Saudi Arabia has unveiled its latest record-breaking megaproject, the world’s fastest and highest rollercoaster promising speeds of 156mph and a drop measuring 640ft.
The Falcon’s Flight is set to be built at Six Flags Qiddiya, an entertainment centre in development near Riyadh as part of the country’s ambitious Vision 2030 goals.
A new video shows a projection of the proposed attraction as it twists and turns over 13,000ft of track, at one point lunging off the side of a cliff.
It is expected to dwarf the current record holder for height, the 456ft Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.
And it will outrun the quickest, too – currently the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which reaches speeds of 149mph and requires riders to wear goggles.
Projections show what rollercoaster fans could expect as they plummet 640ft off a cliff
The clip shows the scale of the planned ride against the backdrop of the vast desert landscape
At 250kmh, 155mph, the ride will be the fastest in the world, unsettling the record holder in Abu Dhabi
The project was presented this week by Intamin during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo.
Qiddiya’s Chief Executive Officer, Philippe Gas, said: ‘Rollercoaster fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating this ride since it was announced as there is nothing quite like it anywhere else.
‘Now we are in the design stage with the experts at Intamin and the engineering team at Six Flags, the excitement is building!
‘Falcon’s Flight will dominate the skyline at Qiddiya weave all the way around our destination, right out of the theme park, up the cliffside, and down the cliff face – the greatest drop of any ride in the world; it won’t be for the fainthearted.’
Six Flags Qiddiya is billed as ‘a theme park that will break all records of family fun and entertainment’, spread over six themed lands with ‘a range of record-breaking rides and attractions including the gravity-defying Falcon’s Flight’.
It is set to be built in Qiddiya, a planned city ‘on the doorstep of Riyadh’ being developed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
‘Our objective, in line with Vision 2030, is to ensure that Saudi Arabia is listed amongst the world’s top tourist destinations and we are proud of the local, regional and international media attention our project continues to attract,’ a website advertising the development plans reads.
Saudi Arabia, with one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, is planning a number of so-called megaprojects intended to reinvent its economy.
The planned smart city of Neom in northwest Saudi Arabia was announced by the Crown Prince in October 2017, also as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce oil dependence, diversify the economy and build up public service sectors.
The ambitious project would be powered exclusively by wind and solar power and is estimated to cost $500billion.
Critics have noted that only two buildings had been built by July 2022, ahead of the first phase completion date penned for 2025.
In January 2021, plans were unveiled for a 110-mile (170km) long, 660ft (200 metre) wide, linear city – ‘The Line’ – running through the region.
All basic services are expected to be within a five-minute walking distance for nine million residents.
But the project has drawn criticism for its data-collection surveillance technology and for sentencing to death people who were forcibly evicted and displaced to make way for the project.
Amnesty International observed that the Saudi Vision 2030 was enabled by a large-scale demolition and eviction plan which impacted half a million people in Jeddah alone, violation of international human rights standards and discriminating against foreign nationals.
Falcon’s Flight will be built in Six Flags Qiddiya a theme park that promises to ‘break all records of family fun and entertainment’
Formula 1-style cars are pictured racing around the rollercoaster at Six Flags Qiddiya
Qiddiya’s CEO said: ‘Rollercoaster fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating this ride since it was announced as there is nothing quite like it anywhere else.’
The planned rollercoaster will have space for 14 to ride at a time, the developers say
Saudi Arabia is also investing in Amaala, an upcoming sustainable megaproject of 2,500 hotel rooms and 200 retail shops, aiming to attract tourists to the Red Sea coast.
A number of cultural sites will also receive investment as the country looks to attract international tourists as part of its diversification move.
The Saudi Vision 2030 includes attracting 27 million domestic and foreign tourists.