Fly over the ravine and across Pennsylvania Route 832...
|Opened||17 May 2008|
|Manufacturer||The Gravity Group|
|Max Speed||57 mph|
|Designer||Charlie Dinn/Dinn Corporation (original designs)|
Custom Coasters International (CCI) (refinements)
The Gravity Group (final designs)
|Trains||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters|
Not many rollercoasters go outside of their park boundaries, and fewer still do that crossing a public highway. But that is exactly the trick which Waldameer’s Ravine Flyer II pulls, decades after the original Ravine Flyer did the same.
The wooden rollercoaster from The Gravity Group crosses Pennsylvania Route 832, known in the area as Peninsula Drive, by way of a large bridge constructed especially for the purpose. When it opened Amusement Today magazine declared it the best new ride of 2008, and since then it has consistently ranked as one of the top wooden rollercoasters in the world.
Waldameer’s original Ravine Flyer, designed by John Miller, operated at the park between 1922 and 1938 and crossed Peninsula Drive at the same location. Sadly a fatal accident upset L Ruth, wife of park owner at the time Alex Moeller, so much that it was immediately removed. The coaster’s original station was converted into a picnic pavilion which is still at the park, close to the current ride’s station building.
Contemporary park CEO Paul Nelson had dreamt for years of replacing the legendary woodie, and the final plan to bring it back was over fifteen years in the making. Originally, Charlie Dinn was chosen to build the ride, but sadly Dinn Corporation went out of business before the plans could be realised. A deposit was placed with Custom Coasters International in 1993, but sadly they too went bankrupt, and the contract moved to The Gravity Group who finally built the coaster following planning and development complications including a land swap with the State of Pennsylvania.
After leaving Ravine Flyer II’s airy wooden station, the ride’s PTC trains climb the 83ft lift hill. There are spectacular views over Lake Erie, and Canada can even be glimpsed on a clear day. Only momentarily of course, before the cars plunge down a 118ft drop, turning sharply right as they reach the top speed of 57mph.
At this point, the trains cross the four-lane state highway by means of a 165ft long steel bridge built over Peninsula Drive. Much of the journey across the road is through a mesh tunnel to prevent objects flying out of the train and damaging passing cars.
Following a climb into the turnaround section, trains drop down again for the return crossing over the bridge and back into the main park. Emerging from the second of two tunnels, they complete the rest of the airtime filled circuit which includes multiple bunny hops and a large 90° overbanked turn, before slowing on the final brakes and returning to the station.
In Ravine Flyer II, a classic coaster is reborn, perhaps one even more spectacular than the legendary original. It is almost infinitely re-ridable, the excitement failing to diminish after multiple re-rides. A unique ride in a unique location, it is one man’s dream that has really paid off.
Ravine Flyer II entrance
Ride information board
A Ravine Flyer II train in the station
Leaving the station
Top of the lift
Track and overbanked turn
Returning to the station
Historical information from Western New York Coaster Club
Lift hill and Lake Erie from the ferris wheel
Bridge over Peninsula Drive
Part of the turnaround section from across the highway
Ravine Flyer II and Lake Erie
The lift hill dominates Waldameer's North End
The Lakeview Grove picnic shelter was the original Ravine Flyer's station
Inside the former Ravine Flyer station
Ravine Flyer II's entrance at night
Night time in the station
Ravine Flyer II after dark