V2: Vertical Velocity (Six Flags Great America)

V2: Vertical Velocity

(Review and Photo Credit: Ember)

 

This wild ride is easy to spot; just follow your feet to those two thin, yellow, vertical spires piercing the sky (one straight, one twisted). Once you’re through the line and you’ve picked the seat row you want, you’ll be able to take in plenty of this ride— probably much more than you want to — because each trainload makes two trips up the straight rear tower and three trips up the twisted front.

As you edge closer and closer in line with each load, you begin to hear the mingled roar and screams of the train and its passengers cruising forward and backward through the station. But when you’re at the gate waiting to be let on to the next trainload— then the wall of noise really pounds you… along with a hugely powerful blast of wind.

After you hop into the ski-lift style seats and lock down the harness, the ride’s Linear Induction Motor power system (a way of electromagnetically propelling coaster trains) begins to hum— and then it’s blastoff time!

 

The train shoots forward, hitting 70mph in four seconds. It’s your first time up the front tower, and although you go partway up, it’s nothing compared to the third and last. Gravity pulls you to a stop, and then you sail backward through the station, getting another LIM push. Your train gets halfway up the back tower before slowing to a halt and then falling 90 degrees straight down. Back into the station and getting another push, your train soars up the front tower for a second time and reaches more than halfway up, twisting more heavily as a result. Crawling to a halt, you then fly back through the station and get your final backward push, climbing all the way up the rear tower… and just as the train stops and is about to fall forward, brakes suddenly lock on, leaving you staring at the ground (which is very far below, if you’re sitting in the back row) for a breathless second or two.

…Then it lets go, and you rocket straight down the tower and back through the station, getting the last forward push. And this is where it gets really freaky for those who are sitting in the front row; because this time, as with the previous trip up the rear tower, the train goes up all the way… and the image of the far-too-rapidly-approaching end of the track— the train stopping only a precious few feet from it— is mind-bending. After this close encounter with the top of the spire, the train falls back for the last time, the LIM-current braking slows the train easily and smoothly, and that’s it.

 

Before riding, I had thought that flying backwards at high speed would be weird, but actually it wasn’t weird at all. What gets you are the 90-degree vertical drops down the back tower, and— if you’re in the front row— the last trip up the front. What’s also interesting is that V2: Vertical Velocity was probably the smoothest coaster I’ve been on so far. In all, it’s quite a good ride.

Our rating for V2: Vertical Velocity: 4 & 1/2 Stars. 4 & 1/2 Stars

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