When Paramount's Great America contracted Bolliger & Mabillard to construct Top Gun, the inverted coaster concept was fairly new. Six Flags Great America's Batman: The Ride, which was the world's first inverted coaster, had opened just one year before. But Batman received rave reviews for its smoothness, intensity, and the unique sensation it provided.

Standing 102-feet high and reaching a maximum speed of 50 mph, Top Gun's statistics are not the most impressive for a steel coaster. But within the 2260-foot circuit lie several intense elements including a vertical loop, zero-g roll and a very intense helix.

Top Gun is themed to-- well, the movie Top Gun. The queue consists of several objects related to the movie including an aircraft carrier. Unfortunately, the majority of the queue is not shaded, so it can get quite uncomfortable on hot summer days.


After navigating the queue, I took a seat in the back row. The ride is equipped with individual over the shoulder restraints and seat belts. Once the restraints were checked, we began heading up the 102-foot lift hill.

After the relatively short journey up the lift hill, we headed over the small dip and began soaring down the 91-foot drop, which twists to the left. The intense first drop leads into the ride's first element, a 360-degree vertical loop; the loop is packed with very high Gs.

From the bottom of the loop, you head into a 360-degree upward spiral, which also offers very high Gs. At this point, you take a left-hand turn and soar through the very intense zero-g roll.

Next up, you fly high above the queue and then drop down into a corkscrew, which is situated over water. You then soar through the helix, which also packs a ton of positive Gs. Your ride is then concluded with a banked turn into the brake run.


Top Gun may not be the tallest, fastest, or longest coaster around, but it definitely packs a punch. The ride is filled with relentless speed and high g-forces, and the journey over water adds a lot to the excitement

In my opinion, Top Gun deserves a lot more recognition.  The only major complaint I have about the ride is that it is incredibly short.  If you are planning a trip to Northern California, be sure not to miss this one.

Rating: 8/10


  • Very intense

  • Wide array of elements

  • Finale over water


  • Short

-Jeff B.