|Click here to watch the on-ride POV|
|Product||Custom Looping Coaster|
|Designer / calculations||Ron Toomer|
|Riders per train||28|
|Propulsion||Chain lift hill|
|Top speed||60 mph|
Drachen Fire was a steel roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. It operated from April 4, 1992 to July 1998 and was built by Arrow Dynamics with its supports by Ride Centerline.
Upon opening, Drachen Fire had six inversions, but this was reduced to five after the 1994 season. It was met with largely negative reception from guests due to its rough ride experience.
Less than a month after its grand opening, Drachen Fire ended up suffering from plummeting guest satisfaction. Soon enough, the ride became very rough. The ride's popularity began to fade and the lines became shorter. Passengers had to remove their earrings, due to the rough ride causing bloody ears.
Within a week of opening, three women complained of neck pains after riding Drachen Fire due to the bumpy ride experience. They were taken to a nearby hospital. In 1995, a man filed a lawsuit against Busch Gardens and Arrow Dynamics, claiming the ride had caused permanent injuries, and that the restraints did not protect his head and neck from violent movement.
The most infamous part of the ride was the corkscrew after the block brake. During the 1994-1995 off-season, it was replaced by a straight section with trim brakes. Despite the new track modification, Drachen Fire continued to be rough.
After the opening of Alpengeist in 1997, Drachen Fire's popularity would dwindle. By 1998, the coaster was widely hated by guests. In July of that year, Busch Gardens officially closed the coaster. It was then subsequently listed for sale. A spokeswoman at the time said Drachen Fire was the least popular major roller coaster. The coaster was ultimately demolished in 2002.
Drachen Fire in some ways is an Arrow Dynamics experiment. It was the first Arrow looper to use Bolliger & Mabillard-type supports. It was also the first and only Arrow looper to feature a cobra roll and cutback. The ride's trains were also unique compared to other Arrow coasters. Canyon Blaster at the Adventuredome and Corkscrew at Toshimaen also featured these trains.
The train departs from the station and makes a left turn, leading to a 150 foot tall chain lift hill. After climbing the lift hill, riders descend 55 feet and flip into a 120 foot tall wraparound corkscrew, dropping 145 feet to the left and reaching a max speed of 60 mph. The train approaches a hill, which produces a few seconds of weightlessness. Then, riders travel through a cobra roll (also known as a batwing), which turns upside down twice in a boomerang type effect. This element is unique among Arrow loopers. The train makes a left turn to the block brake. Riders dive down a straight section with trim brakes. Prior to 1995, riders traveled through the first corkscrew. The train moves through a cutback and a corkscrew. After the corkscrew, riders pass through a helix before making a right turn back to the station.
3 trains with 7 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows, for a total of 28 riders per train. These trains were lighter and designed differently from most other Arrow loopers. Only a few other Arrows, such as Canyon Blaster has them.
- In 1999, Arrow implemented the same B&M-style support structure used on Drachen Fire for the Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood.
- "Rides List". http://ridecenterline.com/projects/rides-list/. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
- "Coasting along and more". https://www.newspapers.com/clip/59030276/coasting-along-and-more/.
- "A Blast From The Past - Busch Gardens Europe's Drachen Fire". NewsPlusNotes. https://newsplusnotes.blogspot.com/2009/10/blast-from-past-busch-gardens-europes.html.
- "Defunctland: The History of Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg". Defunctland. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKfSC3_LUtA.
- "3 find new ride a pain in the neck", Daily Press.
- "Busch Gardens faces suit", Daily Press.
- "10 Removed Roller Coaster Elements". Theme Park Crazy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8ZSCU0eoJU.
- "The Former Coasters of Busch Gardens Williamsburg!". Theme Park Crazy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsw_WRmSTks.
- Busch Gardens' Drachen Fire For Sale - Richmond.com
- on the Roller Coaster DataBase.
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