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Ride Profile: Thrill Shot

By on 12/22/2011

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

Ride Type: Flat Ride

Manufacturer: S&S Power
Model/Style: ‘Sky Sling’ Slingshot
Year Built: 2001

This is the first ride profile that I’ve done on a ride in Six Flags Magic Mountain that is standing, but not operating. However, people always ask me questions about it, so I thought I’d provide a little history. Besides, I plan to eventually cover every ride that has ever been in the park, so now is as good as any time to talk about Thrill Shot.

Built by S&S Power in 2001, Thrill Shot is a Sky Sling flat ride that uses pneumatics to catapult riders straight up into the air, much like a slingshot. The ride is comprised of three massive towers, each one 265′ tall, standing in a triangular pattern. Steel cables ascend down from the top of each tower and connect to the ride vehicle. The ride vehicle is also triangular shaped, accommodating two riders on each side, for a total of six riders per launch. As the air tanks charge up, the ride vehicle is lifted several feet off the ground. When launched, the compressed air in each tower is used to contract the cables, which in turn pulls the ride vehicle skyward. As the vehicle reaches the top of the towers, the cables are given slack to let the vehicle continue upward, until it reaches close to 300′ in the air. The vehicle reaches a maximum speed of almost 50 MPH with a load of 2.5 G’s. Gravity pulls the vehicle back down, and after a couple of bounces to bleed off the energy, it’s gently lowered back to the ground. The entire ride lasts for just over 1:00 minute.

This following shot is the ride vehicle. It looks very worn out, but keep in mind that it has been exposed to the elements and not used for over two years as of this writing:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

The ride is located on the backside of the park, across from the Cyclone 500 and next to Jet Stream. As you can see, the three white towers are quite tall. They were designed to sway up to 8′ at the top in high winds and when a launched vehicle tensions the cables:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

Six Flags Magic Mountain was the first parks to get one of these rides. Cedar Point, in Ohio, installed one just after Magic Mountain got theirs. After only a couple of months of use, they removed their ride vehicle for storage during the winter. During that time, one of the towers snapped and came crashing down. After an investigation, it was determined that the ride vehicle connected to the towers is a critical component to keep the towers from swaying more than 8′. Without their vehicle attached, the tower was stressed beyond its limits and broke off. They immediately removed the ride.

It almost seems that Thrill Shot has been closed more than it’s been open since being installed. I heard a story that Six Flags closed the ride for a period of time after the Cedar Point incident to modify the towers by making them shorter, and therefore less prone to sway, however I have not been able to confirm the story. What do you think, do these still look 265′ tall? I can’t tell:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

One of the unique features of this ride is that each pair of riders can choose which type of  experience they would prefer. The seats will tilt at different angles and at different times during the ride depending on the selection that was made before the ride started. This sign says you can choose one of three options, but I find it amusing that it actually shows four different scenarios:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

Thrill Shot is considered an up-charge attraction, which means that it isn’t included with your park admission. You had to pay an additional fee if you wanted to ride it. When the ride first opened, it cost $22 per person. The next day, it had dropped to $15 for two rides. Two days later it was up to $18. Within two weeks of opening, you could buy a single ride for $10 or two rides for $15. Being the first of its kind ride, I think it’s fair to say they weren’t sure what they could charge. They obviously wanted to make as much money as possible without turning people off to the experience. In order to ride, you had to go across the midway to buy a ticket. All three up-charge attractions sold tickets from the same booth. Once you had a ticket in hand, you would walk back across the midway. Although the Thrill Shot sign is still on the roof, they no longer sell tickets for this ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

This was the entrance to the ride, on the left-hand side of the sign:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

This looks like an area that you could have stored your loose articles while on the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

This is where the riders would enter the secure area and board the ride vehicle. The ride operator’s station is under the white awning, protected by a black covering:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Thrill Shot

As I mentioned earlier, people reported this ride as being closed far more often than it was ever open. I personally never got a chance to ride it as it was never open when I was there. The ride closed for maintenance in late 2009 and never re-opened. Park management eventually admitted in early 2011 that it would never open again at Magic Mountain due to high maintenance costs. They said it should be removed by the end of the year and sent to another park. The ride is still standing, but I’m hopeful that it will be gone in the not too distant future to make way for another exhilarating thrill ride.

19 Comments

  1. Kyle

    12/24/2011 at 9:02 am

    Is Thrill Shot the only ride at SFMM that is standing, but not operating?

    • Evan

      02/16/2012 at 6:20 pm

      The Metro.

  2. caleb

    12/25/2011 at 9:59 pm

    I personally think they should put Lex Luthor here. Except it’s a wee bit to small, seriously barely too small, and the queue would be a problem. it would have to wind behind the shops, and towards Deja Vu, or something

    • Alex

      12/26/2011 at 10:09 am

      i do to. i think its going to ruin superman, and thats my favorite ride at six flags right now!

      • caleb

        12/29/2011 at 7:28 pm

        yeah it is a great ride. I think superman will ruin Lex, it will make it horrible waiting for Lex

        • Alex

          12/31/2011 at 7:52 am

          yea, also the tension that will be put on all that steel, it already has lots of tension on the superman ride itself, imagine putting lex on both of the sides of it.

        • Kurt

          12/31/2011 at 8:08 am

          I’ve heard they are going to relocate the Oasis employee cafeteria, which sits behind the Food, Etc area, and use that space for the LL:DOD queue. I’m thinking this may be an attempt to minimize the noise impact of S:EFK for those waiting in line.

  3. Nathan

    12/26/2011 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Kurt,
    It’s me again. I will try and make this short, but I would like your opinion. I really like your website and it’s look, and I wanna know if you like mine. Please let me know if there is anything I can improve on to make my site a bit better. Please read through a few archives and let me know. Sorry if I sound like I am bragging, I don’t mean it that way. But, I am a WordPress user, so don’t hesitate to talk in “wordpressanese”. Thank you so much!
    Nathan (RollerCoasterBoy1999)

    • Kurt

      12/31/2011 at 8:11 am

      Hi Nathan,
      I’d be happy to go through it again and give you some of my opinions, but I’d rather not do it here. Please drop me an email at kurt@thecoasterguy.com and I’ll respond through that channel.

  4. Eric

    12/27/2011 at 11:44 pm

    Knott’s Berry Farm also had one of these rides. If memory serves, theirs was called “Vertigo.” When Cedar Point removed theirs, so did Knott’s, even though Knott’s had no problem with their ride that I know of. It stood where Screamin’ Swing is now.

    I never did ride Thrill Shot, but a few people I know who did liked the ride.

  5. Erik

    12/28/2011 at 8:58 am

    I rode it, a few years ago. It was so fun! When we got to the very top, the seats pushed forward so we were facing the ground, it was a crazy experience. I’ve been to Magic Mountain about 4 times since then and it’s been closed every time. Looks like I got lucky.

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  11. Nick

    12/20/2012 at 11:06 pm

    I remember also hearing something about those canisters in the 1st picture. After the CP incident, they required that when not in use, it had to sit on those things vs hang there.

  12. Chris M

    04/29/2014 at 12:52 am

    Just looking up info on the verti-go/thrillshot tower rides to confirm dates of operation since Falcons Fury is claiming to be the the first of it’s kind (w/face down drop {and 300ft.})
    If you never got to ride it at all, You should have seen the seating arrangements when it first opened!
    Instead of the screaming squirrel/swing seating it was basically a bicycle seat with a saddle horn mounted on the tilting bar. You were given a belt(only) harness with long steel pins that locked you to the seat. That was all! It had nothing substantial to hang on to, making it truly one of the best THRILL Rides in my life and the first operational ‘face first’ drop ride.
    Let me try to dig up photos of the seat/harness.
    –CM

  13. chad

    06/27/2014 at 1:04 pm

    oh boy, this thing was crazy! the feeling of this ride was like nothing else. but i remember that it was closed like over 80 or 90 percent of the time

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