The Gravity Group | Kentucky Kingdom
In celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019, Kentucky Kingdom opened the “Kentucky Flyer,” a wood coaster by The Gravity Group that honors its label as a family roller coaster, while featuring no fewer than 12 airtime hills.
“Over the course of almost 30 years in the entertainment business, I’ve visited more than 200 theme parks,” says Ed Hart, president and CEO of Kentucky Kingdom. “Something I notice on almost every visit is that younger children, let’s say kids between the ages of 4 and 7, can’t join their moms, dads, and older siblings on most roller coasters. That’s because the height requirement for riders on most coasters is at least 48 inches. But because of its unique Timberliner trains, the ‘Kentucky Flyer’ has a height requirement of only 40 inches, which is the height of the average 4-year-old,” Hart explains.
The ride rolls along 1,280 feet of track and reaches speeds of 35 mph. “Kentucky Flyer” rises to 47 feet on its lift hill and has 54-degree banked turns. The new ride is the park’s sixth roller coaster. “We knew we wanted this type of ride because it provides the perfect combination of ‘thrills’ with ‘family.’ All but the youngest members of the family can enjoy the ride together, [yet] the ‘Flyer’ provides the thrills needed to garner praise from coaster enthusiasts,” Hart says.
Its Timberliner trains are themed like an old fighter aircraft, direct from Hart’s imagination.
“It was almost three years ago that I sketched out a rough logo for the ride, which is still pinned to the bulletin board in my office. Then we asked ourselves what image the name conjures up. A World War II fighter plane was the first thing that came to mind,” Hart recalls. “We sent The Gravity Group some photos of planes from that era, and they took it from there.”