LSM (Linear Synchronous Motors) technology is a form of electro-magnetic propulsion that has become the most commonly used standard for launched roller coasters. LSMs are straightened versions of permanent magnet rotor motors where the rate of movement of the magnetic field is electronically controlled to produce motion and are generally used to replace a traditional lift hill and do not contain any moving parts.
When the train approaches one of the track magnets (commonly called stators), it’s set to attract the rare-earth magnets on the train car bogies, pulling the train forward. After the train passes over the stator, it’s reversed to repel the train magnet, pushing the cars down the track.
INTAMIN REVERSE FREEFALL COASTER
Manufactured in 1996, Intamin‘s troubled Reverse Freefall Coasters began with the twin tracks of Superman: The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, USA, which suffered from technical issues and didn’t open to the public until the following year. In 1997 the single-tracked Tower of Terror at Dreamworld also opened in Australia. Despite each having a designed speed of 100 mph, neither really hit that mark.
In 2010 the one in Australia was converted to a Freefall Coaster by changing the position of the trains so riders face backwards and they now look toward the ground rather than the sky on the vertical track drop. The same thing happened with the one in California the following year and it was renamed Superman: Escape from Krypton. While the Superman coaster continues to operate, Tower of Terror II closed in 2019.
INTAMIN BLITZ COASTER
Consistently ranked among the best by enthusiasts, Intamin Blitz coasters feature multiple LSM launches and custom layouts. Maverick at Cedar Point in Ohio, USA, was the first to open in 2007 and features a LSM launch lift hill in addition to another LSM launch in a tunnel under the loading station.
The overwhelming success of Maverick along with the the more family-friendly Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa in Florida, USA, which opened in 2011, has led to many more Blitz Coasters being installed at parks the world over.
INTAMIN HALF PIPE COASTER
Following the success of their Impulse Coasters, Intamin created the smaller footprint Half Pipe coasters starting in 2003. Again a LSM launch propels the car forward and backward up the compact U-shaped track. The cars are designed like skate boards with two sets of six rotating seats that spin freely.
Intamin created a variation called Surfrider Coasters, the most well known being RC Racer for the Disney parks in France and Hong Kong. Inspired from Mattel’s popular Hot Wheels line of toy cars, the coaster features a wide orange track and a race car themed train.
See also: Half Pipe Coasters
INTAMIN AQUA TRAX COASTER
The only other LSM launched coaster Intamin produced is the Aqua Trax model, which is a coaster with a variety of water interactions and effects. Only one has been built thus far – Atlantis Adventure at Lotte World in South Korea.
GERSTLAUER LSM LAUNCH COASTER
Gerstlauer’s first LSM launched coaster opened in 2008 – Lynet at Fårup Sommerland in Denmark. The custom looping coaster was followed by the similar Anubis: The Ride at Plopsaland De Panne in Belgium a year later.
In addition to the two custom launched loopers, Gerstlauer added LSM launches to a few of their popular Euro-Fighter and Infinity coasters including Fluch von Novgorod at Hansa Park in Germany, Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan and Karacho at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill in Germany.
MACK RIDES LSM LAUNCH COASTERS
Mack Rides entered the LSM launched coaster market in 2009 with the extremely popular blue fire Megacoaster at Europa Park in Germany. In fact, the Blue Fire model proved to be so popular that it’s been duplicated at many other parks around the world.
Manta at SeaWorld San Diego in California, USA, opened in 2012 as the first Mark Rides coaster to feature dual LSM launches. Two years later the company’s second dual launch coaster, Helix at Liseberg in Sweden, became the world’s second longest coaster with an inversion and remains one of the top ranked European coasters.
In 2018 Silver Dollar City in Missouri, USA, opened Time Traveler, the first Mack Rides inverting coaster that spins. These Xtreme Spinning Coasters also feature dual LSM launches and a huge drop out of the station.
MAURER LSM LAUNCH COASTER
Maurer added a LSM launch to their popular X-Car coasters in 2007 with the opening of Formule X at Drievliet Family Park in the Netherlands. Since then larger, faster versions have opened including Freischütz at Bayern Park in Germany and Shock at Rainbow MagicLand in Italy.
PREMIER RIDES SKY ROCKET
Marketed as a triple-launch coaster, the Premier Sky Rocket II has a single LSM launch that is used three times. First the train launches forward out of the station up into a partial twist, then falls back into the station to be launched backward into another partial twist only to drop back into the station for a final launch fast enough to make it through an in-line twist at the top of a 150 foot loop. The circuit is completed by traveling through a smaller non-inverting loop.
By far the company’s most popular coaster due to it’s tiny footprint and reasonable cost, at least one Sky Rocket II has been built every year since Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California opened in 2012.
Premier also manufacturers custom Sky Rocket coasters by request from parks, like Sky Rocket at Kennywood in Pennsylvania and Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California (both USA). Although Sky Rocket only has a single launch, it was the first in 2010 and features three inversions, including a rare cutback inversion, and an abundance of hang time. Full Throttle, 2013’s Sky Rocket II model, is the world’s fastest vertical looping coaster and features two forward launches and one backwards launch. It also has the first ever top hat constructed on an inversion.
VEKOMA LSM LAUNCH COASTER
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, USA, was Vekoma’s first LSM launch coaster when it opened in 1999. It was followed up by another at Walt Disney Studios Park in France three years later, but in between Xpress, a non-enclosed clone, opened at the Walibi Park in the Netherlands.
Xpress: Platform 13 at Walibi Holland, Netherlands
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney Studios Park, France
ZIERER LSM LAUNCH COASTER
Zierer manufacturers LSM launch coasters upon requests from parks. The first was Wicked at Lagoon in Utah, USA, which opened in 2007 and features a launch up a vertical lift hill. The company’s second was Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia, USA. It opened in 2012 and features two launches as well as three different themes and a vertical drop track in the enclosed section of the ride.
B&M LSM LAUNCHED WING COASTER
At the request of the park, Bolliger & Mabillard manufactured their first Wing Coaster with a LSM launch at Holiday Park in Indiana, USA. Called Thunderbird, the coaster’s trains have five cars as compared to the usual 7-8 normally found on this coaster type.
RMC LSM LAUNCH LIFT HILL COASTER
In 2016, Rocky Mountain Construction manufactured their first coaster with a LSM launch lift hill. Although never confirmed, it is widely believed that the opening of Lightning Rod at Dollywood in Tennessee, USA, suffered from delays due to issues with the LSM launch, which was the first developed by Velocity Magnetics in Pennsylvania, USA. After many seasons of lengthy downtime due to technical issues, the coaster was closed for I-Box retracking in 2020.
S&S – SANSEI TECHNOLOGIES LSM LAUNCH COASTER
S&S – Sansei Technologies took inspiration from Premier’s Sky Rocket II in creating their first LSM launch coaster when GaleForce was built in 2016 at Playland’s Castaway Cove in New Jersey, USA. However, the coaster suffered many delays fine tuning the triple launch and didn’t open until the following year.