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  • Coaster Information:

    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.  :-)

    Quick Info:

    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

    Technical Info:

    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

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  1. I agree that Batwing is a better ride than Great Adventure’s fliyng Superman coaster. Mostly due to the lay-down orientation as you ascend the lift hill and unload. , As opposed to the hanging orientation on Superman. I did miss the hanging part for the lift hill but I was very glad to be laying down for the end of the ride. I remember on Superman the pain being very bad due to the blood flow getting cut off to my arms while we were hanging there waiting for it to be our turn to unload. My arms went totally numb. I was even in great shape then. I was in the station about to ride superman once when it was brand new and it had a breakdown. The coaster was hanging halfway up the lift hill for about 20 minutes. A girl who was on the stuck train must have broken some blood vessels in her eyes. It was crazy scary to see how red her eyes were as see unloaded. I have never seen anything like that before.I agree that being on your back for the loop is a crazy cool feeling. I also agree that it is difficult to look forward but well worth the effort. These fliyng coasters prove a cool point about pre-judging a ride. I remember saying to my friends how slow it looked while we waited for our first ride. I was then very surprised by how fast it felt and how intense the G’s felt on the outward facing turns. You could tell that if it did go any faster through a turn like that our bodies could not handle it. It also becomes apparent why they put you on your back for the big loop.

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