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What is ''Air'' ?
''Air'' the next generation flying roller coaster has just opened at Alton Towers, it gives passengers the feeling of flight as they hang below the track lying down. The ride which is being supplied by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, the same company which supplied Nemesis and Oblivion has been in the pipe line for 8 years now, since Tussuads imagineer John Wardley dreamed up the creation to follow his previous project, Nemesis. ''Air'' is situated on the old Beast site in Forbidden Valley it has a very separate 'calmer' theme than the rest of the valley, as can be seen from the turquoise track.

Why is ''Air'' so special ?
''Air'' is a unique ride experience, hanging beneath the track held into position by specially designed safety vests, vantral cushions and ankle flaps, riders will experience a new sensation of flight. The freedom and liberation experienced will be unbelievable, almost lying down, looking down at the ground, flying around special inversions, helixes, through tunnels, passed trees and near water. As well as flying beneath the track, at one point riders are flipped onto their backs to ride backwards, on top of the track.

How does ''Air'' Work ?
Riders board the ride underneath the track similar to the Nemesis style of loading, there are no heavy restraints over your shoulders, just the previously mentioned safety vest which is attached to the ''grab bars'' the only thing you can hold onto! Once you've boarded the ride, the trains will tilt forward into the flying position, ready for take off. It is because of this complicated style of loading why there is a double station to increase the through-put, the double station also allows 3 trains on the track as appose to the 2 trains of Nemesis. One station is with a normal queue line and the other will have a virtual queue where riders can pre-book their space by collecting a ticket from turnstiles near the ride.

Tell me more about these Air pages
Construction of Air progressed though-out 2001, TowersTimes setup a special site called ''sw5live'' to follow the coverage. We had construction photographs updated most weeks and became quite a popular site. Air opened in March 2002, after 8 years of planning the magic ride was now open! We recently merged sw5live into TowersTimes because there was not much else we could update with. You can still visit these Air pages on the url http://www.towerstimes.co.uk/history/articles/sw5live .

Enjoy the flight!

Artists impression

Air is now open

Assume the position

Now fly!
Air pages

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John Wardley Interview | John Wardley at the ECC 2001