A helix occurs when the roller coaster track winds uniformly, as in a corkscrew type shape. Riders are rotated 360° perpendicular to the track. The helix section of a roller coaster closely resembles a corkscrew tool used to remove corks from bottles. A banked upwards or downwards spiral, generally exceeding 360° is also referred to as a helix.
In the 1960s Arrow, who employed noted roller coaster designer Ron Toomer, introduced a successful product line of rides, such as the first log flume ride and the runaway mine train ride, which arrived in 1966 at Six Flags over Texas. Toomer, who designed some 80 rides for Arrow, worked on the company’s helix-shaped corkscrew coaster, which first appeared at Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park, California.) in 1975. Adding 360-degree rolls to the coaster design, the corkscrew was the first modern-day inversion element to be featured on a roller coaster. Rides named after the Corkscrew element were installed at both Flamingo Land Resort in North Yorkshire and Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire. You can still view the section of track which formed the two iconic corkscrew inversions after this section of track was saved when the ride at Alton Towers was dismantled and is now displayed at the main entrance.
The Corkscrew – Flamingo Land Resort
On ride video of the Corkscrew at Flamingo Land Resort which featured a Helix element.