The Granada Studios complex operated as a theme park between 1988 and 1999. The park built the infamous Skytrak ride, the world’s first flying roller coaster.
Named after and inspired by the Gladiators event on their hit ITV show, the park had high hopes for the ride. Maurice Kelly, Divisional Director for the Granada theme parks hailed the ride prior to its debut stating that, “Nobody has ever seen or experienced anything like it before. Not only are passengers out there on their own, they’re actually flying head first, with the incredible sensations of solo flight.”
Skytrak was designed and built by Skytrak International, a subsidiary of Fairpoint Engineering, based in the small village of Adlington, to the North East of Manchester.
The ride was like nothing the roller coaster world had seen before, the technology was unproven and the ride suffered numerous challenges during construction and testing.
The wheel bogies had to be redesigned and replaced prior to the ride opening. This delayed the scheduled official opening of the ride from Summer until October 1997. The ride operated sporadically throughout the 1998 season until it was closed permanently in October 1998.
In 2000, the Dutch manufacturer Vekoma launched the first successful flying roller coaster. Stealth debuted at Great America in California. In 2002, Alton Towers launched Air, the first flying roller coaster from B&M.