Why Launch Coasters Are The Best Coaster Type

On forums and in general theme park enthusiast chit chat you'll often see the question thrown up asking what your favourite manufacturer is, but it's a questions I've always found difficult to answer because in my opinion no manufacturer really nails it across the board. B&M inverts are excellent but their wing coasters can be hit and miss, an Intamin Blitz is incredible a Zacspin might turn your stomach and Vekoma...well they're all over the place really let's be real. BUT, when it comes to coaster type I've found that there's a LOT more consistency in terms of what I love and what I hate. And when it gets down to it and I really think about what my favourite coaster type is I barely have to take a second to consider my answer - undoubtedly it's the launch coaster. 

Now yes, there are MANY different variations of how a launch is integrated into the general coaster layout and what purpose it serves. It can be the entire focus of the attraction where the entire experience is geared around delivering one cheek wobbling shot of adrenaline as you hurtle right out of the station like Top Thrill Dragster or Stealth; it can be a means to kickstart your coaster experience in lieu of a lift-hill but doesn't entirely have to be the focus of the entire ride like Flight of Fear or Formula Rossa and it can even (and these are probably my favourite kind) kick in over and over again as a means to add a little boost of adrenaline throughout the layout as you're sent hurtling along more and more track like on Taron and Helix. 

But for me it goes without saying that launch coasters are by far the coaster type for me that tick all the boxes when it comes to delivering a thrill and unlike a misplaced airtime hill or one two many inversions leading to a headache or worse, I can't think of a coaster whose layout or general ride experience wasn't improved by the inclusion of a launch. That pure, undeniable sense of power and rush of endorphins as the mechanics literally fling you down the track at high speeds is absolutely glorious and will without a doubt extract screams of pure joy from me every time. 

And it doesn't just have to be a real arse-kicker of a launch like the more boisterous of the Intamin designs - smaller launches where you're probably not even going that fast have that impact on me too. I think it's all about the acceleration - reaching a speed in a really short amount of time is thrilling because it feels wild and unnatural and out of control. Look at the likes of Anubis: The Ride or Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - launch coasters that don't even reach 60mph but you'd swear blind you were easily hitting the hundreds of miles per hour purely because of how that acceleration tricks your brain into thinking you're going REALLY REALLY fast! 

I also love a launch because it means the designers don't have to spent a lot of time faffing about with lift-hills and having the thing go real high (see: really expensive) to get any kind of speed and I think that can lead to some really intense layouts achievable in smaller spaces. The insanity of Taron's layout and how it snakes throughout the land of Klugheim, crossing over itself over and over again. Part of the impact of Taron is how it's mostly kind of hidden until you get into the land and it has this sense of mystery to it, the way it hugs the ground fairly tightly, not giving away too much of what it's about to inflict on you. That would work the same way if you had to rely on a big ol' lift-hill even if you were able to achieve the same speeds. 

Something else I adore is what I refer to as the 'gut-wrench'. Very few launch coasters I've been on actually achieve this to the level I adore apart from those mid-00s Intamin launch coasters with their brutal Hydraulic launches - I'm talking Stealth, I'm talking Rita and, yes I'm going there, I'm talking Furius Baco. I have ridden each of those coasters countless times and yes every time without fail the hydraulic launch almost has me gasping for breath and tapping out because I can't take anymore before releasing at what seems like the very last section, leading to that sweet flood of endorphins and joy. It's such a wonderful, intense and incredible feeling that even if the rest of the coaster rides like Baco does I'm too busy riding on that wave of feel-good hormones to even care too much that it's rattling my brain inside of my skull (although I DO think y'all are babies when it comes to that coaster!)

Airtime, obviously yes I love it; inversions, sure if they're done correctly they can be incredibly; a sexy transition or breathtaking first drop? Definitely, when they're good, they're good! But I'd argue that none of those elements are as consistent in delivering the undeniable, unequivocal thrill of a launch, and that is why launch coasters are the best coaster type!

Talk later xoxo,