These photos, supplied by Holiday World, show off just some of Thunderbird's aerial moves. Above is the initial launch, which takes place just after the trains are dispatched from the station. Some special effects take place and then bam - trains are sent out at 60 miles per hour, reached in just 3.5 seconds. This is manufacturer B&M's first launch coaster, a big move for the famous roller coaster designers.
Thunderbird features a 140 foot tall Immelmann inversion immediately after the launch, which feeds into the 125 foot tall vertical loop seen here. Two more inversions follow during the course of the ride, a zero-g roll and barrel roll. The wing coaster style of the trains keep riders outside the track area, with nothing above or below them. Thunderbird is the Nation's first launched wing coaster.
Holiday World park President Matt Eckert notes that “a wing coaster creates a feeling of incredible freedom," and is proud of the company chosen to build Thunderbird. He calls Bolliger & Mabillard the “Cadillac of roller coasters, known for their safety, quality and reliability. We’ve dreamed of adding a B&M steel coaster for many years and are excited that Thunderbird will be B&M’s first launched coaster.”
This final shot of Thunderbird swirling riders through one of the experience's "keyhole" elements shows just how well the unique trains are utilized. Trains actually pass through this structure twice during the ride - once upside down as you can see. The new coaster represents a $22 million investment in the park - more than any other single ride in the history of Holiday World.
Thunderbird is a part of the park's Thanksgiving section, where a new restaurant, the SmokeHouse, and a shop named Hevron’s Mercantile have also been built. Also new this season is George’s Gluten-Free Pizza & Snacks, the park’s latest effort to provide menus for those with special dietary needs.
For more on Thunderbird and Holiday World, check out the official website.