The Nighthawk has to be in my top five must try roller coasters! Its great colors and its great style just makes it worth riding. Nighthawk is a steel flying roller coaster at Carowinds, located near Charlotte, North Carolina. They ride was originally based at California’s great America where it was named the Stealth, in 2002. It was designed and manufactured by Vekoma, a Dutch company. The ride cost an insane amount of money. Well to be precise, $17,000,000 united state dollars! It was paid for by the previous owners, Paramount’s Great America!
The Nighthawk replaced the Carolina Sternwheeler Riverboat , which was one of the parks original attractions. Yes, that’s right, replaced for a roller coaster! The park could never make a decision to what the coasters colors should be. As Stealth, it had steel grey supports and a red tubular track. Upon being moved to Carowinds and renamed Borg Assimilator, the ride was repainted with blue supports and yellow track for the 2009 season. Cedar Fair is known for giving their rides, bright colors.
Now for a little description of the ride.
As the train pulls into the station, it is raised into an upright position and is laid back down with riders on their backs as it departs, taking them through the ride headfirst. A minor turn exists directly before the 115-foot-tall lift. After the lift a mild sloped, small drop exist directly before the “lie-to-fly” element when riders are first turned into the flying position. In the flying position a large turn about 100 feet in the air brings riders the biggest drop on the ride, although the drop isn’t steep. A horseshoe element is directly after the small drop followed by a “fly-to-lie” element which is exactly opposite from the “lie-to-fly”. After the turn, following the fly-to-lie, riders are taken into a loop preceding another lie-to-fly with a turn. Two corkscrews follow and then the brake run. It honestly looks like an awesome steel flying roller coaster. I’ve been on a few but I would love to try this one.
This is the part where you will most probably will not want to read.
Several employees received minor injuries on the roller coaster during a test run before the park opened. There were 16 park employees on the ride at the time it happened. The ride stopped at the base of the vertical loop after the rides emergency brakes turned on, only 8 feet above the ground. In turns out that the ride malfunctioned due to the ride operator accidentally pushing the button that controls the seat positions, whilst the ride was in motion. The button is only to be used whilst the ride is at a complete stop. So I can imagine the impact on the restraint as it came to an instant stop.
Next time you’re on a ride, take a good look at the ride operator and see if you can trust him. I’m not trying to make you paranoid.
Current Coaster Name: Nighthawk Current Park Name: Carowinds Previous Ride Name(s): BORG Assimilator ( until 2007 ) Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA Status: Operating Links: http://www.carowinds.com/ Cost: $17,000,000 USD
Type: Steel – Flying Opened: March 20th, 2004 Designer: Vekoma Features: Themed Height: 115 ft (35 m) Max Drop: 103 ft (31 m) Max Speed: 51 mph (82 km/h) Length: 2,766 ft (843 m) Acceleration: N/A Inversions: 5 Duration: 2:45 Trains: 2 Capacity: 1000 per hour