VALLEJO — Six Flags unveiled its newest ride, SkyScreamer, at an invited-guests-only event Wednesday that included a contingent from Travis Air Force Base.
The public can hop on Friday as the park begins daily operations.
SkyScreamer can hold 32 guests, sitting two each in open-air swings. The ride lasts about 2.5 minutes.
It stands 150 feet tall, which makes it the same height as the park’s tallest roller coaster, Medusa. Riders soar in a 98-foot circle, reaching speeds of up to 43 mph.
Among the first riders were a group of service members from Travis.
Staff Sgt. Kenneth Stoner called the view from the ride “breathtaking.” Airman 1st Class Timothy Gensure said the view is fantastic and that it’s a great family ride. It’s also a thrill ride “if you are afraid of heights,” he said. Staff Sgt. Sheron Moore said the new ride certainly beats “old school swings,” a though echoed by Stoner.
“We’ve come a long way from swings on the playgrounds,” he said.
Also in attendance were area members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Though it’s not a coaster, the group also likes to check out thrill rides, members said.
Coaster enthusiast Ray Harris of Modesto said he’d been on the 125-foot-tall swing at the California State Fair but was most impressed this with the extra 25 feet.
“It’s totally awesome,” Harris said after coming off the ride for the first time. “You feel the wind and you can see the coasters (in the park.) If you are half asleep, this ride will wake you up.”
A short time later, he was back in line to ride a second time.
Park president Dale Kaetzel told the crowd of about 50 that the new addition will “set this market on its ears.” Just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, he paraphrased Jimi Hendrix.
“Excuse me, we are about to touch the sky,” he said.
The SkyScreamer will be lit up at night with LED lights. The top of the tower reads Six Flags.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]