Eric G

Published: November 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

"Not dissuaded by its initial failure, Kings Island opened Top Gun — another suspended roller coaster"

That's not correct. Kings Island did not revisit the suspended coaster immediately after "The Bat" failure as you imply.

Top Gun (aka Flight Deck, and now The Bat) opened in 1993, ten years after the original Bat closed. By that time Arrow had built eight other suspended coasters, the first two successful ones were XLR-8 at Astroworld and Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 1984. In fact, Top Gun was the last suspended coaster to ever be built by Arrow, but it and its sister coaster Vortex at Canada's Wonderland are the best ever.

I would also disagree that they are the father of the "inverted coaster". An inverted coaster by definition is very different from a suspended coaster. The only similarity is the position of the track above the cars. It's very important that the "inverted" and "suspended" types not be confused because they're distinctly different rides.

It's a shame you didn't touch on one of Arrow's biggest accomplishments the Mine Train coaster. In some ways it's their signature roller coaster and really kick started the demand for modern steel coasters.

Published: November 13, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Bud Hurlbut was actually the inventor of the log flume. He originally tried to do it on his own and do it for Walter Knott, but ran out of money. He worked with Arrow and Six Flags and finally got it to work. Then build the famous Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm. - Mark Eades

Published: November 13, 2013 at 10:59 PM

I actually really miss Arrow coasters and wish they were around to make more. I appreciate B & M for their smoothness..... but there is something less coaster like and cozy about sitting four across and sitting on something that is so big as B & M track in comparison to an arrow width track.

And mine trains are still my favorite form of roller coaster, so if arrow gets any credit for the creation of the majority of those..... then I am especially going to miss Arrow in the future. I guess that explains why you don't see many new mine trains coming out anymore (It's not exactly something you'd expect from B & M in their everything is so grand style of doing things).

Published: November 13, 2013 at 11:11 PM

I enjoyed your article. One of my all time favorite roller coasters.... as simple as it may seem now all these years later..... is still the Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds which is a Arrow that was one of the first coasters to have four inversions (yea, these days that seems like.... so what.....). There is something just organic (for lack of a better way to explain it) about that coaster to me. The coaster is fun to watch and it is a fun ride. It is also a great stepping stone coaster for those who may not be ready for the tallest, fastest, most looping whatever the new thing is (or like me, may never be ready for the tallest, fastest, or whatever because that is just not what they are looking for in their theme park entertainment). I hope it never goes away..... or other companies figure out how to make coasters in that style again..... Maybe with B & M's newer two across coaster style they will be able to take us back to those days while moving us forward at the same time.
Tom Rigg

Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:44 AM

I really enjoyed this retrospective on Arrow. As Busch Gardens Williamsburg is my home park, I have a fondness for Arrow coasters. While I know it isn't necessarily the biggest of their accomplishments, I wish you'd have mentioned the Loch Ness Monster in the article. It was Arrow's first interlocking loop coaster and it is the only one remaining. It's amazing that Nessy is still such a fun ride after 35 years!
Rob Pastor

Published: November 14, 2013 at 7:22 AM

Yes, Nessie is pure fun and is great for repeat rides.
Mike Gallagher

Published: November 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Love me some Nessie. It was either my second or third looping coaster upon my riding it its opening year, 1978. It remains my favorite ride at that park, and I never skip it on my visits.
Eric G

Published: November 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM - Wrong, wrong, wrong! Bud Hurlbut was not the inventor of the Log Flume. The first Log Flume was built in 1963 at Six Flags Over Texas, six years before Timber Mountain Log Ride opened at Knott's. Karl Bacon is credited with the invention, not Bud. Furthermore, while Bud Hurlbut came up with the concept and design for Knott's Log Ride, it was Arrow Dynamics that delivered the ride system.

Published: November 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Re: The Viper: "it's hard to think of a time when this was the pinnacle of the thrill ride experience"

Unfortunately, I don't know if that was ever true. Many at the time, myself included, thought it was just another stretched out Arrow looper. Sure the top of the loop was taller than any other, but it was the same loop Arrow had been using for 10 years. There was talk at the time if this was the fault of missing R&D at Arrow or the fault of Six Flags for ordering yet another coaster that could be built quick and cheap.

Arrow definitely revolutionized the modern American coaster and I am very sad they are no longer around. As others have mentioned, beyond the original corkscrew, there are probably better things to remind us of Arrows achievements.

Jaiden Cohen

Published: November 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I have rode arrow coasters, but I'm not a fan of them. I've always liked B&Ms better.