The tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka, a 456-foot high vertical steel roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Kingda Ka was built in May 2005 and currently holds the record for being both the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest roller coaster in North America, with a top speed of 128 miles per hour. The ride outranks the number two tallest roller coaster, Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, by 36 feet.
Riders who challenge Kingda Ka are blasted up the ride's 45-story climb by hydraulic launch. Unlike most coasters which travel the fastest during the first drop, "Kingda Ka" actually reaches its top speed as it's climbing up the first hill. During the coaster's 270-degree drop of over 400 feet, riders travel at about 120 miles per hour. Getting the ride's train up to that speed out of the gate requires some serious engine power. The hydraulics that propel riders on Kingda Ka out of the station and up the first incline are capable of producing 20,800 horsepower.
Thrillseekers who attempt to ride Kingda Ka really only have to make it past the initial drop. The ride lasts a mere 59 seconds and is only a little over 3,000 feet long. After the first drop and spiral, riders are dropped down a sharp valley and up another 129-foot climb. This sudden transition from up to down to back up creates a temporary feeling of weightlessness.
When Kingda Ka premiered, it was not only the world's tallest roller coaster, but also the world's fastest roller coaster. In 2010, its speed was surpassed by Fomula Rossa, a thrill ride at Dubai's Ferrari World. Formula Rossa travels at an astonishing top speed of 149 miles per hour.