Yes, you are not dreaming. I'm back, and the website is going to look a lot different very soon. The format is going to be similar, but we're focusing on a lot less minuscule features so that I don't become overwhelmed with updates, and abandon the project again. You probably won't see daily updates anymore. You'll probably also see many new features that you weren't expecting. But it's all for the best when it comes to the longevity and quality of the site.
Today we're going to focus on this year's IAAPA Expo and all the new products and cool features that the industry has to show off! Check out this tour from In The Loop showing some awesome footage of the show floor:
Great Coasters Intl
GCI has unveiled a new model of their wooden roller coasters that will be able to take steeper turns, drops, and even perform inversions. This picture doesn't show it, but GCI is also going to begin production of a new train model given the working title "Infinity Flyers". Contrary to their current Millennium Flyer trains, these will have improved steering mechanisms, and hydraulic locking lap bars which bring inversions into play.
In order to ensure smoothness and structural integrity for these new elements, they will begin to incorporate steel supports into sections of their track, as seen above on the first drop and barrel rolls.
This is interesting to me, because I know that GCI has been interested in designing a wooden coaster with inversions for at least five years now. A concept was even released for Darien Lake's Predator at that time, and while it had no visuals, GCI was the scouting company, and several of the discussed elements were indeed inversions. While for a traditional wooden coaster, theme park chains have preferred GCI to Gravity Group, Gravity Group's Timberliner trains do have the ability to go upside down, something GCI has been lacking. This model may be finally able to catch them up to RMC and Gravity Group in the modern wooden coaster race.
Here is a photo of Kennywood's new Steel Curtain trains for their record breaking ride. To many people's surprise, despite the coaster's 9 inversions, there will be lap bar restraints. The design of course is a Pittsburgh Steelers theme, and the hood of the train features the number 33, as 1933 was the year that the team debuted.
Vertical construction has already begun at the park for this massive new ride.
For a third consecutive year, Dynamic Systems will take home a Brass Ring Award for best new attraction. This system combines elements of a roller coaster, motion simulator, and "slot car" style ride system all in one.
Hidden below a faux surface is a complex electric, LSM, and coaster track drive system. A vehicle that rests above the hidden surface is on shocks that will be able to replicate moments of drifting, air time, and dueling tracks.
According to Dynamic Systems, one has already been sold and will open in 2019. It worries me a bit considering the issues they have been having with getting Ferrari World's SFX coaster up and running, but this is also a company who has helped produce show stoppers like Soarin' and Test Track. You have to also remember that projects the caliber of this have never been attempted before.
After months of speculation, the new roller coaster known as SW8 in Alton Towers code has finally been given its name. The wooden roller coaster built by Great Coasters Intl. will be named Wicker Man.
In true Alton towers fashion, the name was released with a complete advertising package of amazing visuals, soundtracks, and outside marketing, such as lighting up the London Eye. If you haven't seen that image yet, I recommend that you look it up, as it is stunning.
The press release for the ride mentions that the ride will pass through the Wicker Man structure three times during the ride, and will combine wood and fire effects. Wicker Man gets its name from the 1973 film "The Wicker Man", starring Christopher Lee, and subsequent remakes/sequels of the film.
The plot of the film involves the protagonist visiting a remote island to search for a lost girl. After learning of the island's traditions, it becomes apparent to him that the lost girl is intended to be a human sacrifice to "please the farming gods". Responding to the findings, the protagonist begins a violent rampage, only to be informed that he himself is intended to be the human sacrifice, because he meets the requirements of the gods. The movie ends with the protagonist sent to death, burning in a gigantic Wicker Man statue.
It is unknown how much of the plot will be used for the ride, but at the very least, the ride will take its theming from this. Wicker Man will be a historic roller coaster for the UK, becoming the first wooden roller coaster to open since Oakwood's Megafobia in 1996. Much of the reasoning for this drought of wooden roller coasters is because the British public views traditional wooden roller coasters as old fashioned, rough, and unsafe.
This stereotype should be burned away with the opening of this ride, as it features some of the latest innovations in wooden coaster building. Along with featuring GCI's smooth track profile and Millennium Flyer trains, this will be the first "twister" layout wooden roller coaster to debut in the UK. The lift hill features a varying grade to fall within the height restrictions of the park, and a silent rollback system to minimize noise pollution. It is assumed that the ride will also feature magnetic braking, and other GCI standard features.
The ride reportedly has begun testing a month ago, and is slated to open sometime in Spring 2018. This is truly one of the things to look forward to if you are a UK coaster fan. Be sure to visit the ride's official website for stats and media.