As you can tell from the title of this blog, the coaster in the spotlight today is a ride that has interested me and many others for quite some time. That coaster of course is Eagle Fortress, the legendary Arrow Suspended coaster that is unfortunately no longer with us. With that being the case, this blog post will be the first entry in the “What Was:” series on the website! Pretty cool right? Also have you noticed that all three entries up to this point have been all about terrain coasters? Spooky.
WHAT was: Eagle Fortress?
Anyway, let us dive into the facts of this unique ride. As stated prior, Eagle Fortress was an Arrow Dynamics Suspended coaster located at Everland in South Korea, the same park with T-Express. The ride opened to the public on September 8th 1992 and was the World’s longest suspended coaster at a total length of 975 m (3,200 ft.) at the time. It also became one of two suspended coasters to debut in Asia that year (alongside Tokyo Summerland Hayabusa opening just a few months prior). The coaster reached a maximum speed of 64 km/h (40 mph) and provided a ride that lasted approximately 50 seconds from lift to brakes. There were two trains, each with seven cars. Both of which were designed to resemble an eagle. Each car sat 2 rows of 2 allowing for a total of 28 riders per train. The restraint used for this ride was a simple ratcheting over the shoulder restraint, standard for coasters of the type.
Now, those stats don’t look very impressive, in fact, they are a bit underwhelming. So how can this ride be rated as one of the best roller coasters to ever operate? It came in as the number 2 best steel coaster in both 2008 and 2009’s Mitch Hawker polls. The answer is due to two key reasons. The layout and the terrain. Imagine if someone had taken Ninja at Six Flags Magic Mountain and married it to Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce. That’s precisely what Eagle Fortress was, a wild flight down the hillside. The ride area was filled to the brim with trees creating an even more thrilling ride experience. On top of this, the ride remained close to the ground, hugging the surface while rides are flung around the many banked turns.
THE RIDE EXPERIENCE
The layout mainly consisted of various banked turns, some of which were segmented to create helices or S-Bends. While those may sound boring for a normal ride, these are being used on a suspended coaster. The train whips riders all over the place, rapidly shifting from one side to another. To see the extreme nature of this ride, watch this pov! (Apologies for the quality, POV’s of this ride are hard to come by.)
All in all, Eagle Fortress stands as one of the most unique coasters to ever be constructed. Unfortunately, it soared for the last time in 2008, closing in 2009. The reason for this closure was never explicitly stated. But if we look at the demise of another Arrow Suspended coaster, Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, it is understandable why the ride closed. At this point in time, Arrow Dynamics had closed their doors and the ride was presumably becoming expensive to maintain. It stood until 2015 before being removed for good.
That brings this post to an end, but I hope you all enjoyed it! Here’s a question for you: Would you like to see more “What was:” posts come to the channel? And, most importantly, what is your opinion on Eagle Fortress?
Until next time,