Take a Spin on the Best Roller Coaster in the Carolinas
Due to popular demand, I’m finally getting around to writing my full review of Afterburn; an underrated inverted roller coaster at Carowinds (Charlotte, NC). It was formerly Top Gun: The Jet Coaster until the 2008 season. The movie theming had to go when Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair. It’s too bad because the ride’s Top Gun theme really added to the experience. I’ll never forget jamming to the Top Gun movie soundtrack in the queue. I wasn’t jamming for too long as the ride’s capacity was spectacular. With two trains that can hold 32 riders each, the line moved quickly.
After boarding the ski-lift style inverted trains, Afterburn lifts riders to its 113′ tall peak. Then, in textbook Bolliger & Mabillard fashion, the train dips into a swooping first drop. The train picks up speed at a rapid pace and before you know it, you’re back in the air for a large vertical loop. The train finishes the loop then races along the ground for a moment. Next up, is a smooth Immelmann. It’s a fitting inversion as it’s named after a real fighter jet maneuver. Heading back towards the lift hill the train traverses a sweet zero-g roll (AKA heartline spin). It’s many enthusiasts favorite inversion and always especially fun on an inverted coaster.
For me, Afterburn’s highlight is the batwing inversion. It’s similar to the cobra roll found on the park’s new Carolina Cobra, only it’s upside-down. So on Afterburn, the train dives and inverts downward into a ravine. Montu has a batwing as well, but in the entire coaster world they are not very common. After the subterannean dive and twisting return to the surface, the train swings over pathways and spirals through the final loop; a corkscrew. Your journey ends with a wide, banked helix and then the station brakes.
What Makes Afterburn So Good
As with the best roller coasters, Afterburns pacing and order of inversions is near perfect. They’re not too close together. There’s no wasted areas where you find yourself just waiting for something to happen. And most importantly there’s no break in the action due to a brake run. It’s also super smooth like most B&M coasters and encourage re-rides with its quick moving line. Afterburn is an excellent roller coaster that pretty much maxes out the potential of a what an inverted roller coaster can be. It’s a can’t miss coaster if you’re ever in the Carolinas. Final Rating – 9.0 (Excellent)
Afterburn is rated TH for Thrilling. You better be a somewhat of a brave rider to attempt this one. It’s tall, fast, and turns you upside-down six times. Thrilling roller coasters are a 3 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale. See the full scale here.
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Afterburn at Carowinds? Leave a comment below.