Compact Coasters

that ranks as one of the world’s tallest inversions. With a single 18- seat train and tight seating rows loading is slow. Squeezed between a pair of

support towers, the Maurer SkyLoop is a clever yet simple German-based coaster featuring a vertical loop with a 152-foot-tall corkscrew inversion. Since 2004, the SkyLoop has shown up at 10 installations worldwide. At a height of 171 feet (52 m) it is a landmark attraction. The compact layout has one of the highest inversions on a small footprint. It is available in two standard versions, the XT150 and the extended XT450. On the Skyloop XT150, the humpty bump (vertical) lift is

Premier Rides’ Sky Rocket

Georg Pötzsch's figure of eight innovation

followed instantly by a 360° heart roll and a plummeting vertical drop at 65 mph (105 kph). After swinging spectacularly back and forth, again at impressive heights, the Maurer X-Car returns to the station or, depending on requirements and capacity, launches itself over the summit once more and embarks on another breathtaking ride. The footprint is 164 by 13 feet (150 by 4m). The extension to the XT150, designated the Skyloop XT450, immediately follows the plummeting vertical drop. The X-Car races past the station, taking passengers right into the extensions with more ride elements. Once more, the riders’ sense of orientation is challenged by an inverted ride element (“half cuban eight”), followed by an extremely high and steep camelback, with more than two seconds of airtime, as well as lifting forces of up to -1g. This is followed by an Immelmann turn with 127° banking, laid out as an inversion. Just before the station, riders can once more enjoy a one second airtime bump. It covers an area 361 by 108 feet (110 by 33 m).

Tower Power The next generation of compact vertical coasters may stretch more than 70 stories into the sky and smash height records. US Thrill Rides is teaming up with Intamin on a prototype Polercoaster that combines a drop tower with a coaster track wrapping around the exterior of a 700-foot-tall tower. But believe it or not, tower coasters date back to 1893. It

was then Karl L. Lehmann was granted US Patent 489,963 for a Tower with coaster track spiraling around its circumference. Now billed as the tallest roller coasters in the world, Polercoasters are expected to open in the next few

years in six US cities -- Orlando, Atlanta, Atlantic City, New York, Las Vegas and Nashville. The smaller version of the Polercoaster occupies a circle 60 feet (18 m) in diameter. A larger version, one with a figure of eight, would require space 60 by 120 feet (18 by 37 m).

No discussion of compact vertical coaster is complete without

mentioning the 59-foot (18 m) Fire Ball from Larson International, and its larger version the 72-foot (22 m) Giant Loop. But neither the Fireball or Giant Loop are compact vertical coasters. They may look like coasters, but they are continuously powered by rotating tyres. Roller coasters are for some portion of the ride powered by gravity. They both roll and coast. Fireballs roll but never coast. Skyline Attractions has introduced Skywarp, which looks

like a figure of eight version of the Fireball. But vertical figure of eight coasters are not without precedent. Georg Pötzsch of Munich was granted US Patent 4,693,183 in 1987 for Track System for a Passenger-Accommodating Vehicle as Part of a Rollercoaster. The track system is a drop leading into a figure-8 laid on its side, not unlike Skywarp. But Skywarp incorporates modern technology with a big

structure, speed, inversions, interaction, and capacity while simplifying operations and maintenance. The dual-loop thrill ride produces a duelling near-miss element that brings riders tantalisingly close to one another by using a single train with passengers at each end. The technique effectively creates simultaneous two-train operation without a costly PLC that relies on block logic and maintenance-intensive sensors. Riders seated facing each other, twist sideways and upside- down as they accelerate through twin Immelmann inversions. The ride is 62 feet (19 m) tall with a track length of 360

feet (110 m) and fits on a site just 30 feet (9 m) wide and 120 feet (37 m) long. It seats 32 riders per cycle, 800 per hour. Skywarp will use drive tyres as the standard propulsion

method, but linear synchronous motors are an optional substitute to further streamline the system. Both methods will gradually rock the train back and forth until reaching full speed, reducing power consumption and minimising required infrastructure improvements. Those park operators with a little more land available may also wish to consider rides like the Eurofighter by Gerstlauer or the Zamperla Thunderbolt. Both have space- saving vertical lift hills.

Karl Lehmann’s 1893 patent 34 APRIL 2017

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