Ravine Flyer II: An Impressive World-Class Wooden Coaster
I’d been excited for Ravine Flyer II since I learned about it last winter. It’s the product of 15 years of work, planning, and local politics. The Gravity Group designed hybrid woodie was my top pick for the new coasters opening in 2008. The New York Times even quoted me when I dubbed it the “Sleeper Hit of 2008”. So needless to say I was looking forward to getting to Waldameer Park in Erie, PA to see if Ravine Flyer II was as good as expected. Ravine Flyer II - Waldameer ParkRavine Flyer’s climb seems exceptionally slow, which is by no means a negative. This gives riders time to take in the breath-taking view of Lake Erie towards the top. I felt like I was looking out onto an ocean. You can even make out waves breaking on the coast. Park owner Paul Nelson told me that at dusk a mist comes in off the lake that greases the tracks making Ravine Flyer II even faster. Just as riders admire the view with ‘oohs and ahhs’ their attention is snapped back to the drop below as the trains dives down off of the hill its situated on. The train just rose 80 feet, but the opening hill is a 115 foot drop that banks gently at the bottom. There’s a great pull over the crest in the back seat and the hill feels much longer back there.

Out and Back – Down the Ravine & Over the Highway
At the bottom, the train immediately flies through the first tunnel with surprising speed. Then up into the arched bridge over the highway with a short pop of air. In the banked, twisted turn around (similar to a section on Hades) the train climbs a hill that seems to momentarily sap some of the rides energy, but its followed by another great drop and a trip back across the highway.

The Twisted Section – Speed, Airtime, & 90-Degrees!
The rest of the ride is non-stop speed and thrills with no letting up whatsoever. Much like Gravity Group’s Voyage, Ravine Flyer II is seemingly possessed or like the energizer bunny for a nicer analogy. It’s jam-packed with pops of air and banked turns. Nelson explained that this is Gravity Group’s secret to success as it keeps the rides initial energy going. There are nearly no sections of just flat track anywhere. The highlight of the second half is the 90-degree banked turn to the right. It’s shorter than sections on The Voyage, but still exciting. The train seems like it could’ve continued on for longer, but the brake run finally puts the beast to rest.

Early videos of Ravine Flyer II looked fun, but they don’t really do the speed and intensity of this ride justice. It’s much faster than it looks on video. And though you get thrown around a bit on the turns, I couldn’t find a moment of roughness on the whole ride. Gravity Group has done it again. Congratulations to Waldameer Park! For their persistence they’ve got a world-class woodie that’s built to last and will thrill thousands for years to come.

Excellent Coaster ReviewsTop Ten Roller CoastersRFII flies its way into my Top Ten landing as the 8th best of the nearly 160+ roller coasters I’ve ridden and the 5th best wooden coaster. It has also received my 7th ’10’. If you’re anywhere near Erie, get to Waldameer. Final Rating 10 (Superior)

Robb Alvey from ThemeParkReview has made a great video covering this amazing ride. Check out this great video of Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park:

What do you think of Ravine Flyer II? Leave a comment or review below. Also, check out the rest of my rating scale.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

15 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Hey Coaster Critic do you happen to know what the average speed is on Ravine Flyer II cause in the video the ride seems to be a very fast threw out the ride. THANKS !!!!!

  2. The Coaster Critic

    RCDB has Ravine Flyer 2 at 57 mph, but it seems much faster than that. I think the 57 mph reflects the coaster's top speed and not average speed, but it stays so fast throughout that I would imagine the average speed isn't a whole lot slower. Thanks for reading.

  3. Andrew

    I am sort of confused how this ride, which is shorter and slower than Boulder Dash got a 10. I under the 90 degree turn, but it doesn't have as much theming or atmosphere as Boulder Dash.

  4. Austin

    Heylo. The Ravine Flyer is niiice. I love that ride. It was my first big coaster, and like a month later i rode the viper at darien lake!

  5. Russ Fox

    I rode the Ravine Flyer II last Friday. By next month, I hope to have ridden every woodie in Pennsylvania. So far, The Ravine Flyer II is the best in the state! Better than any woodie at Kennywood. Leap the Dips at Lakemont certainly was wonderful and a MSUT DO, but nothing like the Ravine Flyer, which is the fastest woodie in the state and the 115' drop is also the biggest!

  6. Kevin

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ravine Flyer 2 with four rides this past week, but it seemed over-hyped by the enthusiast community. I think the PTC trains do not suit Ravine Flyer at all; I'd like to see how Gravity Group's new Timberliners would work on it. The PTC seats don't provide enough space, and they feel very cramped when riding with larger guests. Quite of few of the general public guests seemed to think the ride was much too rough.

  7. edward

    This coaster could NEVER be opened in a theme park!!! Way too intense!!! One of the best coasters I've ever ridden and one of a few that actually scared me as day turned to night and the ride got faster. It's a must ride for any enthusiast!!!

  8. john

    we rode it on the last day of the park's 2010 season, on the last ride of the night and we were last in line. Best coaster I have ridden in a while. "Intense" is the best desciption for it. There is no lull in the ride, ever. Great. Great. Great.

  9. Trent

    This coaster looks cool but why, if you gave it a 10, is it behind Hades, which you gave a 9.5, in your top ten list?

    • The Coaster Critic

      I'm really specific about my different ratings and lists. The top ten isn't a list of my highest rated rides in order. I used to have that in the intro to that list. In my mind, Hades beats out Ravine Flyer II because of its epic (Do I sound like the youngsters?) pre-lift craziness and that unreal tunnel. But Ravine Flyer's all-around better. Good question though.

  10. Sara

    Great review! I'm going on this in a few days and your review just made me that much more excited. Way to go being quote by NYT!

  11. DRU

    I’m so thankful for what you do Joel.
    I happened to be just a few hours away from Erie this week. I never would have even known about this coaster or considered such a small park like Waldameer, or Knoebels and its gems for that matter, if it wasn’t for the Coaster Critic.
    I won’t even bother to try to express with mere words just how fun the Ravine Flyer 2 is.
    Thank you

  12. Lanie

    I feel very lucky to have a season pass to Waldameer. The Ravine Flyer ll is truly amazing. Probably ridden it over 50 times.

  13. Christian Rudolph

    Hi to Erieites and thanks for the reviews. I grew up going to Waldameer as did my parents who rode the original Ravine Flyer long ago. I’ve heard the infamous stories of death with the original ride. While visiting Erie we rode the coaster and we’re all too scared to repeat the experience. Nonetheless, it’s so impressive and (for many reasons) I’m extremely proud of Waldameer! Kind Regards, Chris Rudolph P.S. My maternal GreatGrandmother (McConnell/Ferguson sold land to the owner of Waldameer Park for an alcohol-free Waldameer picnic grove over 100 years ago. My Mat. Grandfather Massing created the adjacent Kelso Beach resort in the early 1900’s.

  14. Wardell Lewis

    On my way to Cedar Point last year we stopped by Waldemeer Park to check out this coaster and we were not disappointed. I said more woo’s on this coaster than at any of the coasters at Cedar Point. I would stop again to ride Ravine Flyer II.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.