For years, Paramount's Great America has been providing guests with the
latest thrill rides. In 1991, the park debuted Vortex, the world's second B&M
stand-up coaster. Just two years later, the park contracted B&M once again,
this time to construct the world's second inverted coaster.
In 2000, PGA continued this tradition by debuting Stealth. Developed
By Vekoma International, Stealth features trains capable of riding above or below the
coaster's rails. The trains rotate into the station, putting riders on their
backs. Then, at various points throughout the ride, the trains are flipped over
180 degree, putting riders in the flying position.
The ride's station is simple, but effective. It fits the ride's
theme and provides guests with shade. Once you board the train, it takes awhile
before you are dispatched. You can put the safety harness on yourself, but you
must wait for a ride operator to push down the lap bar.
Once all the seats have been checked, the seats rotate until you are lying
on your back. You then head out of the station, through a left-hand curve, and up
onto the lift hill.
Stealth's lift hill is relatively silent. Unless you are in the
front row, it is difficult to tell how far up you are.
When you reach the top, the train heads down a dip and into its first
inversion, a 180 degree twist which puts you into the flying position. From there,
its a matter of seconds before you begin your dive towards the ground.
The ride's first drop is very impressive, and definitely one of the best
elements on the ride. You are flown right over the photo booth, which provides an
From the bottom of the first drop, the train heads up into the horseshoe
turn. In this element, the track inverts approximately 110 degrees. An
excellent way to take advantage of the flying position.
Next up, you climb back up into a turnaround which flips you 180 degrees,
once again putting you on your back. This is the setup for the vertical loop, the
most intense element on the ride.
The vertical loop provides very high positive G's. An interesting
point is that you are not actually inverted at the apex of the loop. Rather, you
are inverted at the... well, I don't know the word for it, so we'll just have to
say the sides of the loop. ;)
Following the loop, you head through another turn, this time flying high
above the lift hill. This turnaround also sends you back into the flying position.
From here, you head over a few dips until you reach another turnaround, this one
flipping you over onto your back.
You then head into the finale of the ride, two back to back corkscrews.
These corkscrews have a small diameter and are very similar to barrel rolls. They
are fairly disorienting and provide an impressive conclusion to an overall impressive
From this point, you head through a right-hand turn which leads into the
final brake run. This used to put you directly under the sun with no protection,
but very recently, the park has added a canopy.
And finally, the train heads through one last turnaround and back into the
Stealth is an impressive prototype, but it falls short of being a top-notch
thrill ride. The flying sensation is very unique, but the ride just does not offer
enough of it. Rather, you spend half the time on your back, which is not very
This design has already been improved (See X-Flight), and hopefully, it will
continue to be improved in the future.
But if you have not yet ridden in a flying coaster, I'd recommend
finding out exactly what you are missing.