Battlestar Galactica may re-open this year: 8 of the world's best roller coaster rides

The Battlestar Galactica roller coaster at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) may be able to re-open by the end of this year after it was closed in July last year for an "attraction review". -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Battlestar Galactica roller coaster at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) may be able to re-open by the end of this year after it was closed in July last year for an "attraction review". -- PHOTO: ST FILE

The Battlestar Galactica roller coaster at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) may be able to re-open by the end of this year after it was closed in July last year for an "attraction review". No details, however, have been given on why it has been unavailable for more than a year.

With the USS' star attraction - also billed the tallest duelling roller coaster in the world - on its way to a much-awaited reboot, we look at some of the most exhilarating roller coaster rides in the world.

1. KINGDA KA

-- PHOTO: KINGDAKA.NET

Also known as: World's tallest roller coaster

Where: Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, United States

What: At a dizzying 456 feet (139m), this is the world's tallest roller coaster, and second fastest.

It opened in 2005, and has held its records despite facing several incidents, including being buffeted by natural elements.

The ride had to be closed for two months in 2005 barely a month after its opening, after a bolt failure led to the train being unable to accelerate to its correct speed.

In May 2009, Kingda Ka was struck by lightning and had to be closed for three months. Two years later, it had to close because of an approaching hurricane, Hurricane Irene. Six Flags park administrators reportedly announced that the ride would remain closed until local weather conditions were safe. It re-opened in 2012.

2. FORMULA ROSSA

-- PHOTO:  FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI

Also known as: World's fastest roller coaster

Where: Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, UAE

What: With an ability to accelerate up to 240kmh in 4.9 seconds, Formula Rossa is the world's fastest roller coaster.

It opened in 2010, and has accommodated celebrity passengers in its seats, such as Ferrari's Formula One drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Passengers must wear safety goggles for the ride's duration, supposedly because of the ride's Grand Prix speeds.

3. STEEL DRAGON 2000

-- PHOTO: HHAPPY

Also known as: World's longest roller coaster

Where: Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, Japan

What: Opened in 2000, this remains the record-holder for the longest roller coaster in the world, at 8,133 feet (2,479m). This ride is also the second fastest roller coaster in Japan and the sixth fastest roller coaster in the world.

There has only been one reported incident involving Steel Dragon, which saw two people being hurt. In 2003, a broken axle led to a wheel coming loose from one of the ride's carriages. The 32cm wheel ended up striking one person in the back, and another in the hip.

The ride only re-opened in 2006.

4. T EXPRESS

-- PHOTO: THEMEPARKREVIEW.COM

Also known as: One of the world's steepest wooden roller coasters

Where: Everland Resort in Yongin, South Korea

What: Wooden roller coasters are seen as less thrilling than steel ones, but T Express held the world record for being the world's steepest for its 77-degree angle, from the time of its opening in March 2008 to March 2013.

It still remains one of the steepest wooden roller coasters in the world, and it is also the first wooden coaster in South Korea. It was the first ride of its type in Asia, and the first to utilise three trains. All these statistics are significant, as they show how it holds its own in a field that is dominated by Western countries.

5. COLOSSOS 

-- PHOTO: HEIDE PARK RESORT

Also known as: World's tallest wooden roller coaster

Where: Heide Park, Soltau, Germany

What: The Colossos towers at 60m and is the world's tallest wooden roller coaster. It opened in 2001, and is said to be the first wooden coaster utilising a pre-fabricated track. This means the tracks are laser-cut in a factory, in order to achieve a high degree of precision.

Apart from its height, it is worthwhile noting that the Colossus also has a pretty intense drop of 159 feet. The ride is also longer than most others, at close to 2.5 minutes long.

6. TAKABISHA

-- PHOTO: WWW.FUJIQ.JP

Also known as: World's steepest steel roller coaster

Where: Fuji-Q Highland amusement park, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan

What: Billed the world's steepest steel roller coaster ride, it has a stomach-churning 121-degree, freefall 141-feet drop.

The ride, which opened in July 2011, is not without other thrills. The adventure begins in pitch-black darkness, and even after the spine-tingling drop towards the end, riders are left holding their breaths with three other exciting loops before the ride comes to a complete stop.

7. FULL THROTTLE

    -- SCREENGRAB FROM VIDEO ON WWW.SIXFLAGS.COM

Also known as: World's tallest vertical loop

Where: Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park in California, the United States

What: Opened last June, this roller coaster has the world's tallest vertical loop, at 160 feet (about 49m) high.

Riders are launched out of the station from zero to close to 70 miles per hour in less than five seconds, and are taken around the inside of the world-record loop for the first time. After a few more thrilling curves, drops, and even a backward launch from a tunnel, riders are then launched for the final time towards the outside of the "top hat" part of the world-record loop, which gives them a great aerial view of the amusement park.

8. THE SMILER

-- PHOTO: THE-SMILER.COM

Also known as: World record holder for most number of inversions

Where: Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire, the United Kingdom

What: With 14 loops, it hold the Guinness World Record for the most number of inversions in a roller coaster. Riders are turned upside down at speeds of up to 85kmh, and the highest drop is at 30m.

The ride opened last year on May 31, following delays and technical issues. During its preview event for media and celebrities on May 18, the roller coaster became stuck within seconds of the ride and passengers were left in their seats for an hour before they were evacuated.

Even after its official opening, there were other ride incidents. One occurred last July, after a 12-inch metal bolt from the track fell out and caused two sections of track to partially disengage, leaving a small gap in the track. The 48 passengers on that ride were safely evacuated and the ride was closed. About a week later, the ride was out of action again, this time because cracks were found around the base of a giant metal support.

On a positive note, no further breakdowns have been reported since last November.

brynasim@sph.com.sg