The announcement we've all been waiting for - some a tad bit more than others (ahem, Sabrina) - has finally come - 2012 will be the year of Skyrush at Hersheypark! Dubbed a "mega/hyper coaster with winged seating" by the park, the brand new Intamin ride (the park's 3rd!) will forever change Comet Hollow when it opens next year.
And here she is in all her beauty. Click the image for a closer look at the twisting layout that includes four high-speed, highly banked turns. But before those turns you've got that imposing first hill - which will stand 200 feet over the park. The lift takes trains up at 26 feet per second - a quick trip indeed - and the first drop is angled at 85 degrees which will push the trains along at a cool 75 miles per hour.
According to Hersheypark, "riders will feel the rush of five exhilirating airtime hills and transition from positive to negative gravity as they cross over the entire length of Comet, the oldest roller coaster in Hersheypark. Skyrush will travel over Spring Creek, the body of water that was a centerpiece when chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey opened his park in 1907, and race along nearly 3,600 feet of steel track back to its station." Skyrush will actually cross over the station area of the Comet during the last part of the ride.
The coaster's station (seen on the plans above) will be modeled after historic train stations in the Hershey area, according to the park. New restrooms, food locations, and games will all be themed to replicate the park's buildings of yesteryear, plus a new floating fountain will be added to Spring Creek. A meandering walkway will also run from the park's entrance plaza all the way to Comet Hollow next year, providing spectacular views of Skyrush up close.
The trains that will be featured on Skyrush are also quite noteworthy. The winged seating will be provided by trains that seat four across, the inner seats with a floor and the outer seats floorless. Those winged outer seats will offer a 270 degree view of the landscape as it flies by riders. I'm no Intamin expert, but I do not believe this specific type of train has been used before on any of their rides.
Announcement Video from Hersheypark
The $25 million project is well underway, as Sabrina and I saw on our recent visit. Scott & Carol also stopped by earlier this month, and have some great photos to share of the work going on. The area adjacent to the Comet, where the stream runs, is completely torn up with plenty of footers already built.
When completed, Skyrush will have two trains each capable of holding 32 riders. The 63 second ride time will make an hourly capacity of 1,350 riders.
Keep watch on Hersheypark's website for new information on the ride in the future, including a FAQ with the park's engineer regarding the ride. Skyrush has a planned opening at Hersheypark of Memorial Day, 2012.