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Banshee


inverted coaster The world’s longest inverted steel rollercoaster is now challenging thrill-seekers at Kings Island, Mason, Ohio. With seven smooth, fast and perfectly paced inversions, the 4,124ft long (1.25km) Banshee is Bolliger & Mabillard’s (B&M) newest inverted coaster. Paul Ruben reports


Greg Scheid, vice-chairman and general manager at Kings Island


One


millionth rider!


Banshee opened at Kings Island in April, and after just three months had already given a million rides. Grant Pedersen of


Lexington, Kentucky, scored the lucky one millionth seat and was awarded a gift package including a poster, picture frame, T-shirt, glass cube, coffee mug, tote bag, limited edition pin set and the large sign you see him holding here. The last Kings Island coaster to attract such a following during its debut was the Vortex looping coaster, which opened in 1987 and gave 2,183,642 rides that season.


T


he $24 million attraction sprawls over 13 acres (5.3 hectares) of the park near Cincinnati, including a portion of land previously occupied


by the short-lived Son of Beast looping wooden coaster. It boasts several bragging rights – including one rather unusual one. Themed to a mythological messenger from the underworld with flowing white hair and gleaming eyes, Banshee is the first thrill ride at a Cedar Fair-operated park to be given a female identity!


The decision to add a record-setting coaster was crucial for Kings Island, says vice-president and general manager Greg Scheid: “When you replace a ride as iconic as the Son of Beast, you must deliver above and beyond all expectations with the new attraction. We felt partnering with B&M on a world record setting coaster that would deliver thrills while being attractive to a broad spectrum of guests was critical.”


Seven inversions


In quick succession, Banshee features a 167ft (52m) lift hill, 150ft (45.7m) curved first drop, a dive loop, a vertical loop encircling the lift hill, a zero-gravity-roll, a pair of batwing inversions, an outside loop, spiral, in- line roll and carousel elements – seven inversions in total. Because of the rolling terrain, the ride encompasses a total elevation change of 208ft (63m). Textured lighting and other illumination effects provide for a rewarding ride experience after dark. “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive from all riders and many claiming it as their favourite coaster of all time,” reports Scheid. He does not, however, believe Banshee is his park’s new signature attraction. “I would define Banshee as the marquee attraction for the next few years here but our signature ride will always be The Beast [wooden coaster]. The


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Beast is responsible for putting Kings Island on the radar of coaster enthusiasts around the world as there will never be another one built like it.” Sheid has ridden Banshee himself, of course. “I was fortunate enough to be one of the first riders on this coaster and totally caught off guard by the zero G-roll at the end of the ride. After the first six inversions, it was the seventh that really caught my attention. I was also pleasantly surprised how comfortable the new seat restraints preformed as this is the first time B&M utilised them in a suspended coaster.” Riders on Banshee are seated four abreast, restrained by a combination of lapbar and vest, similar to the restraints used on B&M’s Flying Coasters and Wing Coasters. A total of three blue, green and purple trains, each comprising eight cars, enables Banshee to gobble up approximately 1,650 riders per hour. Each ride lasts just over one-and-a-minutes, from departing the station until the brakes at the end, reaching speeds of up to 68mph hour (109km/h). The addition of the new coaster has had an immediate effect on foot traffic within the park. “Our Action Zone area of the park needed a new shot of adrenaline,” acknowledges Scheid, “and Banshee was the answer. We were able to rejuvenate the area with the remodelling of gift shops and restaurants while giving the guests a reason to visit this area. The majority of guests in the past would enter the park and head to the right for The Beast and Diamondback, now it is a hard left into Action Zone.”


Smooth operator


Construction of Banshee, in Scheid's estimation, was “flawless.” Operation has also gone smoothly. “With the amount of downtime we experienced with Son of Beast, it was critical to have a ride that would run


SEPTEMBER 2014


Kings Island’s record-setting


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