The Carolina Cobra made its debut Saturday when Carowinds opens for its 37th season.
The 125-foot-tall scream machine is the second-tallest roller coaster in the park and may remind old-timers of the 1980s White Lightening -- only longer and with more inversions.
Carowinds unveiled the $4 million coaster today during a media preview.
The 28-passenger boomerang coaster travels the same track forward and backward, reaching a maximum speed of 48 mph.
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The ride begins by going backward, pulling riders up a 125-foot hill. The ride pauses at the top of the lift, offering a panoramic view of the park, before going forward down the steep drop, back through the gate area, speeding along a 65-degree descent into three inversions, including two rolls and a loop. The train is then caught by another lift hill, pauses, then sends riders back down the entire track backward.
“It’s a twisting, towering serpent,” said Carowinds spokeswoman Dani Swords. “The coolest element of the ride is going backwards.”
Riders must be at least 48 inches to ride.
The Cobra features newly designed trains that have never been used in the United States. The sit-down ride is smoother than most coasters because of its aerodynamic design. It has a narrow nose and wider harnesses so riders won’t feel like they’re bumping their heads or being jerked around, Swords said.
The coaster sits in the Carolina RFD section of the park just outside the Boomerang Bay water park. To make room for the Carolina Cobra, the park removed the Super Saturator water ride, Swords said.
Carolina Cobra at a glance
Track length: 935 feet
Highest peak: 125 feet
Drop length: 120 feet
Maximum speed: 48 miles per hour
Ride duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds
Ride capacity: 760 riders per hour
Number of seats per train: 28
Height requirement: Riders must be 48 inches to ride