I’m a big fan of launched coasters, they’re still new enough that almost all of them offer unique elements, and Sky Rocket at Kennywoodcertainly all of this new generation of launched coasters have something to offer enthusiasts. If there is a gripe to be had with launched coasters, it’s that too often they under perform when compared to their like brethren, the traditional chain or cable lift rides. True, the idea of a launched hyper coaster makes little sense, but a compact, inversion filled little ride like Sky Rocket is perfect for any park, and especially perfect for one like Kennywood where space is at a premium.

Lukas and I waited just under an hour for Sky Rocket while the wife and daughter recovered from Noah’s Ark in the kids section of the park. The queueing area is comfortable, with misters that spray just a little bit too much water as you wait for your turn to ride. I was able to endure some more of that wonderful Pennsylvania rudeness I first encountered at Hershey Park, once again my appearance was an issue with the locals. I’m not sure why I can walk through any other park, or really anywhere else and encounter mostly polite people, but the second I hit the Pennsylvania border the civility just falls out of folks.

Sky Rocket has very comfortable seats on its two car trains, identical to those on the updated Flight of Fear vehicles, which means lap and ankle bumpers only. Good restraints aside, I do question the thought process in only running two trains at a time, it seems another would have made loading run even faster. However, the line moved slowly and evenly, a unique feature for a new launch coaster.

The launch was awesome. Only fifty miles an hour, but it’s a fun fifty and there was a wonderful pop of airtime atop the top hat element that begins the ride. The train screams down the back of the hat after a slow crest, whips around an almost inverted turn and flips riders through a zero g roll. I loved the first inversion on Sky Rocket, it was a forceful element that wanted to launch me from the car. After that first inversion, I realized just how smooth this coaster was. Several readers of this site took umbrage with my Maverick review, stating that the ride was too rough. To those riders I offer Sky Rocket, this is easily the smoothest running coaster with inversions I’ve ever ridden, to say this was a surprise would be a huge understatement. I’ve enjoyed the other Premier rides that I’ve ridden, but this was far and away the most enjoyable, and definitely the smoothest.

Sky Rocket at Kennywood

After the first inversion the ride turns again, coasts through the mid course break blocks and down another vertical drop. After the drop the trains careen through another turn, enjoy another awesome zero g roll and high banked turn. Following the turn the coaster has a few banked twists and finishes with two nice little pops of air on a pair of well placed bunny hills.

Sky Rocket at KennywoodSky Rocket is no horizon interrupter, if anything it is a modest coaster, offering a ride length of just shy of one minute and initial drop of less than a hundred feet. That is not to say the ride lacks, it is a very fun, very smooth riding coaster. If there is a gripe to be had it is that there are better launched coasters out there, and in a couple of cases they’re not too far away.

As I mentioned earlier, Sky Rocket is superior to Flight of Fear, but it cannot hold a candle to either Maverick or Stormrunner, two Intamin rides of similar stature. Based on the reviews of those other coasters on this site, I award Sky Rocket a review of 8.0, with a thrill rating of three out of five on the scale established by the Coaster Critic.

There is nothing wrong with Sky Rocket, I wish if anything that I’d had more time to ride it. That said, it would be impossible for me to recommend a trip to Kennywood based solely on this ride unless you have already experienced the Intamin rides operating at Hershey Park and Cedar Point.
Great Roller Coaster Reviews
Sky Rocket is well built, good looking, fun to ride and glass smooth. It is a coaster that I think any enthusiast or casual coaster fan would enjoy, and it fits very well into the lush skyline of Kennywood. Final Rating – 8.0 (Great)

Thrilling Roller Coasters - For Brave Riders
Sky Rocket is rated TH for Thrilling. It’s a 3 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale because of its launch and loops. See the full scale here.

What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Sky Rocket? What’d you think? Leave comment below. Thanks to Judy from Pgh for the images.

About The Author

22 Responses

  1. Jacob

    Great review of a ride that has not gotten enough publicity! Another reason to put a PA trip near the top of my list…

  2. Austin

    I like your writing style, Aric. Did you do something in college to help you be that articulate? I gotta know!

    • Austin

      P.S., forgot to tell you, that was a great review!

      I'm hoping to take a trip to Kennywood soon, and try this bad boy out for myself. Any recommendations for good seating?

    • adavis

      Thanks Austin, that's a great compliment. I actually dropped out of college after a semester, and joined a retail business.

      To make a long story short, I've always loved reading and writing and when I was able to have my head in the right position, I decided to really give writing a go.

      So far it's been five years and a ton of fun and heartbreak, I do love to write, but the rejections can pile up. A couple months ago I was offered a two novel contract with a publisher. My debut novel will be out in March, and as for writing, I enjoyed a couple of amazing highschool writing teachers, and a ton of luck. To be honest, getting to write for this blog is an honor, and being published…woah.

      Sorry, back on topic, Sky Rocket was sweet!

  3. Prof.BAM

    Nice, honest review. I am shipping out to Florida tomorow morning, for UNiversal, Seaworld, and Disney. See you in early September!

  4. Austin

    Great review! Just one thing – PA rudeness? That's no such thing – if anything PAers are known for being polite and accomidating. But they tend to be a bit more conservative so perhaps your tattoos and piercings don't sit well with them.

    • adavis

      Pennsylvanians may be sweet to one another, I just wouldn't know much about it. Both of my trips to the Keystone have been met with words and actions FAR too rude for this site.

      Remember, I look weird everywhere and so far that is met with confused looks, disgust and occasionally awesomely profound questions. The Penn state however, has not been good to me.

      • Mike

        haha Just look at the Philly Sports fans!! They booed Santa and cheer when players on opposing teams get hurt! Plus there is a big difference in how people act From the West Coast to the North to the South. I totally believe u Aric!

  5. Matt

    Aric, great review! I was just at Kennywood a couple days ago and I agree, Sky Rocket is a good ride, but I feel that Phantom's Revenge thoroughly stole the show. I feel it is running UNBELIEVABLY even compared to last year!! I have been all around the US and I now rate it high up in my top 10? Did you ride it when you were there?? What did you think of the PHANTOM??

    • adavis

      I absolutely loved the Phantom. I actually was at Kennywood in the middle of a five day trip that sandwiched Kennywood in between days at Kings Island and Cedar Point, and I can say with no doubt that the Phantom stacks up quite well against a ride like Diamondback or Millenium Force.

      Phantom's Revenge may not have the height of MF or the ridiculous smoothness of DB, but it completely holds its own against either of those coasters. The second drop and amazing airtime near the end of the ride sealed the deal for me, and my six year old daughter loved it as well. The Phantom is definitely in my top ten.

  6. Merle

    Just rode bolth storm runner and maverick on a trip I just got back from last night they were bolth great butmavrick was easily the best coaster I have ever ridden and for me did not compare to mellinuim.

  7. Merle

    That seemed a little off topic. Your review of maverick was highly accurate

  8. Brandon

    Born and raised about 20 min. from Kennywood and have been going there all my life. I've heard a good deal of positive reception for this coaster and I can't wait to ride it when I visit the park on Wednesday! Thanks for the review

  9. Mike

    Wow all I can say is you nailed this review. Only got to ride this twice but I have to say I was underwhelmed with the experience. Basically it's everything you said it was: Very fun yet modest; better than flight of fear/backlot stunt coaster but doesn't compare to stormrunner/maverick/top thrill dragster's of the world. Very short and smooth. From what I can tell they can only have two trains because of the shortness of the ride. By the time the 1st train gets back they are just finished checking the 2nd train. Best part for me was the pop of air in the top hat. It seems like all the coasters at Kennywood have at least one awesome moment of airtime on them. I thought I was going to get thrown out of thunderbolt. it was truly a moment of coaster bliss and excitement.

  10. KK

    I loved Skyrocket. It was my first ride of the day (as well as my first big roller coaster EVER), and I got a nice little rush out of it. I thought the line moved quickly – even when we went on again towards the end of the day. It was a pretty short ride, MUCH less intense than the Phantom (which could be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint), and I had a blast.

  11. Dillon

    hey Aric i think this one should intense 4/5 on the thrill scale. this one features a 90 degree plunge with a little lap-bar. do you know how un-nerving that can be?


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