Less than one month away from the launch of Britain’s most extreme new rollercoaster, officials today took drastic measures by drafting in the experts, ex Red Arrows and RAF Fighter pilots, to test ride THE SWARM, Europe’s tallest winged rollercoaster opening at THORPE PARK on 15th March 2012. Having hit the headlines recently, when crash test dummies were left alarmingly damaged, with some even missing limbs due to the extreme ‘near misses’ of the ride, the Park was leaving nothing to chance this time.
The pilots, who together form The Blades – an aerobatic display team, are the experts in extreme flight and ‘near miss’ flying. But even they put their nerves of steel to the acid test today, by being the first ever human beings to ride the controversial new rollercoaster. With a monster rollercoaster such as THE SWARM, the level of precision and planning involved is quite literally a matter of life and death, and ride-testing is orchestrated by world-class industry experts to ensure there is absolutely zero margin for error once the ride opens to the public.
As Europe’s tallest winged rollercoaster and the first of its kind in the UK, riders of THE SWARM are left completely exposed with nothing above or below them as they are hurtled through the air at death-defying speeds of almost 100km per hour. Built on its own island, the ride features a unique 127ft head-first inverted drop straight under the wing of a genuine plane wreckage and gut-wrenching near-misses that will take riders terrifyingly close to a flaming fire truck, rotating helicopter blades and the walls of a life-size church.
Team Leader of The Blades, Mark Cutmore, Blade 1, said: “I am a self-confessed adrenaline junkie but even as a pilot used to G-force there were some gut-wrenching moments, and I have to admit the near miss element is eye-watering – you really do feel as if you are going to crash into the structures.”
Mike Vallis, Divisional Director at THORPE PARK said: “Such an extreme ride obviously demands extreme testing procedures and we are thrilled that The Blades were brave enough to take on the challenge of being the first humans to test ride THE SWARM – and judging by their reaction, I am certain this ride will provide our thrill-seeking customers with the adrenalin fuelled experience that they have come to expect from us.”
(c) Thorpe Park