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Wild Eagle winged coaster to debut at Dollywood in 2012

Amusement and Theme ParksSix Flags Great AmericaItaly

The $20-million Wild Eagle at Dollywood in Tennessee is on track to be the first winged coaster in the U.S. when it opens in March 2012.

> Photos: Wild Eagle winged coaster at Dollywood

With riders sitting on either side of the track in a winged formation, Dollywood's sixth coaster will feature trains themed as bald eagles with outstretched wings.

The Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Rider would be the second coaster of its kind in the world following the 2011 debut of Raptor at Italy's Gardaland. Similar B&M Wing Rider coasters also are scheduled to open next year at Six Flags Great America outside Chicago (X-Flight) and England's Thorpe Park (Swarm).

Starting in the Wilderness Pass area of Dollywood, Wild Eagle will climb to the top of a 210-foot-tall hill offering picturesque views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

After its ascent, Wild Eagle will complete four inversions: a giant loop, a zero-G roll, a twisting Immelmann loop and a flat spin corkscrew. Traveling at 60 mph over a 3,100-foot-long track, the ride will conclude with a camelback hill and a banked figure-eight spiral. The ride will last 2-1/2 minutes.

> More coaster coverage at the L.A. Times Funland theme park blog

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