Originally Built: May 1974
Original Location: Spokane, Washington
Opened: 3 Apr 1976
Location: North Midway
Designed By: Ingenieur Büro Stengel – Munich, Germany
Manufactured By: Schwarzkopf – Münsterhausen, Germany
Ride Model: Jet Star 2
Lift Type: Spiral Chain Lift
Max Speed: 45 mph
Max Height: 44 ft
Max Drop: 42 ft
Ride Duration: 1 min, 30 sec
Track Length: 1,919 ft
Number Of Trains: 8
Ride Capacity: 8 per train (2 in front, 3 in middle & back rows)
Hourly Capacity: 1,680
A common misconception of the name Jet Star 2 is that it’s the second Jet Star at Lagoon. However, the name actually comes from being the second Jet Star model developed by Anton Schwarzkopf of Germany.
Schwarzkopf’s first Jet Star opened in Austria in 1968 with features that were fairly unique at the time including a tubular steel track and a 180-degree turn immediately after the first drop. The Jet Star 2, introduced two years later, had further innovations like a spiral lift and higher capacity cars with on-board motors powered by electricity to drive them to the top. The Jet Star 3 or Jumbo Jet was a larger model with two cars coupled together. Next was the City Jet or Jet 400 which was smaller than the Jet Star 2, but capable of handling the two-car trains of the Jet Star 3. Schwarzkopf’s Jumbo V could be considered to be an evolution of the Jet Star series. It opened in 1983, ten years after the most recent Jet Star model premiered. It didn’t have a spiral lift and looked more like other Schwarzkopf coasters that had been created during the previous decade, but like other Jet Star models it had several tight turns within a relatively small footprint.
AT THE WORLD’S FAIR
Spokane, Washington became the smallest town to host a world’s fair when it held Expo ’74. The Great Northwestern Midway was put into place just in time for the opening of the six-month fair. Out of 21 rides, the major attraction was the Jet Star 2 which opened along with the rest of the fair on May 4th. It was located in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, near where the Spokane Convention Center is today. Even though it was only there for half a year, it left enough of an impression for a Spokane brewery to name a beer after it decades later.¹ After the fair closed, the site of the fair became Riverfront Park. Most of the rides are said to have been shipped to Tel Aviv, Israel (possibly Luna Park Tel Aviv, a park that opened in the ’70s). But Jet Star 2 had a much shorter trip to its new home at Lagoon. A Deseret News article in March 1976 claims, “It was ordered two years ago, to be fashioned after a similar ride in West Germany.”
Lagoon brought its total of operating coasters to four when Jet Star 2 opened at the park in spring 1976. It was advertised as the only one of its kind in North America.
While at Expo ’74, Jet Star 2 had tan supports and orange track. A photo of the ride at Lagoon in 1976 shows it with blue supports and orange track. It was repainted again some time after 1982 with yellow supports and the track remaining orange.
Speaking of 1982, check out this old film showing Jet Star 2 and UFO at Lagoon.
Today, Lagoon’s Jet Star 2 is one of only a handful still operating in the world. Lagoon has had to take certain measures to keep the ride running for over three decades. In or around 1991, Fabriweld of Clearfield, Utah replaced some portions of the track. An updated computer safety system was installed by Setpoint of Ogden in 1998. After the 2004 season, Jet Star 2 was completely dismantled, repainted and repaired. It reopened on 23 July 2005 with its new red supports, yellow track and newly repainted cars.
The large electrical sign was also repainted and returned to the top of the ride in 2005. But it was taken down again around 2006 when a new catwalk was added to the spiral lift and the sign never returned.
Jet Star 2 had lighting features similar to what Colossus: The Fire Dragon has (also a Schwarzkopf coaster) that have been described as flames or crowns. They existed until at least 1988, but were replaced by the early ’90s with much simpler lighting fixtures. In an effort to increase the ride’s hourly capacity, a new dual loading platform was added in 2012, but is rarely used.
1. No-Li Brewhouse of Spokane lists Jet Star Imperial among its signature brews. It carries the following description: “Remember that first thrill ride and mind altering experience? Jet Star Imperial IPA shatters your senses in a way that has not been seen since Spokane’s ’74 World Expo.” The label of one of its other brews depicts symbols of Riverfront Park where Expo ’74 was held.
MORE FROM LHP
Photos of Expo ’74 from The Spokesman-Review archives
New Jet Ride set at Lagoon. Deseret News, 17 Mar 1976.
Jet Star 2. Schwarzkopf-Coaster.net, accessed 2 Jul 2013.
Riverfront Park. Roller Coaster Database, accessed 2 Jul 2013.
Jet Star 2 – Lagoon (Farmington, Utah, USA). Roller Coaster Database, accessed 2 Jul 2013.
Amusements. Expo ’74: The Spokane World’s Fair, accessed 2 Jul 2013.
Brews. NoLi Brewhouse, accessed 30 Jul 2013.
Jet Star 2 Discussion Thread. LagoonIsFun.com Forum, accessed 24 Jul 2013.
Jet Star 2 info. Email message to author from Ian, 25 Nov 2003.