- Stealth (roller coaster)
Infobox roller coaster
caption=The "Stealth" logo
March 15, 2006
track=Out and back
Hydraulic launch track
duration=~26 seconds approx
acceleration=0–80 mph in 1.8 seconds (2.3 seconds prior to 2007 season)
Max per car=28
Number of cars running on track=1 or 2
"Stealth" is a
steel roller coasterbuilt by Intamin AGof Switzerland. The coaster is located in the Amity Cove area of Thorpe Parkin Surrey, Englandand opened in 2006. The ride reaches a maximum height of 62.5 m (205 ft), which makes it the third tallest roller coaster in Europe after Silver Star and Pepsi Max Big One. The ride originally reached speeds of around 130 km/h (80 mph) in 2.3 seconds, however an upgrade in 2007 reduced this to 1.9 seconds. "Stealth" was the fastest roller coaster in Europe, although it lost this record when " Furius Baco" opened in 2007 at Port Aventurain Spain. The ride produces G-forces of up to 2.02g and is thought to have cost £12 million.cite web |url=http://stealth.thorpepark.com/your_questions/august_2005_answers.asp?css=2 |title=Stealth: Your Questions |accessdate=2008-05-20
When the ride was first announced on the
Thorpe Parkmid-term development plans it was compared to Xceleratorat Knott's Berry Farmin the US. It went under the name Project Stealth. Stealth bears major similarities to Kingda Ka, the current world record holder for tallest and fastest roller coaster.
In the original designs there were plans for a grandstand style queue-line, which involved the queue wrapping around and through a traditional drag racing grandstand.Fact|date=September 2007 This was turned down in favour of a more cost-effective 'cattle pen' queue-line similar to the one at
Alton Towersfor its coaster, Rita - Queen of Speed.
Stealth had its own live DJ in a booth outside the ride. The DJ played rock 'n' roll classics from musicians such as
Elvis Presleyand the Beach Boys. Guests could request tracks and give shoutouts that could be heard throughout the queue-line and the Stealth area of Thorpe Park.Fact|date=September 2007 From 2007, the DJ booth was no longer available, and a pre-recorded mock radio station is now played in the Stealth area. The booth is now used to sell Fastrack tickets.Fact|date=September 2007
Upon embarking, an announcer says "Place your heads back, face forwards, hold on tight and brace yourself" the train then edges forwards and then back a few times, while a revving sound effect is played, in order to hook onto the catch car. The launch brakes are retracted and a countdown begins during which the announcer repeats his message. Depending on if the ride is in sequence the light will turn green the announcer shouts "Go, Go, GO!" and at that instant the train is accelerated to convert|80|mi/h|km/h|-1|abbr=on and as it nears the end launch track, the catch car unhooks itself and the train carries on its journey up the 205 ft tower, cresting over the top-hat and coming back down and cresting over a smaller airtime hill while being slowed down by magnetic brakes.
As with many launched roller coasters, Stealth is susceptible to rollbacks when the train does not gain enough momentum on the launch track in order to make it over the top-hat and rolls down backwards. Stealth has magnetic brakes along the launch track in order to slow the train down if this happens. Rollbacks usually only happen when the ride has first opened, but other factors can affect the launching system.
May 25, 2008, the train reached the exact momentum to completely stop on the top. Unlike a similar incident which occurred on Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, it was during testing, and there were no passengers riding at the time. The problem was solved by three engineers giving it a small push to make it roll back. It remained closed until about 4PM, then resumed operation.
Stealth has been noted for its many failed launches due to attempting to launch before the
nitrogen accumulatorshave properly refilled or before the catch car has arrived back at the station, the latter causing a delayed launch quite a while after the ride announcer shouts "Go, Go, Go!".
Stealth provides excellent panoramic views of the area from the top, if one is at the peak long enough to appreciate them and look in the right direction. The
Londonskyline and Heathrow Airportare visible to the North East & North respectively, Windsor Castleto the North North West, Guildford Cathedralto the South and the Royal Holloway Collegeand the Holloway Sanitorium to the West.
"Stealth" is themed as a 1960s race track called "Amity Speedway". The nearby buildings are made to look worn and old, to fit in with the theme including a 1950/60s
dinerand buildings with typical 1960s advertisements.
Before the beginning of the 2007 season, Tussauds announced that Stealth had been upgraded to do 0-80 mph in under 2 seconds. The slogan "It's Back. It's Upgraded. Are you ready?" was used to promote the improved ride via the official website.
When "Stealth" opened in 2006, it was the fastest roller coaster in Europe. It has now lost its title to the
Furius Bacoat Port Aventura, Spainalthough Stealth still retains the record for having the fastest acceleration of any roller coaster in Europe.
It is currently the fastest roller coaster in the
UKat 80mph. It is the second tallest roller coaster in the UK behind Pepsi Max Big Oneand third tallest roller coaster in Europe.
* [http://www.thorpepark.co.uk/ Official website for Thorpe Park]
* [http://stealth.thorpepark.com Stealth microsite]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=167978551508793938 Video footage of Stealth 1, on a complete run]
* [http://www.thorpeparkinsider.co.uk/ Thorpe Park Insider]
* [http://www.themeparkjunkies.co.uk/index.php?act=parkguide&rgp=1&ride=59&area=13&park=2 Stealth at Theme Park Junkies]
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