This compact Vekoma roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia is astoundingly intense and is one of their better custom models installed in the US, thanks to its striking setting and some recent remodeling.
A top speed of 52mph sends the trains through a quintet of inversions – a highly unique “butterfly” element, sidewinder, and consecutive double corkscrews – across a 2,742ft course. All of this is fairly compressed into a ride time of 1 minute 20 seconds. There’s no block brake section or trim brakes to impede the coaster’s overall performance.
Lines aren’t terribly long, a testament to solid station crews and multi-train operation. Riders are seated 2 across in 2 rows per car and 7 cars per train for a total of 28 riders per train; with 2 train ops, that’s a total of 56 riders per cycle.
Existing as ‘Ninja’ from 1992-2015, this coaster was painted red and was vilified by many guests for the unpleasantly rough ride it gave. For the 2016 season, Six Flags Over Georgia made the decision to re-paint it blue, re-track parts of the coaster, replace boxy shoulder restraints with soft vest ones, and re-introduce the ride with a military theme as ‘Blue Hawk’. Gone are the crimson tents over the queue, along with the sword-wielding statues at the ride’s entrance. Sayonara!
Coaster Nerd Moment
The “butterfly” element is essentially back-to-back sidewinders taken in series. The only other ride to use this is ‘Goudurix’ at Parc Astérix in France, so it’s pretty special. In a way, it’s similar to the “batwing” found on ‘Vortex’ @ Kings Island, but the train exits the element traveling in the same direction as it began. It’s tough to describe and even tougher to visualize, I know. I’d recommend a Google image search to get a better idea.
The Big Con(s)
My only criticisms about this coaster are the unbelievably sluggish chain lift hill (without question the slowest I’ve ever experienced) and the fact that it’s still kinda jarring. Although not as rough as it was when operating as ‘Ninja’, ‘Blue Hawk’ still delivers a pretty turbulent ride. The new trains and soft vest-style over the shoulder restraints make a big difference in rider comfort, thankfully. Perhaps the added weight is the reason behind why the train inches up the lift hill at a snail’s pace.
Oh, a word of caution, …do NOT attempt to extend your arms or legs outside of the car at any time. They will go bye-bye. The ride’s manufacturer built the structure in such a way that beams and track come within mere inches of the oncoming train. I counted at least 5 “headchopper” moments, which is a lot for a single coaster. It’s apparent in any row and much like the inverted ‘SLC’ models built by Vekoma, this ups in the intensity factor considerably.
Normally this ride would rate 6 out of 10 with me, but with ‘Blue Hawk’ it’s all about location, location, location. This custom coaster is laid out entirely over water and 90% of the supports rest on concrete footers built atop a small lagoon. That earns it major plus points in my book and makes for some fantastic photo opportunities, the sapphire track reflecting off of the cool cobalt water.
So how does ‘Blue Hawk’ stack up against the other coasters at Six Flags Over Georgia? Fourth out of the park’s nine roller coasters, after Goliath, Dare Devil Dive, and Mind Bender, but higher than Georgia Scorcher, Batman, and the others.
My Take on Blue Hawk
Between the patriotic re-branding (‘Murrica!), the fresh new coat of azure paint, and the tightly-packed succession of inversions, I’d have to award high marks for this particular roller coaster. I thoroughly enjoyed the watery whereabouts of this one very much, that certainly factors into the overall ride rating.
Yes indeed, ‘Blue Hawk’ is one of the better rides at Atlanta’s Six Flags and it makes for some phenomenal picture taking, probably the most Instagram-worthy ride at the park, in my opinion. With very reasonable wait times, improved ergonomics, and a force-filled track layout, I highly recommend you check this out on your day at SFOG!
Final Rating – 7 out of 10 (Good)
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Blue Hawk or Ninja at Six Flags Over Georgia? Leave a comment below.