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Kings Island builds in-the-dark coaster

CINCINNATI, Aug. 18. -- Paramount Kings Island officials Friday announced the start of construction of an indoor roller coaster that will travel at 54 mph, upside down, in total darkness. The 'Outer Limits Flight of Fear' steel track coaster is one of only two in the world that will be launched by a laser-controlled catapult system, rather than a traditional chain drive.

It will be placed inside a one-acre building at a location now being excavated. The project is also being duplicated at Kings Dominion in Richmond, Va., and both rides are expected to be ready by April. Carolyn Boof, Kings Island's manager of marketing communications, told United Press International the cost of the ride will be 'considerably higher' than the $7 million earlier reported. Darkness will be rule inside the building, rather than the exception. Pinpoints of starlight will occasionally punctuate the abyss in which 2, 000 riders an hour will travel a one-minute journey based on the 1960s TV 'Outer Limits' science fiction series. A pre-ride show will prepare riders for the runaway catapulted jaunt through space; going from zero to 54 mph in four seconds. The trip will simulate a UFO landing site and the discovery of a space probe. The trip is said to be unlike any other contemporary roller coaster -- in which a traditional steep descent follows a steeply angled first hill. Instead, the riders will be propelled through a series of four large loops or upside-down 'multiple inversion' turns, with the experience heightened by Hollywood-type special effects.

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