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Air at Alton TowersLast updated by Nick on Friday, September 20, 2013 12:01
Submitted by Nick on Monday, May 28, 2012 18:45
Key informationOur rating:
Mar 16, 2002
Opened in 2002 at a cost of £12 million, Air was Europe's first B&M Flying Coaster. Following in the footsteps of Nemesis and Oblivion, the ride continued Alton Towers' tradition of building "first-of-a-kind" roller coasters.
Located close to Nemesis in Forbidden Valley but featuring minimal theming, Air aims to recreate the experience of flying. Guests board the ride in a seated position, but the seats rotate to leave them facing the ground before the ride enters its opening lift hill.
After plunging down its first drop and a 180-degree bend, Air's trains swoop down towards the ground below. The track then twists so that riders are lying on their backs, before rotating again and passing through a short tunnel. After a 360-degree barrel roll, the train hits the brake run and returns to the station.Review:
Air is still the only ride of its type in the UK, and its innovative ride system really does offer a spectacular feeling of flight. More than a decade after its debut, it still draws large crowds, although it hasn’t attained the same legendary status as nearby Nemesis.
The most disappointing aspect of Air is the dull second half of the circuit, which is exacerbated by the total absence of theming around the ride. Surely a ride that simulates flying should offer guests a flight “over” something more than blades of grass and the occasional patch of concrete? SeaWorld Orlando’s impressive flying coaster Manta shows what could have been if Alton Towers had stretched its budget a little further.
Nevertheless, Air is still one of the stand-out rides in the park’s line-up. Particularly for those who find Nemesis and Oblivion a little intense, the feeling of soaring through the skies is not to be missed.Top Tip:
Despite featuring duel stations, Air’s loading time is still painfully long. This causes long queues to build up from mid-morning onwards, so try and ride early in the day (before Nemesis and Oblivion, but after Rita).
More information about Air:
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Latest news on Air:
Alton Towers reverses changes to Thirteen, Air operating hours
Saturday, June 23, 2012 09:41
Alton Towers has bowed to pressure from fans and scrapped a decision to cut the operating hours of popular rides including the Air and Thirteen roller coasters.
Air, Thirteen and other rides to open later at Alton Towers
Thursday, June 14, 2012 07:26
Alton Towers has announced the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves, this time introducing later opening times for some of its most popular attractions.
Alton Towers begins selling on-ride DVDs of Air rollercoaster
Thursday, October 27, 2011 07:42
Alton Towers has begun selling on-ride DVDs of the Air rollercoaster, enabling guests to buy a personalised souvenir of their experience on the ride.
Upcoming refurbishments, rehabs and closures
We are not aware of any scheduled refurbishment periods for Air. Do you know of any upcoming "rehabs" that we're missing? If so - please contact us so that we can keep the list up-to-date.
Photos of Air
Reader reviews of Air
My first and every other flying coaster experience I've had has been on air. The smooth, exciting coaster which gives the feeling of flight. Not fiction this coaster actually make you feel like you're flying. Near misses and easy inversions make this experience surreal - sure the scenery is lacking but the fact that I could fall asleep on this coaster makes it different from the rest. The lie down part could actually send me to sleep. A lack of scenery can be excused for this foothill swooping and soaring coaster. Great but not the best at alton towers
Let's be realistic here, Air is not a tad on Nemesis or Oblivion in terms of thrill, but it is sure better than them! The queue line is very immersive and although it lacks theming, it takes you through a windy path where you can see the ride in action whilst waiting! Then you get on, two trains in two stations means better throughput than most AT rides however, the disorientating thing is that the station in which you board the ride is not the station in which you depart the ride! Believe me, put your arms up and relax and you will never come as close to the sensation of flying, I presume, without actually being on a plane!
The near misses and smoothness of the ride
The low speed and G Force
There are NO other B and M flyers in the UK, Air is completely unique and is now 11 years old.