More of a Thrill Ride than a Coaster, Too Bad the Thrills Are Short-Lived
In 2001, Kings Dominion already had more launch coasters than most parks in the world with Flight of Fear and Volcano The Blast Coaster. With the addition of a third launch coaster, Kings Dominion was a certified destination for coaster enthusiasts and thrill junkies. With a compressed air launch that takes riders from 0 to 80 mph in less than 2 seconds and a 90-degree vertical climb and descent, you would think that Kings Dominion would have a winner.
The first thing that I noticed as I approached Hypersonic was that Kings Dominion had just plopped the coaster down right over the walking paths. They definitely have the land to give this ride it’s own space, but for some reason they didn’t. Then, I saw how extremely short it was. RCDB doesn’t have a ride time for it, but its got to be 10 to 15 seconds or so. The ride consists of a great launch, a quick 90-degree climb, an immediate (and unsatisfying) 90-degree drop, and a banked turn. After that you hurdle into some loud brakes and then ease back into the station.
The drop may be 133′ tall and have a 90-degree angle, but I’ve felt more of a free fall feeling on the shorter woodies at the park. Hypersonic has a weird ultra-light and smooth feel. I wonder if ‘normal’ steel coaster cars would improve the drop. But with heavier cars, the super-fast launch probably wouldn’t possible.
Based on the launch and the intimidating looking hill, Hypersonic XLC is great for adrenaline junkies and the general public. To the true coaster enthusiasts who haven’t ridden it, you’re really not missing much. I should probably give Kings Dominion a pass because it is a first-of-its kind coaster. Prototypes seldom do anything more than demonstrate what’s possible. But I can’t excuse the terrible return on investment you get after waiting thirty minutes or more for such a short, unimpressive ride. The launch is fun, but that’s most likely all you’ll remember from your 10 second ride. Don’t blink! Final Rating – 6.0 (Slightly Above Average)
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Hypersonic XLC at Kings Dominion? Leave a comment below.