Thunderbird's first test launchSANTA CLAUS, IND.—–Twenty water-filled test dummies got the ride of their lives today as they experienced the first flight of the nation’s only launched wing roller coaster.

As this week’s snow thawed, Thunderbird roared to life this afternoon and launched its first train 14 stories into the cloudless sky at 2:03pm, completing a full ride circuit on its first try.

“We’ve been joking that on this day when we usually ‘spring forward’ to Daylight Savings Time, we decided to launch forward,” says Holiday World’s president, Matt Eckert. “This is a huge milestone for us – Thunderbird is the greatest investment we’ve made since we opened in 1946. Our season begins in just seven weeks.”

Thunderbird, Holiday World’s first major steel roller coaster, features a zero-to-60 miles-per-hour launch in 3.5 seconds, followed by multiple inversions – including a 14-story Immelmann loop, Zero-g roll, barrel roll, and a loop soaring 125 feet in the air.

Continuing Holiday World’s tradition of sending roller coasters through its thickly wooded and hilly terrain, Thunderbird at first soars and loops high in the air and then hugs the ground, with rapid-fire “near misses” such as a fly-through barn, stone chimneys, other rides, trees, and even the ground.

Holiday World opens for the season on April 25, with the premiere of Thunderbird. Splashin’ Safari opens May 13. For more information about the parks and seasonal job opportunities, visit HolidayWorld.com or call 1-877-463-2645.

Released: 7 March, 2015
Media contact: Paula Werne, fun@holidayworld.com; 812-937-5209