£2m new ride’s a thriller!

An Artists impression of the Red Arrows Sky Force ride
An Artists impression of the Red Arrows Sky Force ride

Blackpool Pleasure Beach today unveiled plans for a £2m new white-knuckle ride based on the world famous Red Arrows.

The park has linked up with the Royal Air Force aerobatics team to launch the Red Arrows Sky Force which is expected to be ready for take off by next spring.

Complete with Red Arrows livery and its own control tower, the 72ft high, 12-seat ride will take thrill-seekers on a 360-degree tour of the skies.

It will be built alongside the Big One rollercoaster and means the Pleasure Beach will become the world’s first tourist attraction to have a ride based on the top aerobatic display team.

Riders will take control of their own Red Arrows cockpit for an adrenaline-fuelled flight in formation.

Amanda Thompson, managing director of the Pleasure Beach, said: “The Red Arrows are a British institution so it was a perfect fit for the UK’s number one amusement park to work with them.

“They are an amazing sight to see when they are in the skies and I am certain our new ride will give our guests a unique thrill they will want to experience again and again.”

Deputy managing director Nick Thompson added: “We cannot wait to launch our new ride for the 2015 season.

“We are the first amusement park in the UK to work with the Red Arrows on such an exciting project and we know it will be something unique for thrill-seekers to experience.”

The Red Arrows are firm favourites at the Blackpool Air Show each summer and this year the team celebrated its 50th display season.

Their Hawk jets were built by BAE Systems which manufactures the jet at Warton.

Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton, team manager of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “The Red Arrows have enjoyed a long association with Blackpool and the Pleasure Beach during the team’s 50-year history.

“The new Sky Force ride is a wonderful, and unique, means to continue this relationship and provides an exciting way for people to learn more about the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force and the role the service plays in protecting the UK.

“The team are also thrilled the ride will take pride of place adjacent to the Big One.

“It is also fantastic that the north west of England will get to enjoy and play host to a permanent Red Arrows experience.”

It is the latest in a series of recent investments in new rides by the Pleasure Beach.

The £10.3m Nickelodeon Land opened in 2011 after Blackpool Council lent the park £5m towards the project, while Thrill-O-Matic, based on the Wallace and Gromit characters, opened in 2013, costing £5.25m, and part-funded by a £2m loan from the Lancashire Enterprises Partnership Growing Places fund.

The Red Arrows Sky Force will be fully funded by the Pleasure Beach.

Work will take place over the winter on a currently vacant plot of land in the south of the park.

Robert Owen, director of marketing at the Pleasure Beach, said they had approached the Red Arrows who it was felt were the perfect fit for the concept of the ride.

He added: “Since 2011, our major investment - in Nickelodeon Land and Thrill-O-Matic - has been for family markets so this investment is about a new ride for our thrill-seekers.

“With the combined investment that the Pleasure Beach has made and other investments in the town, combined with the increase in visitor numbers we have seen this season so far, we are confident a new ride will enhance this even more and pave the way for a positive 2015 season.”