Take a flight into space with Galactica Tours through the magic of virtual reality, soaring amongst the stars, through worm holes and visiting distant planets.
|Theme Park||Alton Towers|
|Park Area||Forbidden Valley|
|Opened||16 March 2002 (as Air)|
24 March 2016 (Galactica retheme)
|Manufacturer||Bolliger & Mabillard|
|Max Speed||47 mph|
|Designer||John Wardley (Air)|
|Virtual Reality||Figment Productions|
|Codename||Secret Weapon 5 (SW5)|
Galactica takes riders on a journey into outer space, using virtual reality headsets to give the impression they are flying through the galaxy onboard a spaceship from Galactica Tours, a futuristic space tourism company.
The ride originally opened as Air, the world's first flying rollercoaster from Bolliger & Mabillard in 2002. By positioning riders lying face down underneath the track, it attempts to give the feeling of flight.
The original ride theme was a fairly abstract floaty new-age well-being flying-through-clouds type thing, which provided a marked contrast from the dark destruction around Nemesis further up the Forbidden Valley area.
For 2016, Air was rethemed as Galactica. The main change was adding virtual reality headsets to each seat, but there was also new theming added to the ride station together with the addition of a massive space 'portal' element which trains fly through at the bottom of the first drop. To celebrate the retheme, Alton Towers' 2016 Fireworks Event took on a Galactica-based storyline.
Air was a prototype and, as the first of its kind, lacks some of the elements and general excitement of other B&M Flyers that have come since, but it does give a nice gentle swooping ride. Adding VR doesn't actually add much to the ride experience, but luckily Alton Towers have devised a much better system for riders to put on the VR headsets than on other retro-fitted VR coasters such as those that have invaded Six Flags parks, meaning dispatch times aren't slowed down too much. Riders also have the option of experiencing the rollercoaster without VR ... something I would recommend.