'Flight of Fear' launches again at Kings Dominion

Ride reopens after quiet refurbishing (updated 8/18)

August 18, 2006 - Devin Olson

Paramount's Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA, USA -

© Brad Ruwe
Back on Track: After nearly two months of refurbishing, the ride has reopened as shiny as new - if not for its the darkness-enshrouded setting.
Mid-Atlantic coaster fans can officially rejoice as one of their favorite rides makes its triumphant return.

The unpopular closure of Flight of Fear at Paramount's Kings Dominion came to an end today as the park relaunched its monumental 10-year-old launched coaster.

Kings Dominion confirmed the redebut of its oldest remaining steel launched coaster and first ride of its type in the world, then reopened the ride today. Thus, the Doswell, Virginia theme park has become the first park to ever operate four launched coasters at once.

When the theme park debuted its fourth launched ride at the start of the season, Italian Job Turbo Coaster, it decided to shut down Flight of Fear for budget reasons. The call was made due to the expense of powering three rides using electromagnet Linear Induction Motors. The rides consume so much electricity, in fact, that each attraction operates on a separate power grid. Another factor contributing to the decision was the ride's rigorous maintenance required.

Then, along came new Paramount Parks owners Cedar Fair, who completed a purchase of the chain on June 30. One of the first decisions said to have been made by Cedar Fair was to work with the park towards a swift redebut for Flight of Fear, and work towards that goal began in July. After that, the coaster was thoroughly cleaned, with cosmetics inside its building replaced.

© Devin Olson
Fenced No More: The fence that blocked 'Flight of Fear' was removed and guests once more got a chance to experience the ride.
Finally, the ride was recertified by the state of Virginia following weeks of prior ride testing.

During the secrecy-shrouded closure, popular rumors circulating included an unconfirmed report that the park was considering retheming Flight of Fear into MTV Soundwave, a concept presented on a Paramount Parks survey last year. Other rumors claimed that Flight of Fear would find itself at one of the three sister parks that lack similar rides.

The coaster originally opened on June 18, 1996 as one of two rides to utilize Linear Induction Motors for the first time, the other being a clone at Paramount's Kings Island in Ohio. In 2001, it received improved trains that eliminated discomfort during the 54-mph experience.

A classic is back, and thrill-seekers hope that it's here to stay for good this time.

Updated 8/18/06.

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