Six Flags proposes 400-foot-tall swing ride; would be largest of its kind in the world

A new ride that towers 400 feet and may even require a red beacon at the top to ward off planes has been proposed at Six Flags New England, according to a town official in Agawam.

The Star Flyer, essentially a playground swing on a grand scale, will replace the current Sky Coaster attraction. The ride is 385 feet tall, with a decorative pole on top that pushes its height to 400 feet. The board requires a permit for any structure over 200 feet, said Jennifer Bonfiglio, senior clerk for the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

The board will visit the site Wednesday and may make a decision next Monday, said Bonfiglio.

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Some residents attending a board meeting Monday were concerned about noise at the park, saying it wasn’t the rides themselves, but the screaming of the patrons that’s bothersome, Bonfiglio said. Others were concerned with how the ride would affect the skyline.

Bonfiglio also said the park may need a permit from the FAA because of the ride’s height, and may be required to place a beacon on top of the structure.

The Star Flyer will be nearly double the size of the tallest rollercoasters in the park, including the 191-foot Goliath, which opened in May, and the 208-foot Bizarro steel coaster.

The Star Flyer will also be the largest ride of its kind in the world, according to rcdb.com, an online database of rides worldwide. Currently, the tallest is the Prater Turm in Vienna, which reaches about 383 feet. In America, the StarScreamer, located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, rises to 242 feet.

The ride itself is a large tower with swings hanging from spokes located around the main pole. The swings fit two people. The spokes gently lift the riders off the ground and the structure begins to turn, flinging the seats outward because of centrifugal force.

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Six Flags New England declined to comment on zoning board deliberations.

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