I noticed one factual error which was not caught by anyone else yet. On the second page of the article in the paragraph which reads:

"If your local park contains a smooth, steel, out-and-back roller coaster made of perfectly arcing airtime hills (Diamondback, Behemoth, Apollo’s Chariot, Nitro, Raging Bull, Mako, etc.), a smooth, ultra-wide diving coasters (Valravn, Griffon, SheiKra, Swarm), a smooth winged coaster (Gatekeeper, X-Flight, Wild Eagle, Thunderbird), or a smooth Inverted coaster (Banshee, Raptor, Great Bear, Batman: The Ride, Dragon Challenge, etc.) then you’ve got a B&M."

You classified "Swarm" as a dive coaster, when in fact, it is a wing coaster.

Other than that (and the errors which have already been addressed in other comments) this is a fantastic article.

I rode Drachen Fire on opening day - the only time I was ever present for a roller coaster opening day - and remember liking it, although not as much as the Loch Ness Monster and the Big Bad Wolf. I do remember that almost everyone else hated it though.

The Corkscrew at Canobie Lake absolutely kills my neck and after reading your article I confirmed that it is indeed an Arrow model.

Two items are incorrect. Tubular steel supports were used at Dollywood which was previously mentioned. Also, tubular supports were used for all of their suspended coasters. Second, many Arrows had a batwing going back to at least the mid 1990's. B&M took the same element, called it a cobra roll and implemented it much better. Although Arrow seems to have fixed their bad transition problems with Dollywood's Tennessee Tornado...too little too late to save the company.

In reply to by Roach (not verified)

You are correct about this being designed using computers. The article is incorrect. Here is a clip from the PBS series Nova which documented the design and construction of Drachen Fire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_i1jqJgflI

Me and my dad must ave been some of the few that loved this ride. We loved it we rode it 50 times in 2 days. Once you rode it enough you new where to brace your self. We were sad to see it go.

I noticed a couple of errors in your overview of the ride.

First off, you said that it was "clearly designed without the aid of a computer". This is actually incorrect. Drachen Fire was the FIRST Arrow to be designed using computers.

You also claimed that the tubular support system was never used on another Arrow, but this is also false. Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood uses the same supports.

"...as if someone playing Roller Coaster Tycoon couldn’t quite get the corkscrews to line-up in a convincing way."

As a loyal RCT player, I declare that this line wins the prize as the best descriptive sentence in a TPT article.

Drachen Fire!! I visited Busch Gardens several times in the mid-late 90S. I remember the year it first opened and the 2hour long lines. When I was finally tall enough to ride it was closed. The river boat ride passed by the coaster and I remember how creepy it looked abandoned and quiet.

Hm, I've never heard that myself! Very interesting thought. My only thought would be that so many of the issues guests had with Drachen Fire seem to be inherent in Arrow's design, and worsened by its being a "prototype" in the sense that it was Arrow's first and only attempt at using B&M-style supports, inversions, ride systems, etc. By THAT line of thinking, expanding its footprint wouldn't have made a difference since those issues would still be there. But I hadn't ever heard or thought of that before. Interesting!

Interesting article about a flawed coaster. Did your research find any proof to the rumor that Drachen Fire was originally planned for a larger/longer footprint? I've heard that it was originally designed to cover the area beside and behind the Festhaus. The plans had to be drastically changed to fit only the area beside the Festhaus. Consequently, the ride was much rougher than first intended.

While I hated riding Drachen Fire, it still lives on my BG "Fear the Four" (Nessie, Alpengeist, Big Bad Wolf, and Drachen Fire) t-shirt.

Thanks for the great articles and the park history.

I thought this article was going to be about Shock Wave that used to be at Six Flags Great America back in the day. That thing was BRUTAL.E

I was glad i got a chance to ride this but as far as it being rough yes it was very rough and you got banged around alot but i dont think it was any more or les than scream machine did at great adventure

It's a shame that X bankrupt Arrow as Dollywood's Tennessee Tornado they finally got it right. A very smooth Arrow coaster.

This article is awesome. I've been going to Busch Gardens Williamsburg since I was 3 and had never heard of this coaster. Too bad it was gone before I got a chance to try it out.

Thanks for doing this one. I've been reading all your others and was hoping you'd do Drachen Fire. I rode it as a kid an loved it. But even as a kid I remember it banging the crap out of me. Now I understand why.

Thanks again for all the lost legends articles. They are fascinating. Keep it up


I think this is my favorite Lost Legends article. Having grown up at Busch Gardens Tampa and having never visited the one in Virginia, it was interesting reading about the dualities of the two parks. It was also nice that you broke down the different coaster manufacturers to explain why this coaster was so different. I'm enjoying the articles that are digging deep into parks outside of Disney.

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