A-Z Coaster of the Week: Ultra Twister

For this week’s A-Z coaster, we’ll take a look back at Ultra Twister, a TOGO pipeline coaster formally located at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Astroworld, and now currently sitting in “storage” at Six Flags America. Ultra Twister was a pretty memorable ride for me, but I’ll explain more on why that is later.

Credit – Kevin Knapp via www.smugmug.com

Ultra Twister was built in 1985 by TOGO and opened in 1986 at Six Flags Great Adventure, located in the “Frontier Adventures” section of the park. At its opening, it was the first coaster in the world to have a heartline and also held the world record for steepest ascent.

Credit – www.coastergallery.com

Standing at 96 feet tall, Ultra Twister featured a vertical lift (that would later be modified to 45 degrees) and a 92 foot, 85 degree drop. The ride had a length of 1,421 feet, reached a speed of 44 mph, and included three heartline roll inversions. The original design of the coaster had guests entering and exiting the ride cars on a moving walkway. After guests were loaded, the cars backed into a pivoting track which rotated 90 degrees into the vertical lift. The car then climbed up the 96 foot-tall lift, and plunged over the 92 foot drop at near vertical and swoops up a hill. After leveling out at the top of the hill, the car entered the first heartline roll before hitting the brake run. At this point, the car hit a second pivot track that tilted and released the car backwards down to the lower track section where the car traversed through two additional heartline rolls in reverse! The car then hit the brake run and returned to the station.

Credit – SixFlagsHouston.com

In 1989, as part of the Six Flags “Ride Rotation Program”, Ultra Twister was disassembled and moved to Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, Texas, opening in 1990. The ride was a better fit for that park with its small footprint and relatively low rider capacity. It was then that the ride’s lift was modified from 90 degrees to 45 degrees. This allowed the ride to be evacuated more easily while on the lift. The ride would also receive a new color scheme, changing from its bluish-white to a bright blue and green color scheme. The ride would continue to run at Six Flags Astroworld until the park’s closing in October 2005.

Credit – www.greatadventurehistory.com

Ultra Twister was dismantled and sent to Six Flags America in Maryland. Apparently, the ride was damaged during disassembly. The cost to repair the ride outgrew the value of the ride itself due to the manufacturer no longer being in business. As a result, the ride currently still sits in “storage” at Six Flags America. As you can probably tell from the picture above, storage is a term that should be used loosely in this case. The ride was put up for sale in 2010, failing to get any buyers.

I stated before that Ultra Twister was a particularly memorable ride for me. If you’ve read my profile on this site, my trip to Six Flags Astroworld at the age of fourteen was my first time riding an inverting coaster (Batman The Escape). Prior to that, I was an absolute chicken when it came to inversions. It took my older brother saying that I could not hang with him at the park if I didn’t get on all the rides he rode on. After riding Batman, I found out that inversions were actually pretty fun! So next, I confidently got on Ultra Twister. Of course being a pipeline coaster built by TOGO, Ultra Twister was notoriously rough due to the restraints required for the ride. It was also summertime at Astroworld, so the park was full of seasonal employees, many being attractive young women. Ultra Twister’s ride operator was one such person. After we rode, the ride operator asked how we enjoyed the ride. My brother egged me on to say “I hurt my neck staring at you”. Classic nineties line there.

Ultra Twister POV Video

Ultra Twister Stats

Locations:

Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ – 1986-1989

Six Flags Astroworld, Houston, TX – 1990-2005

Six Flags America – 2005-Present (storage)

  • Type/Category: Steel, Pipeline Coaster
  • Opened: 1986 / Closed: 2005 / Dismantled: 2005
  • Age when closed: 19
  • Designer/Manufacturer: TOGO
  • Height: 96 ft (29 m)
  • Speed: 44 mph (71 kmph)
  • Length: 1,421 ft (433 m)
  • Inversions: 3

Have you ridden Ultra Twister at Six Flags Great Adventure or Six Flags Astroworld? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!

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