500' Barrier Ever to Be Breached?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:37 AM
matt.'s avatar

djDaemon said:

If this logic were sound, we'd eventually see a 5,000 foot coaster. That just doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Assuming a constant rate of around +100 feet every +10 years (yes, I know this is not quite what we're seeing but I don't like math that much) the 5000' height mark would be....several hundred years from now? Sure, I'll bet on a mile tall coaster in the year 2500. :)

Still, it's a silly calculation. The difference between a 100' and 200' coaster, as we've seen is huge. Still huge for 200' and 300'. Harder to say for 300' to 400' since the 400' guys are all launched and don't have traditional lifts and drops. Still, it's easy to say that the marginal difference in sensation from a 600' to 700' tall coaster would be pretty small. :) Diminishing returns for sure!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:43 AM

The big limiter would be cost and land space for such a large ride.

MF cost $25 million back in 2000... Today, it would cost $33.3 million today with inflation, roughly.

Space is another big limiter, although if you take a look at Hershey you can see anything is possible space wise (Great Bear).

With modern structural designs (see I305) they can use less supports and more advanced engineering to use less steel to support such large rides. G-Forces would be nothing, as those can easily be designed to be safe and comfortable. Longer pullouts and gradual transitions would easily overcome this, however, space would be the enemy here.

I think Intamin would love the chance at a 500' coaster, if someone was willing to pay for it. Of course, they would poorly engineer the ride like they did with I305 and Maverick and require modifications to the original design because they seem to have gotten worse over the years... I miss the days of their old megacoaster designs, such as SROS, Expedition GeForce, MF, etc... Not a fan of the newer designs which focus more on forces than a pleasureable ride experience IMO.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:55 AM

I think I read somewhere after the construction of m force that Intamin could go about 750 with a cable lift. That was years ago. That was the technology around 2000. I also remember there was a S and S power prototype drop tower/coaster for the strotosphere tower in Las Vegas that was 750 tall.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:58 AM

People keep bringing up space as a limiting factor against a 500' ride, but consider this:

With the exception of actually building the tower itself, Intamin already "solved" both of these problems with Formula Rossa. They just launch to the speed needed to get to the record, then brake back to reasonable speeds for the bulk of the layout.

The only thing stopping a 500' coaster with a full I305 or Formula Rossa style layout after the big tower from existing is that no park has asked for one. The technology already exists.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:05 PM
Vater's avatar

djDaemon said:

If this logic were sound, we'd eventually see a 5,000 foot coaster. That just doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Not now. But what about after another couple millenniums of technological advances? Heh.

I kid...sort of. I figured someone would point out the flaw in my logic, but I guess I assumed "within reason" didn't need to be stated. Personally, I think 500 feet is reasonable (and achievable) now. Jury's still out as to whether or not we'll ever see a first drop from Alphonsus to Sandusky.

Last edited by Vater, Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:09 PM
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:18 PM

Vater said:Personally, I think 500 feet is reasonable (and achievable) now.

I think if it were reasonable (that is, if a business case could be made), it would have been done already.

As has been pointed out, hills have traditionally been required to impart potential energy into the train. With various flavors of launches now commonplace, who needs a lift hill?

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:21 PM
Vater's avatar

Uh oh. Are we going to have to have the Great Adventure hotel discussion again?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:25 PM


700 ft arrow fish hook coaster

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:25 PM
Jeff's avatar

I would love to find the origin of that CB meme.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:50 PM
Vater's avatar

The conversation began here. And then the meme was derived from this.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:33 PM

I still contend that there is a height or speed that will be the peak for the average rider...even the average coaster rider. Beyond that I think the "draw" begins to diminish and how much do you really want to spend on something that people (en masse) are not interested in riding?

They cannot commit $20-$30 million on a ride that is only of interest to 25% of the rider population. Look at what happened on Disney's Mission: Space. There were enough people who did not want the "full" experience that they retrofitted it to accommodate more of the masses.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:33 PM

I read on another forum that SFGA had a pre season preview thing, where you got to ask questions to some SF bigwig.

When asked about a hotel he answered that they would love to have one, but due to Six Flags policy of not advertising in other SF park's regional area, they would only be allowed to advertise it in NJ, PA and DE, due to MD and NY having Six Flags parks there, so they weren't going to build one.

He also said they would love for some hotel chain to partner with them and build one, but there have been no takers. I stand by my statement, the profit motive wouldn't leave this "great" idea on the drawing board for several decades. Jackson NJ is not a destination that can support a 4 season hotel because there is nothing to do there for over half the year, except shop at an outlet, and Tanger outlets arent exactly rare these days..

And when the park is open it's competing with the entire Mid Atlantic Coast and places where the kids can go on rides, and the parents can golf,fish, surf, boat, whatever.

Last edited by billb7581, Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:36 PM
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:40 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar


Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:48 PM

I think we'll see the 500 foot barrier broken within the next decade or two, even with all the challenges mentioned in this thread. It'll probably be an Intamin and at one of the ego parks with plenty of money to burn like Ferrari World.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:36 PM

Stop what? If something is feasible and profitable, it doesn't lie dormant due to lack of interest, hell, even bad ideas get seed money.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:42 PM
sws's avatar

Having a nearly uncontrollable urge to poke a caged snake with a stick. Must...resist...Just walk away....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 10:19 PM

wahoo skipper said:

I still contend that there is a height or speed that will be the peak for the average rider...even the average coaster rider.

From that point, and the space constraint comments, I think a 500 ft coaster would suffer from the same fate the original I305 had; sustained positive G's causing riders to grey out. It would take a lot of space to make a 500 ft drop horizontal without large G forces, and that would create sustained ones instead... it probably COULD be done, but that's definitely a major design constraint.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 10:25 PM

it will at some point kingda ka is only 44 feet off, it won't be at a six flags though because there is no point in breaking a record they already have, im betting on it being at a cedar fair park more that likely at cedar point, i hope that it uses a cable like millennium force

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 10:30 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

From what I understand, the problem with I305 wasn't the pullout so much as the turn. (In fact, the track mod didn't change the pullout at all from what I gather). So the real issue isn't getting to horizontal. The issue is going in a direction other than the one you're already going in. I think doing the station and brakes in the opposite direction of the lift hill ala El Toro would probably save you some "straight line distance."

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:25 PM

Here in Ohio, non-enthusiast friends often turn to me with discussions and their opinions of whatever new coaster comes our way. In regard to Top Thrill Dragster one thing I heard consistently was that they still liked Millenium Force and Magnum better. It seems they more appreciated the climb to the top and the extended view from two or three hundred feet rather than the fleeting, frantic view from four hundred. I heard more than once that while Dragster was thrilling, the other two still delivered more of a satisfying experience, citing that a 2.5 minute varied experience was somehow worth the wait, whereas a 17 second "oh my god what was that?" experience was not.

This leads me to the opinion that maybe TTD's (and Kingda Ka's) ultimate claim to fame should be the launch speed achieved to reach that incredible height, not the height itself. And that unless a park has the luxury of an entire desert out there to build a nice full circuit 500 foot coaster on, perhaps they shouldn't bother.


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