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Sky-high ambition

During more than 20 years in the business, Bill Kitchen has been responsible for the installation of more than 300 rides. His first invention was the SkyCoaster, which rapidly became a safe alternative to the then-booming bungee attractions. Today, SkyCoaster has delivered tens of millions of rides without incident. Kitchen’s next invention was

SkyVenture, the indoor skydiving attraction. This virtual freefall simulator has been a hit worldwide, with some 35 SkyVenture vertical tunnels in operation at amusement outlets and tourist destinations worldwide.

Next Kitchen invented the UniCooaster, a flat ride licensed to Chance Rides. Two years ago Bill Kitchen set his sights on reinventing the Ferris Wheel by designing the not- necessarily-round SkyView observation wheel. “We like to think of it as Ferris Wheel 2.0,"”says Kitchen. “It is more beautiful, stronger, and costs less than its

predecessors.” The first

example has yet to be built. Kitchen’s SkySpire concept (as pictured),

which features a similar tower structure to the Polercoaster, features a

spiral track with climate-

controlled gondolas that offer a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views during their asecent to the top. An

observation tower at the summit provides the ultimate view. Now, with the Polercoaster, Kitchen hopes to take things to new heights.

Polercoaster US Thrillrides reaches for the sky!

The man who invented the SkyCoaster and SkyVenture is at it again. Bill Kitchen, founder of US Thrillrides, has applied his ingenuity by re- inventing the rollercoaster by going vertical. Here he tells Park World readers why he’s decided to reach for the sky one more time

he best place for world-class coasters is also where the land is most valuable,” observes Kitchen. “We wanted to create an attraction that would fit in a very small amount of this valuable space.” Kitchen’s solution is the Polercoaster – a coaster on a pole – which turns the rollercoaster on its end. The ride takes the same length of track with loops, dips, twists and all the other whoop-de-dos that deliver a great coaster ride and stacks them into a tiny footprint at a modest price. And if that’s not enough, US Thrillrides will even add an observation tower on top. The ride’s vertical configuration promises an exciting visual experience with great marketing potential and scope for exceptional lighting options and signage. Sure to be signature attraction for any park, the Polercoaster creates a beautiful icon that can be seen for miles. “The added retail space on top ‘refunds’ the land space to the owners,” explains Kitchen. “Imagine that – two big attractions on the same small space, only 80 to 100ft in diameter! Our pending patents will provide exclusivity to the owner/operator. You won’t see a taller version spring up five miles down the road.” Operation is simple. Each ride vehicle, seating


between four and 14 passengers, with seats arranged either in two rows of two or four, is boarded by guests at ground level. They are then

elevated by a lift to the top, loading them with enormous potential energy. Gravity then takes over, turning that stored energy into adrenaline-pumping excitement. Exhilarated guests disembark at the bottom. The attraction can be built from 100 to 500ft (30m to 152m) in height, with a track length between 1,500 and 6,500ft (457m to 1,981m). The base diameter will range between 80 and 100ft (24 to 30m). Built on a space frame structure, it will boast substantial capacity to suspend weight and support the forces created by the ride. Each installation will use proven off-the-shelf components including Allen Bradley controls. Electromagnetic trim braking will be backed up with a secondary braking system and emergency standby system.

A wide range of coaster configurations are possible,

including loops and rolls, and riders will travel both clockwise and counter-clockwise, reversing direction around the tower. An active ride time between one and three-and-a-half minutes is predicted, including a 30 to 60 second ascent. Depending on the track layout chosen; the coaster can should be able to carry between 850 and 2,000 riders per hour. Fitted with two cable-free glass elevators carrying 12 to 20 passengers, the structure can be topped by an open or enclosed observation tower, with enough room for a restaurant, retail outlet or bar. “Polercoaster will be high, thrilling, fast and fun,” promises Kitchen. “The ride will feel different than any other coaster. And for the more timid, there’s the glass elevator ride to the top to and the chance to enjoy some ‘liquid courage’ in the bar before the coaster ride!” To help market and manufacturer Polercoaster, US Thrillrides has entered into an agreement with S&S- Sansei.

"Given S&S’ vast experience with the design and manufacture of precision coasters and other ride systems, we're very happy to have secured such a valuable strategic partnership,” says US Thrillrides president Michael Kitchen. “We look forward to the installation of multiple Polercoasters in the very near term.”

More details on the ride can be discovered by visiting US Thrillrides on the S&S-Sansei booth (#5100) at IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando.

LEFT: Polercoaster after dark RIGHT: Bill Kitchen

36 NOVEMBER 2012

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