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Skyrush Roller Coaster

Preview of the New Ride Debuting in 2012 at Hersheypark in Pennsylvania

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Skyrush Roller Coaster

Skyrush rushes towards the sky as it climbs its 200-foot lift hill.

Hersheypark, 2011.
Updated November 23, 2011
Hersheypark has a sweet collection of coasters, but its lineup doesn't include a staple found at most other major parks: a hypercoaster. That oversight will be rectified in 2012 when it opens its 12th thrill machine (number 12 in '12, how appropriate), Skyrush.

At 200 feet, riders will indeed rush the sky. But with a cable mechanism yanking the trains up the lift hill at a brisk 26 feet per second, passengers won’t have much time to contemplate the sky. Instead, they'll likely be focused on the rush they will experience as the ride races down its 85-degree drop and soars through its airtime-inducing maneuvers. Skyrush is one of an impressive batch of new coasters opening in 2012.

Skyrush Coaster Stats

  • Location: Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • Type of coaster: Hypercoaster.
  • Height: 200 feet
  • Top speed: 75 mph
  • Angle of descent: 85 degrees
  • Ride time: 1:03

See Skyrush

Excuse Me, While I Rush the Sky

Perhaps the most unique feature of the new coaster will be its "winged" seats. Each car will contain four seats across. The two in the middle will be relatively standard, but the two outer seats will be positioned slightly behind and will be cantilevered on either side of the track. With no floor beneath the outer seats (unlike a floorless coaster, the cars will have floors under the inside seats), passengers will be especially exposed and will tackle the ride with their feet dangling. I imagine there will be some jockeying in the loading station among thrill-seekers for the coveted end seats.

Thanks to gaps in the rows of seats between cars, all riders will have relatively unobtrusive views--all the better to see the sky rushing at them as the trains quickly ascend the lift hill at a steep 50 degrees. Speaking of steep, looming on the other side of the 200-foot hill -- with no turn or any other hesitation -- is an 85-degree drop. That's a mere five degrees less than straight down, mind you.

That will be enough to get Skyrush cranking up to 75 mph. Coming down the first drop, the trains will bank slightly and then rocket up into what appears will be an airtime-filled second hill. It will then swoop down and cross over the park's Spring Creek for the first time.

Will It Be Smooth?

The rest of the ride will feature more graceful maneuvers that will send passengers tearing over Comet, Hersheypark's wonderful wooden coaster, and back and forth above Spring Creek. Like most hypercoasters, Skyrush is designed mostly for speed and airtime. There are no inversions, and the track is only moderately banked. If it follows the lead of the best hypercoasters, the new ride should also be quite smooth as well. (With an announced budget of an eye-popping $25 million, my guess is that Hersheypark would not look too kindly at ride manufacturer Intamin if it delivered anything less than a glass-smooth coaster.)

Clocking in at a mere 63 seconds -- part of the reason it will be relatively short is because its cable lift will be much quicker than a traditional chain lift -- Skyrush looks to nonetheless offer a dramatic, captivating ride. It should be a welcome addition to Hersheypark's skyline and its thrill ride arsenal.

In addition to the new coaster, the park will be extensively renovating the area around the ride, which is known as Comet Hollow. Melding the new with the old, something that the classic, circa-1907 park knows a thing or two about, the midway will get retro globe streetlamps along with plenty of landscaping flourishes. Despite Skyrush's sleek and decidedly 21st-century profile, its station house will hark back to turn-of-the-(last) century train depots,

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