New for 2016: Air becomes Galactica

Alton Towers has transformed Air into Galactica, the world's first rollercoaster dedicated to virtual reality.

The exhilarating new experience combines all the physical exertion and adrenaline rush of the iconic flying rollercoaster Air, with the breathtaking emotive experience of travelling through space. Cutting edge technology launches riders into a different world, with stunning visuals that are perfectly synchronised to the thrilling twists, turns and inversions of the rollercoaster to recreate the sensation of hurtling through space.

The original Air entrance, queue and station have all had an overhaul, with new signs and theming introduced to create a much stronger identity and a more immersive experience.

Screens along the queue provide information about your journey into space, and before entering the station you pass through a photo point where your individual Space Selfie is taken, which adds to the build up to the ride. The station is now fully enclosed, to form a space port from which your craft will depart. Screens provide pre-boarding information, including how to put on and adjust your virtual reality headset.

Upon boarding, the ride host cleans your headset and once you have strapped it securely to your head and made any adjustments all the final checks are completed. The headsets are quite heavy, so ensure that it is on tightly so that it does not wobble around during the ride.

Your flight now begins, guided by Eve the artificial intelligence who narrates the experience through speakers built into your headset. After passing through a departure area you launch through the first portal, which is equipped with sound, light and smoke effects to add to the experience for both those on and watching the ride. Your intergalactic adventure now takes you out of Earth’s orbit into a wormhole onto distant galaxies including Nero 5 with monster volcanoes and flows of lava, and Kepler 9 which is a frozen world of ice and snow. You then return to Earth's orbit and after narrowly avoiding asteroids and space stations pass through a final portal and back to the space port.

Throughout the whole ride, the virtual reality is perfectly synkronized with the movements of the rollercoaster and the added effects, so we experienced no disorientation or nausea at all. We were really impressed with the new experience, which adds a whole new dimension to the already excellent rollercoaster.

Galactica Facts:

  • Total G­force: 3.5 G's
  • Track length: 840 metres
  • Height of drop: 20 metres
  • Ride duration: 189 seconds
  • Maximum speed: 75km per hour
  • Capacity per car: 28 passengers
  • Capacity per hour: 1500 passengers