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Great intense coaster. Not too short, but not long enough for the intensity to turn into pain like some (i.e. Voyage). Interesting layout going across Presque Isle Drive for the turnaround.
I wanted to give this ride a 10. Oh, how I wanted RVII to get a 10. But is was not meant to be. At least not during this visit. This was my first trip to Waldameer, heading back to NY from 2 days at CP. I immediately fell in love with this park. It has the charm and warmth of regional and trolley parks that used to dot this country but are now few and far between. The fact that RVII was so long in the making made my anticipation of my ride all the greater. And it did not disappoint. For the most part. First off, this is a back seat ride ONLY. The one ride I took in the front seat set me straight on this fact as I disliked the hang over the first sweeping drop. That blissful moment of suspense only works for me on straight-on drops, as banked or swooping drops immediately lose that illusion of steepness. That same drop in the back seat, however, was a yank-me-down, WTF OMG experience. After the first drop, this coaster ran fast and wild. A glorious romp of lateral and negative Gs and a course very difficult to memorize. But there are 3 sections that cause me a certain amount of concern (but not dread.) 1) The high turn around across the highway. On several rides I was seated in the back left, and the lateral force (for as much as I crave them) with arms raised high, was so violent I have concerns with aging this could become a real rib-cracker of a turn. And I think we seasoned vets all know what that can mean for a ride. 2) The 90 degree bank. Does this really add thrill to the ride? It was so brief, it is almost ineffectual. Yeah, I noticed it, but lateral force would have been more memorable (sans rib-cracking.) 3) The final run home. Climbing out of the ravine for the final time, I think I would have been more satisfied had the ride ended there ( à la Kennywood Thunderbolt.) Bunny-hops lacking significant air belong at the beginning of a ride, not during the finale. So how can I rank this a 9 while certain steel coasters fall in my pantheon of rides? Only because I attempt to rate a ride against it'..s peers. After getting off RVII my first time, I had an achy grin I typically experience getting off of a Herb Schmeck masterpiece. But unlike some of those classics, the muscle spasms in my cheeks were not as well maintained on my subsequent rides, although they were still noticeably there. I look forward to my next visit to Waldameer, for I know I will return. Even if RVII does not move higher, or even drops a notch in my ratings, this is an outstanding ride for a park well deserving of its presence. Bravo Waldameer for your perseverance on building RVII and may you continue to thrill generations to come.
Alright, hate to do this, but it looks like I am going to be the one who brings this ".great". ride back down to earth. Ravine Flyer II is a ride that I haven'.t ".gotten". ever since I first saw concept art of it. It looked cool, but a little short, a little too much turn-based, and the hills looked a little ".not-steep". to provide that great, ass-in-the-air, ejector airtime I crave.
After I glanced over some good reviews, I actually was expecting very big things from this ride. As you can tell, I really liked the ride, and gave it an 8, but it found no place on my relatively lame top 10, and I find it shocking that it has graced the top 10 lists of many better-traveled enthusiasts than myself.
The ride is fast and aggressive. Good things, I think. It worked for this ride, but not as well as it works for others. The turns are border line brutal already however, and I can only imagine how horribly they may track after another few years of dosing out hundreds of cycles per day. I can only hope that the people at a small park like Waldameer will have the brains and money to give their beloved ride they supposedly took years getting approved, the care it deserves.
This was my first Gravity Group coaster, and as expected, it rode quite a bit differently than any other wooden coaster I have encountered. The sounds it made, the sensations it gave were all a bit different than old school wood, or even modern coasters made by CCI, GCI, and Intamin.
So anyways, good steep first drop, followed by a fairly large ".floater airtime". style hill. Then came some intense, ".rough". turns, and the only slow part of the ride: the drop back over the road. I can'.t believe that after 12 laps I still can'.t completely remember the layout, but the rest of the ride continued the trend of small hills, and some killer turns, all taken at EXTREMELY fast speeds. There was air on just about every hill, and finally some ".relaxing". air over two small consecutive hills towards the end. Overall, Ravine Flyer II was a good wooden coaster with a good view that never let up. It provided decent air time and an out of control ride.
So, I liked it, but even after 12 rides, many at night during the rain, I still can'.t justify giving it a nine or ten. Perhaps this ride was even too much for me! I am a self-confessed wooden coaster geek, and without wild woodens, I probably wouldn'.t be a coaster enthusiast in the first place. But the turns were just rough enough to make the whole process a bit uncomfortable and even unenjoyable at parts. My only other gripe is the airtime provided was NOT stand-up, ejector air like on Boulder Dash, Phoenix, or even a few hills of Silver Comet. I did ride on occasion un-stapled, but I didn'.t get that off-my-butt, I'.m going to be thrown into Lake Erie type feeling I love. So, hold on tight and enjoy your ride on Ravine Flyer II. Get up there while it is still rideable…….
I'..d been excited for Ravine Flyer II since I learned about it last winter. The New York Times even quoted me when I dubbed it the ".Sleeper Hit of 2008".. So needless to say I was looking forward to getting to Waldameer to see if it was as good as expected.
Ravine Flyer'.s climb seems exceptionally slow, which is by no means a negative. This gives riders time to take in the breath-taking view of Lake Erie towards the top. I felt like I was looking out onto an ocean. You can even make out waves breaking on the coast. Park owner Paul Nelson told me that at dusk a mist comes in off the lake that greases the tracks making Ravine Flyer II even faster. Just as riders admire the view with '.oohs and ahhs'. their attention is snapped back to the drop below as the trains dives down off of the hill its situated on. The train just rose 80 feet, but the opening hill is a 115 foot drop that banks gently at the bottom. There'..s a great pull over the crest in the back seat and the hill feels much longer back there.
At the bottom, the train immediately flies through the first tunnel with surprising speed. Then up into the arched bridge over the highway with a short pop of air. In the banked, twisted turn around (similar to a section on Hades) the train climbs a hill that seems to momentarily sap some of the rides energy, but its followed by another great drop and a trip back across the highway.
The rest of the ride is non-stop speed and thrills with no letting up whatsoever. Much like Gravity Group'.s Voyage, Ravine Flyer II is seemingly possessed or like the energizer bunny for a nicer analogy. It'.s jam-packed with pops of air and banked turns. Nelson explained that this is Gravity Group'.s secret to success as it keeps the rides initial energy going. There are nearly no sections of just flat track anywhere. The highlight of the second half is the 90-degree banked turn to the right. It'..s shorter than sections on The Voyage, but still exciting. The train seems like it could'.ve continued on for longer, but the brake run finally puts the beast to rest.
Early videos of RVF II looked fun, but they don'.t really do the speed and intensity of this ride justice. It'.s much faster than it looks on video. And though you get thrown around a bit on the turns, I couldn'.t find a moment of roughness on the whole ride. Gravity Group has done it again! Congratulations to Waldameer Park. For their persistence they'.ve got a world-class woodie that'..s built to last and will thrill thousands for years to come.
RFII flies its way into my Top Ten landing as the 8th best of the nearly 160 roller coasters I'.ve ridden and the 5th best wooden coaster. It has also recieved my 7th '.10'.. If you'.re anywhere near Erie, get to Waldameer! Final Rating 10 (Superior)
Date Ridden: Summer of 2008 (Opening Season). Times Ridden: 22 including 20 in one day with 3 rides in the front seat. One of my favorite parts of being an OCD theme park/coaster nerd is watching new rides being built. This past year was great with Behemoth going up in Canada, Farenheit at Hersheypark, and best of all, RF II in Erie, PA. With the Golden Tickets coming out in September, allow me to look into the future and forecast RFII as Best New Ride of 2008.Lets look at the competition a little more closely. Behemoth is out. While a great ride, it is a full step below the two major contenders. Intamin won the award last year with Maverick. Farenheit is a similar ride that will appeal to basically that same group of voters. The Gravity Group won the year before with the all-mighty Voyage and believe it or not, this ride may be just as good. Do not miss the front seat. The view one has when topping the lift hill and staring up the coast of Lake Erie is among the most beautiful views on any ride at any location. Virtually every part of the ride is outstanding with the highlights being the dash across the highway, the extreme floater airtime on the way back through the tunnel and the 90 degree bank which is taken much slower than on the Voyage making it a better element. The only negative that I discovered in my 22 rides was the lackluster ending. The speed had slowed considerably by the time the train reached the final bunny hills and it just crawled over them giving no air to speak of before the violent ending on the brake run. It seemed like the speed had slowed but then coming off the final small hill it sped up just enough to give a big jolt there at the end when the final brakes hit. This finale is what keeps the ride below woodies like Boulder Dash, Phoenix, and Thunderhead. Waldameer Park, however, has a definite winner on their hands as long as they take care of their baby. As much trouble as they went through to get this thing built, I'.m thinking they will.
Overall score - 10 (Rounded up from a 9.5)
I grew up in Erie and loved Waldameer Park when I was a child. When I became a teen, I moved on to bigger and better things (Cedar Point). As an adult now with a 4-year old of my own, I have learned to love Waldameer again. The only thing it was missing, I would say, was a really great coaster . . . until now.
The Ravine Flyer II lives up to its hype. It is fast and furious throughout the circuit. The airtime in the 3rd seat is substantial, especially on the bridge over the highway. If this coaster had train cars like the Phoenix, it would easily be the top coaster on my list. As it is, it is certainly up there. Not bad for a small park that caters to pre-teens.
Ever since Ravine Flyer II was first announced last year, it has been one of the top priorities on my ever-growing to-ride list. My entire family lives in the Pittsburgh area, and I visit at least once every summer.....so the prospect of having a Gravity Group woodie within driving distance of Pittsburgh was mouth-watering to say the least. I desperately tried subduing my expectations, but as the date drew nearer, it became painfully apparent my attempts were futile: I was expecting this coaster to be one rockin’ mofo
Luckily, my fellow coaster enthusiasts, I am happy to report that this mofo, is indeed rockin’
First of all, I’d like to make it well known that it doesn’t matter where you sit on Ravine Flyer II. Over the course of 12 rides in a wide variety of seats ranging from the very front to the very back, I am glad to report that there is top-notch airtime to be had in any seat. Now onto the blow-by-blow review:
View at the top: Absolutely beautiful. There’s no better way to crest the top of a coaster than gazing out onto a huge body of water. Definitely sets a great tone for the rest of the ride
First drop: Excellent. The backrow definitely provides a stunning whipping-action and dishes out some serious airtime. The front provides a very heavy, hanging sensation.
Bridge Bunnyhop #1: Great airtime... very surprising. Upon looking at the layout when it was first released, I was less than enthused about the bridge hills. They didn’t look airtime-worthy at all, but nothing could be further from the truth. Powerful and stiff floater-airtime
Turnaround: This was one of the biggest highlights of the ride for me. The left-right shimmy provides a startling jolt of ejector airtime along with powerful lateral g’s. Also, the train barely loses any steam at all as it crests the turn around and plummets back towards the bridge
Bridge Bunnyhop #2 and ensuing bunnyhills: Probably the best part of the ride for me. Even at the start of the day before the ride heated up and really started rolling, these bunny hills provided serious sustained airtime that hovers bizarrely between floater and ejector air. I can’t really put my finger on it. Regardless, the ass-cheeks leave the seat. Amazing.
90-degree turn: Another highlight of the ride and a first for me. Great maneuver and traversed flawlessly by the PTC rolling stock.
Final bunnyhills: The ride finishes strong, but not as strong as it could have. A few punches of airtime can be snagged before slamming into the brakes.
Ravine Flyer II just got better and better as the day progressed. Much like Boulder Dash, the ride got more and more intense as the rails heated up in the afternoon heat. With each ensuing ride, it climbed further and further into the ranks of my Top 10 coasters. By the peak of the afternoon, this thing was rambunctiously jolting riders to and fro like rag dolls...a fantastic fusion of classic charm and modern edginess. As of June 20th 2008, Ravine Flyer sits at #3 in my Top 10. Waldameer has a masterpiece on their hands.
They say first impressions are the ones that last. Here'.s what I remember most about my initial exposure to Ravine Flyer II. While standing in the queue waiting for the coaster to open, I watched three different ride ops polish the bright red PTC cars for about 15 minutes straight. Then, during the test runs, I noticed the empty train come screaming into the brake run, the wheels of the middle cars seeming to lift off the track as the vehicle came to a halt. What sort of roller coaster, I wondered, could engender that level of devotion from underpaid temporary employees? What sort or roller coaster, I mused, wants to go airborne at the brake run? I would soon discover the answer for myself. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ravine Flyer II.
With four projects in the last three years, the Gravity Group has already proven itself to be the most gusty, ambitious, and virtuosic roller coaster designer of the modern age. Some have criticized its installations for being too baroque, too ravenous. Yet the company'.s genius seems to be in its ability to build rides that appeal equally to the mainstream and the fringe. The experience of a Gravity Group roller coaster isn'.t just fun or exhilerating, it'.s tranformative. For the minute or two of the ride, you'.re not just amused or entertained, you'.re living squarely in the moment, fully alive, fully engaged. In a world in which so time is spent waiting for what happens next or regretting what'.s already past, this is a rare and precious gift.
Whether time will be kind to the creations of the Gravity Group is another question. Many, after all, lauded the work of Charles Dinn and Curtis Summers in each of their rides'. early seasons. Now most of those same coasters are but gauzy memories or all too real monuments to excess: gorgeous and virtually unrideable objets d'.art. With Ravine Flyer II, however, Gravity Group may have hit on a formula built to last and not just for speed. The coaster'.s dimensions are quite modest but the ride they deliver feels outsized and complete.
The course begins with a curving first drop reminiscent of the Legend before soaring some 165 feet over Penninsula Drive. Other Gravity Group rides have similar quirky features that in lesser hands would merely be gimmicks. As with Hades'. underground tunnels, however, the bridge portions of Ravine Flyer II make the coaster not just unique but significantly more thrilling. This element reminded me of the snowmobile chase in a certain James Bond movie during which stuntmen who are launched skyward over moguls come flying at the camera. Each of the ride'.s transitions is also a thing of beauty. The turnaround between bridge sections is similar to the turnaround between the tunnel portions of Hades, although taken at what seems like a much higher speed. The 90 degree banking on the opposite end perfectly positions the train for the mayhem that follows in the excellent twister finale. GCII should take a page from Gravity Group'.s book and learn to intersperse slalom action and quick directional changes with that greatest of roller coaster elments, the quick, sharp, air-time-producing drop.
This may seem like a lot of praise for a review that actually brings down the overall rating of the ride. I admit I couldn'.t help but compare Ravine Flyer II to its big brother, the Battlestar Voyage, which redefined for me what a roller coaster can accomplish. Voyage is at its most possessed in its final act, whereas I felt Ravine Flyer II lost maybe half a step just before the brake run. I also thought the covering over the bridge, while undoubtedly a necessary concession to PennDOT and Waldameer'.s underwriters, was a bit of shame, although I understand you can'.t have ball caps and sunglasses flying off amusement park rides into vehicular traffic. I fully expect, however, that my current rating will be temporary. The coaster becam
My most anticipated ride of the year and the first new ride I have truly been excited for since Voyage. RFII does not dissapoint. I still prefer Voyage by a little, but I have not got to ride that since Holliwood nights and I believe it could be in for a fall. APPEARANCE-10 I love how you can only see the lifthill from the main part of the park. It not only builds excitiement for the ride it also keeps the traditional feel of the park in tact. CAPACITY-7 They did a great job when I was there, but with 2 trains the ride would almost be a walk on. RIDE QUALITY-10 Very fast, great air, great turns, great scenary and just intense enough that you can still ride all day. FUN-10 This is how coasters should be. An excellent ride that delivers on everything and fits in with the park. Its rides like this at parks like this that make me hate places like Cedar Point. I also feel that this is a "true" small park not like HW. RERIDE-10 It is so good that I am ready to make the 5 hour plus drive back to Erie to go again. OVERALL-47 AVG-9.4 I will go with the 10 because with 2 train operations this thing will have no flaws. This was my third visit to the park and I have to say it is in that rare group where each visit seems to make the park better. I have really seen this park grow with some nice additions in the last 5 years and I hope that is a trend that continues.
I went into this ride with no expectations for good or bad. We spent most of the day at Kennywood and had just made the 2+ hour trek up to Erie. It was dusk when we arrived in the modest grassy parking lot and we were surprised to find that the lot had a great deal of cars in it. Our previous encounter with Waldameer involved an empty park and them closing 2 hours early. We werent expecting this.
We purchased our ride tickets, went to the restroom, and strolled over to Ravine Flyer IIs queue. It was one of those obnoxious large queues that hides just how large it is from the midway. While waiting in the relatively quick moving queue we noticed that the blue train was most definitely off line. Someone on TPR tells me that this is because the ride is so new that they havent programmed the computer for two train operation yet.
After about a 40 minute wait, the seat picker assigned us to the back row. The operations were decent for a newly minted crew running a week old coaster. In no time at all we were climbing the rather modest-looking lift hill. My wife and I chatted as we leisurely made the ascent.
As we reached the top we could see the sun falling into Lake Erie as darkness began to take hold. Waldameers advertisements claim "Beautiful Views of Lake Erie". That view was more than beautiful. It was overpowering in way I wasnt expecting; by far the most stunning visual Ive had on any coaster.
As I was staring out in a trance at the lake, the coaster suddenly and ferociously ripped us down the 115 drop. Bat. Out. Of. Hell. Words shrink at my every attempt to describe the sensation of speed on this ride. To say it has great pacing doesnt begin to do it justice. Much like with the Raven, the speed does not shrink. Only this ride has much more airtime than the Raven could ever hope to have.
Racing over the bridge. Flying through the turn around. Racing back over the bridge. Through tunnels. Through 90-degree turns. Airtime galore. Finishes strong. No dead track. Definite Gravity Group feel, but not rough.
For some reason I keep coming back to comparing this ride to the Raven, but a better version of the Raven. The ride feels a lot like the Raven in that the intensity does not let up for a nanosecond. The fact that this ride has a ton of airtime, awesome scenery, and a unique bridge hop over the road make it better than the Raven to me, which is saying a lot because the Raven is a top 10 ride to me.
Ive ridden all of the Gravity Group coasters, except the Boardwalk Bullet. Ravine Flyer II, to me, is much better than Voyage or Hades. Its got the airtime that I demand from a top ride, but it doesnt try too hard like Voyage does. Its not overly large, so itll probably be a great ride 10 years from now and wont need 1,100 feet of retracking this October.
In short, Waldameer has a winner on their hands with this one. As far as wooden coasters go, I only like El Toro and Phoenix more. Waldameer is an awesome little park. After their 10+ year fight to get this thing built, nobody deserves this ride more than they do. Go ride it now!
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