A wooden racing coaster with an out and back layout, American Eagle bears the distinction of being the first wooden coaster designed by Intamin. It probably holds a record for longest entryway to a ride, as it’s necessary to go up and down a number of ramps and flights of stairs to get to the loading station. There are four trains – two red and two blue – each of which accommodates 30 riders (five cars seating two across in rows of three). Upon leaving the station, the blue train makes a left turn and the red train makes a right turn before ascending a 127-foot lift hill. Both trains then drop 147 feet on a straight course – but not at the same time – then travel over a couple of airtime hills and hit a set of trim brakes before entering a left-banked 560-degree helix, in which the red train has the inside track. This is followed by more airtime hills and a second helix. The red and blue trains are not always on the same course or going through the same elements until they hit the brake run and it’s a matter of which one crosses the finish line first.
The ride experience is excellent, not nearly as rough as would be expected for a coaster that’s been operating since 1981. A 147-foot drop is remarkable for a wooden racing coaster; that’s 57 feet more than Hersheypark’s Lightning Racer, another outstanding wooden racing coaster! The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it is SOOOO slow right before entering the first helix. Otherwise it’s fine. American Eagle is simply a delight. 4 out of 5 stars. For more information about rides at Six Flags Great America, visit www.sixflags.com/greatamerica