The Bat

The Bat was a suspended roller coaster located at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. Designed by Arrow Development, it was billed as the "first of its kind" in the world when it opened to the public on April 26, 1981. The suspended coaster concept was a radical departure from traditional roller coaster design, where guests ride below the track instead of above. Previous attempts to build coasters that hang from the track were unsuccessful and date as far back as the early 20th century. Arrow solved issues by utilizing modern technology in the design, including its tubular steel track developed in 1959 for Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds. Arrow constructed a working prototype in 1978 capturing Kings Island's interest, and their engineering department assisted with the development, construction, and maintenance of the ride. The Bat required 18 months of design and two years of manufacturing and assembly. The anticipation leading up to the reveal and opening was intense, as park officials disclosed very little while construction was taking place in view of park guests. Despite a successful launch and reception, the suspended coaster was plagued with mechanical problems and frequent closures over the course of its short lifespan. After a sporadic three seasons, the ride was permanently closed in 1983 and removed from the park. Arrow implemented improved banking and braking design in future installations that were more successful, such as Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which opened in 1984.