Coaster Review: Air

Another Alton Towers coaster; this time Air.

Air is a ‘flying’ coaster, which is the term for a coaster where the rider has a near horizontal seating position whilst riding, giving the impression of flying, like Superman.

I’ve only ridden this a couple of times before this visit, because for some strange coincidence it always seemed to be ‘off’ on my last couple of visits.

Rita Coaster Vital Statistics

  • Type of ride: Steel coaster
  • Top speed: 46 mph
  • Track length: 2,756 feet
  • Ride time: 90 seconds
  • Inversions: 2
  • Height requirement: 1.4m
  • Opened: 2002
  • Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard
  • Cost £12m

This ride gives the impression of being longer than the 1m30s or so it lasts, probably because of the variety of movement and the unusual riding style.

It’s a doozy though.

You get yourself into the seat, which initially feels not unlike Nemesis or other coasters that invert, in that you are securely held with an over-the-shoulder harness. The bit you don’t immediately notice are the ankle-clamps, a bit like you’d imagine the electric chair to have.

The reason for this becomes apparent when the ride prep starts and the chair rotates through 90 degrees, leaving the rider in a seated position but facing the ground – strange to say the least.

As is the norm, we find ourselves heading out of the station, almost under ground,  and up a chain lift to get some height. At the peak of the climb we head off with a short dip to the right and swoop down towards the ground.

As we come out of the dip we’re inverted by and now we’re flying on our back round a big sweeping curve. Then a twist out of there and a big outside swoop and into a barrel-roll to disorient us before a couple of dips towards the ground again.

Finally we go into another outside swoop, with a good view of the car-park, before heading back into the station with some brakes.

Verdict: Out of the ordinary and fab.

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