Volcano The Blast Coaster

Roller coaster in the United States
Watch the on-ride POV
Volcano: The Blast Coaster
The sign and ride
Kings Dominion
Location Doswell, Virginia, USA
Coordinates 37°50′22″N 77°26′24″W / 37.839380°N 77.440127°W / 37.839380; -77.440127
Status Defunct
Operated August 3, 1998 to 2018
Cost $20,000,000
Replaced Smurf Mountain
Haunted River
Statistics
Manufacturer Intamin
Product Suspended Catapult Coaster
Designer / calculations Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH
Type Steel - Launched - Inverted
Riders per train 16
Propulsion 2 LIM launches
Height 155 feet
Drop 80 feet
Top speed 70 mph
Length 2757 feet
Inversions 4
Drop angle 90°
Duration 1:10
HELP

Volcano: The Blast Coaster was an Intamin launched inverted roller coaster located at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, USA. Opened on August 3, 1998, it was the first launched inverted roller coaster and the only one to complete a full circuit until the opening of Battlestar Galactica at Universal Studios Singapore in 2010. It was the fastest inverted coaster when it first opened, as well as having the world's tallest inversion. The ride was located in the Safari Village section of the park. It was also the only Suspended Catapult Coaster by Intamin.[1][2]

History

An overview of the ride

Kings Dominion opened The Lost World, a series of attractions in a faux mountain, in 1979. The structure included rides like Smurf Mountain and the Haunted River log flume.

The mountain was reportedly to be used for a new attraction based on the 1995 film Congo, but these plans fell through after the film underperformed at the box office.[2] Kings Dominion also received a proposal from Japanese firm Togo for a roller coaster inside the mountain structure, but opted to go with a different concept.[3] Starting in the fall of 1996, all three attractions inside and around the volcano were removed to make way for the ride. Kings Dominion began teasing the attraction.[4]

On July 22, 1997, Kings Dominion announced that they would be adding Volcano: The Blast Coaster. It would be a prototype Suspended Catapult Coaster by Intamin.[5]

As part of development, all traces of the attraction's predecessors were removed. In order to build the ride, several holes were added to the mountain. The mountain was gutted on the inside and the summit was lopped off. The opening was then modified to allow a train to pass through. Part of Haunted River's flume was left next to the ride's post-ride gift shop, at the base of the volcano.

The entrance archway and test seat

Following multiple delays, the attraction soft opened on August 1, 1998.[6] Volcano: The Blast Coaster would open to the public two days later on August 3, 1998.[1] Although the ride's trains were intended to seat sixteen riders, it only operated with eight seats during its first season.[7]

The attraction did not have an LIM boost during its first year of operation. This resulted in the coaster experiencing frequent rollbacks. During the 1998-1999 off-season, the ride was upgraded with a second launch between the roll out and first turn. The trains were also upgraded to operate at full capacity.

Volcano: The Blast Coaster was the only Suspended Catapult Coaster ever built. At opening, it was marketed as the world's fastest inverted coaster and the fastest launching coaster in North America. It reportedly also featured the world's highest inversion, a 16-story roll out that looped out of the volcano's crater.

For the 2002 season, the yellow restraints were replaced with black ones.

In 2014, the queue line was updated with a new loading station.[8][9] At that point, riders passed through the old separate loading station.[10]

Volcano: The Blast Coaster only operated for a few weeks during the 2018 season before closing in July. On February 8, 2019, Kings Dominion announced that the ride would no longer be in operation.[11] The ride and its mountain were fully demolished by June 2019. A section of track, a car, and signage was donated to the National Roller Coaster Museum.[12]

Design

Volcano The Blast Coaster in 2002
Elements

Station

Volcano The Blast Coaster's station initially had separate areas for loading and unloading. In 2014, the boarding procedure was changed to a single station.[8]

Ride experience

Volcano used a first-of-its-kind launch system to propel the train to 70 mph in just seconds. The loading station was housed inside the mountain, in an almost cave-like structure. After departing the loading station, riders made a 90 degree turn and approached the LIM launch, where the train launched from 0-70 mph 3.7 seconds. The coaster made a broad, sweeping, 200 degree turn to the left before reentering the volcano and being boosted by another LIM launch, accelerating the train from 40 mph-65 mph in 1.5 seconds. The second launch would lead directly into a 155 foot tall roll out. The coaster turned left and entered a series of banked curves and three heartline rolls, the first being 140 feet, the second being 125 feet and the third being 113 feet, meant to reduce monotony, before dropping 80 feet into the mountain and hitting the brakes.

Color scheme

Volcano: The Blast Coaster had a yellow track and maroon supports.

Trains

3 trains with 4 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows, for a total of 16 riders per train. Riders were held in by over-the-shoulder restraints.

Incident

On June 23, 2006, a train rolled back down the track, and the riders were hit with shards of metal that flew as one of the launch systems was badly damaged. Fifteen riders had to be rescued and two were injured, one suffering a contusion in his arm and a cracked skull. The injured ones were later taken to the hospital. It was determined that the train that had passed before the hit one had loosened some of the steel that held the launch track in place, and when the second train passed, it dislodged a fragment of the launch, sending metal shards hurling at guests. Volcano remained closed for three weeks after the incident before returning to operation on the grounds that the incident was the result of human error and not faulty equipment.[13]

Facts

  • During operation, eruption sound effects, timed to coincide with the inversion out of the volcano's summit, played in the queue. A fire effect on the mountain also was added during the ride's early years.
  • Volcano: The Blast Coaster serviced around 18-20 million riders during its lifetime.
  • The fire that erupted from the mountain top would occasionally, if conditions were right, produce hovering smoke rings that would instigate UFO sightings. This caused the ride to be featured on the news. Similar rings have been observed above other coasters to use flamethrowers, like Medusa at Six Flags Great Adventure.[citation needed]
  • After the ride closed, Kings Dominion gave fans permission to turn the former entrance into a memorial for the ride.[14]
  • The gift shop is one of the only remnants from Volcano: The Blast Coaster.
  • Volcano: The Blast Coaster only appeared during the Winterfest event in 2018. However, the ride did not operate at all due to its mechanical flaws.
  • Contrary to common belief, Volcano: The Blast Coaster was not the only full-circuit inverted launch coaster. Battlestar Galactica at Universal Studios Singapore is a dueling coaster with a launched inverted and launched sit-down side, both complete-circuit. The same is true of Dueling Dragons, another Intamin build. Both inverted sides use LSM launches instead of LIM launches, however.

Images

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Volcano - The Blast Coaster". ThrillRide!.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Volcano Blast Coaster - COASTER-net".
  3. Brumfield, Dale (2015-04-27). "Part 15: Kings Dominion's Shockwave: "You can now loop the loop in a standing posture!" UPDATED:". Theme Park Babylon. Retrieved 2023-03-26.
  4. "The Closed History of Volcano: The Blast Coaster - Kings Dominion (Expedition Theme Park)". YouTube. Expedition Theme Park. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  5. "Volcano the blast coaster at Paramounts Kings Dominion News announcement from 1997". YouTube. Coaster Jeff. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  6. "VOLCANO OPENS WITH RAVE REVIEWS".
  7. "Volcano The Blast Coaster construction in 1998 and opening with 8 seats- Paramount's Kings Dominion". YouTube. Coaster Jeff. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Exclusive #KD40 Celebration Preview Day". March 31, 2014.
  9. "Opening Day Photo Update". April 6, 2014.
  10. "Volcano Updated Queue & Operations for 2014". YouTube. In The Loop. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  11. "Park Update". Kings Dominion.
  12. Ringas, Elizabeth (September 17, 2019). "Volcano Arrives at National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives". American Coaster Enthusiasts. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  13. "Launch failure on Kings Dominion's Volcano strands 15, hurts 2".
  14. "Theme Park Review - Photo TR: Opening Day at Kings Dominion".

External links

The category Volcano The Blast Coaster contains additional media.
Highest inversion on a roller coaster
August 3, 1998 – May 10, 2013
Preceded by
Mr. Freeze
Highest inversion on a roller coaster
August 3, 1998 – May 10, 2013
Succeeded by
GateKeeper
Fastest inverted roller coaster
August 3, 1998 – May 5, 2002
Preceded by
Alpengeist
Fastest inverted roller coaster
August 3, 1998 – May 5, 2002
Succeeded by
Wicked Twister


Articles on Kings Dominion