World's Tallest Coaster May Find Home in Vegas

PHOTO: A rendering of the proposed Polercoaster. The Polercoaster structure would be 650 feet tall, according to a filing with the FAA.

The newest attraction on the Las Vegas Strip may not be a new hotel, casino or nightclub but a 650-foot roller coaster.

If a coaster of this size were to be built, it would be the world's tallest. Currently, the tallest in the world is the 456-foot tall Kingda Ka at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure.

Florida-based U.S. Thrill Rides submitted an application in April to the Federal Aviation Administration for the so-called "Polercoaster." The application is classified as a "work in progress."

Polercoaster is designed to be two attractions in one: a roller coaster and an observation tower. The coaster, according to Michael Kitchen, president of U.S. Thrill Rides, would have a very small footprint.

That's a necessity in a city as developed as Las Vegas. Most roller coasters take up several acres of land.

The Polercoaster, Kitchen said, "loads from the bottom, takes patrons to breathtaking heights up the center of the tower and then descends down around the structure with multiple inversions, loops and direction changes."

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Federal law requires developers to give the FAA the opportunity to review any structure more than 200 feet tall to determine if it could pose a hazard to aircraft or navigation aids and, if so, whether the hazard could be mitigated. It's up to the local government to decide whether to issue a building permit.

For those who'd prefer to skip the drops and loops, there's the observation deck. The U.S. Thrill Rides website said the observation tower would be serviced by two glass elevators. "This allows operators to use the two levels on top as an observation deck and retail-restaurant space, providing additional revenue," the website reads.

According to a map filed with the FAA application, the site of the Polercoaster appears to be at or very near the Tropicana Las Vegas. Tropicana Chief Marketing Officer Fred Harmon would not comment specifically on the proposal. "We have been approached by many companies, given the quality of our location. However, no commitments have been made," he said.

Kitchen would not specifically comment on the location in the proposal. He did say, however, that "Vegas is rebounding and is unarguably one of the best tourism markets in the world."

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