On a wing coaster, the seats of the ride are located on either side of the track meaning that riders are completely suspended in mid-air with nothing above or below them.
History of the Wing Coaster
Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) commenced development of the Wing Coaster in 2008 and the first prototype Wing Coaster named Raptor opened in 2011 at Gardaland in Italy. Merlin Entertainments who own Gardaland opened a second Wing coaster named The Swarm at Thorpe Park, another of their Theme Parks in 2012.
Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) quoted “Nothing above, nothing below. An unprecedented feeling of freedom.”
the Swiss roller coaster manufacturers Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) were also the pioneers of the inverted coaster.
Wing Coaster Design
The design of a Wing Coaster differs from many traditional steel roller coasters in that its seats are not located above or below the track but rather on either side. This seating configuration gives riders the impression of free flight. With Wing Coasters, nothing sits on the top of the roller coaster track apart from the wheels which the seats are connected to. To add to the experience Wing Coaster trains are themed hiding the structure which connects the wheels to the seats. The train on The Swarm at Thorpe Park is themed as an Alien plucking humans off the ground and carrying them into the skies.
One of the key differences of a wing coaster over a traditional roller coaster is that the queue is split into two halves, one for the seats on the left-hand side of the track and one for the seats on the right-hand side.
4th Dimension Coaster
A similar type of roller coaster to a Wing Coaster is a 4th Dimension roller coaster. This style of roller coaster also has seats either side of the track. The main difference between a Wing Coaster and a 4th dimension coaster is that on a Wing Coaster the seats are fixed whereas on a 4th dimension coaster they can rotate 360 degrees.