Kings Island begins testing Banshee

MASON -- It's alive!

After months of construction, Kings Island has started testing its newest scream machine: Banshee.

Video released from park officials (watch above) shows one of the roller coaster's three trains climbing the 167-foot tall lift hill and diving through a massive loop in its first test run on Saturday.

Measuring in at 4,124 feet long, Banshee will be unleashed as the world's longest inverted roller coaster.

An inverted coaster (like Raptor at Cedar Point) is one where the riders are suspended below the track with their feet dangling freely.

See an off-ride animation of what Banshee will be like:

Banshee will scream through seven inversions and reach speeds up to 68 mph throughout its 160-second journey.

After plunging down 150 feet, riders will go through a dive loop, followed by a vertical loop, zero gravity roller, two batwing inversions, a second vertical loop and a 170-foot long heartline finale.

Two of the most unique features about Banshee are the massive size of every loop, and unlike other roller coasters, the top speed isn't reached until halfway through the ride's course.

Since Banshee's lift hill is on a higher elevation of terrain than the other side of the ride that goes down into a valley, the total elevation change is 208 feet from the highest point at the top of the lift hill to the lowest point, which is the bottom of the batwing between loops four and five.

Passengers will be seated in cars four across. A total of three trains, each containing eight cars, will enable Banshee to accommodate approximately 1,650 riders per hour.

Banshee will be the 15th roller coaster at Kings Island, which is home to some of the top-ranked roller coasters in annual industry and enthusiast polls including the Beast and Diamondback.

It marks the first new roller coaster to be introduced at Kings Island since the park unleashed Diamondback in 2009.

In 1995, Cedar Point announced a stand-up roller coaster named Banshee, but quickly changed its moniker to "Mantis" after complaints that "Banshee" carried negative connotations.

This video rendering offers a front-side ride:

Bolliger and Mabillard of Switzerland is the company behind Banshee's design. It's the same company that also created GateKeeper, which debuted last year at Cedar Point in Sandusky.

In addition, Banshee -- which is the largest investment in Kings Island's 41-year history at $24 million -- will feature several unique elements that distinguish the ride from others.

It took a total of 160 days to erect the ride after the first piece of track was delivered to the park on Aug. 16, 2013.

Banshee takes up the land formerly held by the Son of Best wooden roller coaster, which was demolished after sitting dormant for years.

Video of how Kings Island announced Banshee:

Thrillseekers can get their first screams on Banshee when Kings Island opens for the 2014 season on April 18.


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