2013 season. On 24 July 2014, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari announced Thunderbird, the first launched Wing Coaster.
|“||Nothing above, nothing below. An unprecedented feeling of freedom.||”|
|— Bolliger & Mabillard|
The design of a Wing Coaster differs from many traditional steel roller coasters in that its trains are not located above or below the track but rather on the sides, a configuration that give riders the impression of free flight. Also, because there is nothing on top of the track and only steel beams holding each ends of the train together, all current Wing Coasters have an object (that relates to the theme) that covers the steel beams and adds to the experience. The restraints on the trains are also different. Instead of simply having the traditional over-the-shoulder restraint bar used on many inverted roller coasters, the Wing Coaster restraints similar to Bolliger & Mabillard's Flying Coaster which includes a "cover" and a waist-level restraint, with bars on the side for the rider to hold on to. The Wing Coaster's differences extended to the station layout of the station, which requires the queue to split in two halves, allowing riders to board the train where the seats sit level with the track.
Bolliger & Mabillard has built or is in the process of building a total of fifteen Wing Coasters as of January 2018. The roller coasters are listed in order of opening dates.
|Raptor||Gardaland||Italy||1 April 2011||Operating|||
|The Swarm||Thorpe Park||United Kingdom||15 March 2012||Operating|||
|Wild Eagle||Dollywood||United States||24 March 2012||Operating|||
|X-Flight||Six Flags Great America||United States||16 May 2012||Operating|||
|GateKeeper||Cedar Point||United States||11 May 2013||Operating|||
|Parrot Coaster||Chimelong Ocean Kingdom||China||25 January 2014||Operating|||
|Flug der Dämonen||Heide Park||Germany||29 March 2014||Operating|||
|Thunderbird||Holiday World & Splashin' Safari||United States||25 April 2015||Operating|||
|Flying Wing Coaster||Happy Valley Chongqing||China||8 July 2017||Operating|||
|Fēnix||Toverland||Netherlands||7 July 2018||Operating|||
|Unknown||Hot Go Dreamworld||China||2019||Under Construction|||
|Wing Coaster||Colourful Yunnan Happy World||China||5 July 2018||Operating|||
|Heaven's Wing||Huayi Brothers Movie World||China||2018||Operating|||
|Soaring with Eagle||Wuxi Sunac Land||China||2019||Under Construction|||
|Unknown||Happy Valley||China||2019||Under Construction|||
Prior to the development of the Wing Coaster, in 2007, Intamin debuted a version of their Accelerator Coaster with modified trains similar to those used on 4th Dimension roller coasters and Wing Coasters. Known as a Wing Rider Coaster, Furius Baco at PortAventura Park was the first and currently only ride of its type. It launches riders from 0 to 135 kilometres per hour (84 mph) in 3.5 seconds with trains that seat six rows of four people (two on either side of the track).
In addition to the Wing Rider Coaster, Intamin has also introduced a model named Wing Coaster. The first installation was Skyrush at Hersheypark in 2012. The trains feature 2 seats are still positioned over the track and have a floor, while 2 hang over the side which are the "wings".
The Wing Coaster is also similar to John F. Mares' 4th Dimension roller coaster concept from the 1990s. However, unlike 4th Dimension roller coasters, cars on a Wing Coaster train do not spin — they are locked in place. Examples of 4th Dimension roller coasters include X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Eejanaika at Fuji-Q Highland.
- "IAAPA 2011 Trade Show Part 4 Theme Park Review Fishpipe Water Ride B&M Zamperla". Theme Park Review / YouTube. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- B&M 2012 Product Catalog
- "X-Raptor, the prototype 4th Dimension B & M". 23 July 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "Gardaland Raptor". Gardaland. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Marden, Duane. "Raptor (Gardaland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Marden, Duane. "Swarm (Thorpe Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Weekly notice of applications registered by Runnymede Borough Council for the period ending: 09/02/2011". 9 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Marshall, Glenn (31 January 2012). "Construction Underway For Six Flags 'Wing Coaster'". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Marden, Duane. "X-Flight (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Dollywood 2012". 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- Marden, Duane. "Wild Eagle (Dollywood)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- "Cedar Point Announces Plans for New World-Record-Breaking Roller Coaster!" (PDF). Cedar Point. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Marden, Duane. "Parrot Coaster (Ocean Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- Sim, Nick (22 January 2013). "Confirmed: Thorpe Park to reverse seats on each train of The Swarm roller coaster for 2013 season". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "The Swarm". Thorpe Park. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- McCleery, Bill (24 July 2014). "Holiday World takes flight with $22M Thunderbird wing coaster". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "Wing Coaster". Bolliger & Mabillard. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Marden, Duane. "Wing Coaster". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Six Flags opens X Flight wing coaster". Chicago Tribune. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "Wild Eagle Media Day!". Theme Park Review. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- MacDonald, Brady (1 September 2011). "Six Flags unveils new attractions for every park in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- Marden, Duane. "GateKeeper (Cedar Point)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Haidet, Ryan (23 October 2012). "First track pieces for GateKeeper coaster arrive". WKYC. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- Alvey, Robb. "IAAPA 2012 Trade Show". Photo. Theme Park Review. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Marden, Duane. "Flug der Dämonen (Heide Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Marden, Duane. "Thunderbird (Holiday World & Splashin' Safari)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Marden, Duane. "Flying Wing Coaster (Happy Valley)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Marden, Duane. "Fenix (Toverland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "unknown (Hot Go Dreamworld)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "unknown (Colourful Yunnan Happy World)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "unknown (Huayi Brothers Movie World)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "unknown (Wanda City)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "unknown (Happy Valley)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Marden, Duane. "Furius Baco (PortAventura)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "Wing Rider Coaster". Intamin. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Marden, Duane. "X2 (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Marden, Duane. "Eejanaika (Fuji-Q Highland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 24 May 2012.