2012 marks the tenth anniversary of one of Britain’s most memorable years for new rollercoasters.
2002 rivalled 1994, which also saw an eye-watering hat-trick of rollercoasters in the form of Nemesis, The Big One and Shockwave.
More than £53 million was spent on the construction of three iconic and groundbreaking rides.
Now, a decade on, we take a look at the three rides that pioneered design, broke records and embarrassed manufacturers.
Concept designer John Wardley came up with the idea of “flying like a bird” on a rollercoaster in 1994, but the complex project took four years of ironing out technical problems and three more to construct.
Although not strictly the world’s first flying rollercoaster, it was the first of its kind to be constructed by Bolliger & Mabillard, who have since rolled out further models around the world.
Air is extremely smooth and graceful, it does not offer fast-paced thrills (although the first drop is startling on the back row), but it generates a true minute of escapism and smiles.
It remains one of the most popular rides at Alton Towers, but its obscure loading process still causes minor hold-ups and technical issues today.
Heavily marketed with a superbly quirky television advert as the world’s first ten-looping rollercoaster, it was the first major thrill ride at Thorpe Park.
It is loosely themed on a lost civilization from Atlantis, and it is pleasantly landscaped with water features and subtropical-style plantation.
Its numerous inversions include a vertical loop, cobra roll, two corkscrews and five in-line twists – but it’s the airtime hill that packs the biggest punch.
The process can be considerably nauseating to the uninitiated and today it suffers with aging, rough and compact Intamin trains.
However, it too remains extremely popular and is still one of Britain’s most iconic rides – still holding the inversion record along with a Chinese clone.
Jubilee Odyssey (£28m)
Funded by the seemingly bottomless pockets of the late Fantasy Island owner John Woodward, this ride was originally planned to be even bigger than it’s 168 feet.
Original plans showed an inverted rollercoaster of over 260 feet, but the project was scaled down following objections from local residents.
Built to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, it is the tallest Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster in the world, but it was plagued by design errors in its opening year, stalling more than a dozen times and eventually having to have sections lowered.
With the coastal winds, it is still frequently closed due to the risk of stalling, but catch it on a good day and it is one of the UK’s most jaw-dropping rides – even if it is largely unridden, even among enthusiasts.