What is a Dive Coaster?
Ever been intimidated by how steep a drop looked on a roller coaster? Imagine staring literally straight down at a twenty-story drop. Dive coasters are steel roller coasters offering drops of 90-degrees or nearly 90-degrees. So far, Bolliger & Mabillard have cornered the market on these extreme drop coasters.
In 1998, they opened the world’s first coaster with a nearly vertical drop of 87-degrees at Alton Towers in the UK. The world had never seen anything like it. Oblivion took riders up about six stories, then brakes at the crest of the first drop held riders above a dark black hole held them. They faced their fates for a few seconds then were released into a near vertical drop of 160′ feet.
Since the opening of Oblivion, B&M have followed up with a similar coaster in Taiwan called G5, as well as SheiKra at Busch Gardens Africa (Tampa). Griffon, which is scheduled to open in 2007 at Busch Gardens Europe (Williamsburg), will be only the second dive coaster in the U.S. Both SheiKra and Griffon offer the complete vertical drop of 90-degrees and drops of 200′ or more. If you live in America, you’ve got to get to Virginia or Florida to experience one of these coasters. I’d recommend that you visit these two Busch parks anyway as they’re easily among the best theme parks in the country.
Check out this onride roller coaster video of a couple of blokes riding Oblivion in merry old England: