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Katapul spike alternative.jpg
Katapul in 2011.
Hopi Hari
Location Vinhedo, São Paulo, Brazil
Park section Aribabiba
Status Operating since 1999
Alton Towers
Name Thunderlooper
Location Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Operated 1990 to November 3, 1996
Jolly Roger Amusement Park
Name King Kobra
Location Ocean City, Maryland, USA
Operated 1987 to 1989
Kings Dominion
Name King Kobra
Location Doswell, Virginia, USA
Operated May 26, 1977 to 1986
Manufacturer Schwarzkopf
Designer / calculations Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH
Type Steel - Launched - Shuttle
Product Shuttle Loop (Weight Drop)
Riders per train 24
Propulsion Weight drop launch
Height 137.8 feet
Top speed 53 mph
Length 722 feet
Track inversions 1
Rider inversions 2
Drop angle 70°
King Kobra at Kings Dominion in 1979.
Thunderlooper at Alton Towers

Katapul is a steel launched shuttle roller coaster located at Hopi Hari in Vinhedo, São Paulo, Brazil. It was one of the first Shuttle Loop models built by Schwarzkopf and used a weight drop launch to propel riders to a speed of 53 mph. It is also the most traveled, having operated at four parks in its 44 year history.


The ride was installed at Kings Dominion, Virginia, USA, and opened on May 26, 1977 under the name King Kobra.[1] It was the first Schwarzkopf Shuttle loop model along with White Lightnin' at Carowinds and Greased Lightnin' at Marriott's Great America, both of which opened in the same year. It closed in 1986 and was sent to Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Maryland, USA.

It reopened under the same name at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in 1987 and only operated for three seasons, closing in 1989.

The ride was then sold to Alton Towers in England, UK. It opened in 1990 and was called Thunderlooper. Thunderlooper was situated across from where Nemesis is now in a newly created area called Thunder Valley (now Forbidden Valley). During its operation, planning regulations on Alton Towers were tightened, allowing nothing to be built higher than the treeline. Due to its height and noisy operation, Thunderlooper had to be closed - it ceased operation on November 3, 1996. Maintenance had also become an issue with cracks appearing on the track and trains. It was replaced with flat rides Ripsaw and Blade.[2]

After being removed from Alton Towers, the ride was sent to Hopi Hari in Brazil. It was repainted blue with red supports and opened in 1999 under the name Katapul. It was closed in February 2012 and was repainted red with blue supports. It was also given a Superman theme. It reopened on December 14, 2012.



Ride experience

The train is launched out of the station at a speed of 53 mph before passing through a vertical loop with a diameter of 46 feet. It then travels up a 148 feet tall vertical rollback, slowing to a halt as it loses its momentum. The train then traverses the track backwards, passing through the vertical loop and station and up the second, smaller spike. After stalling a second time, the train rolls forwards into the station.

Colour scheme

Hopi Hari

Red track and blue supports, used to be blue track and red supports.

Alton Towers

Dark green track and supports.

Jolly Roger Amusement Park

Black track and supports.

Kings Dominion

White track and supports.


Single train with 7 cars. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows, for a total of 28 riders per train.

Photo Gallery


  1. "Kings Dominion advert", The Bee (May 24, 1977), pp. 5. Retrieved on January 26, 2021.
  2. Thunder Looper - Alton Towers Almanac

External links

  • Katapul on the Roller Coaster DataBase.
Tallest roller coaster
tied with
White Lightnin'
Tidal Wave

1977 - 1978
Preceded by
Giant Coaster
Tallest roller coaster
tied with
White Lightnin'
Tidal Wave

1977 - 1978
Succeeded by
Montezooma's Revenge