Busch Gardens Tampa announces Iron Gwazi roller coaster

Posted Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

A new legend is surfacing in 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with the evolution of Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest, and the fastest, and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91-degree drop, and reach top speeds of 76 miles per hour. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime hills as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track. With a 48” height requirement, Iron Gwazi will be an exciting thrill attraction that families can take on together.

“Iron Gwazi is the evolution of a classic wooden coaster into a modern icon,” said Stewart Clark, Park President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. “From the bones of the original Gwazi, a new legend rises, reaching taller heights and faster speeds, delivering the next-level thrills that our coaster fans crave and expect from Busch Gardens.”

While elements of the former wooden attraction will be integrated into the new ride, the steel track and reimagined layout of Iron Gwazi present an entirely unique experience that tells a different story. Iron Gwazi will highlight the best of both worlds — the classic nostalgia of a wooden coaster and the bold innovation of a steel coaster. Thriving and adapting over millions of years, this evolutionary crossroad is perfectly represented in the crocodile, the largest living reptile and the animal inspiration for Iron Gwazi.

See more from Busch Gardens.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:09 PM

Holy crap.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:46 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Am I totally mis-remembering something? I thought I remember hearing that test runs are usually on faster wheels to make sure the train doesn't stall or valley but is often actually run with slower wheels for guests to reduce wear and tear and sometimes intensity. Or did I just make that up in my brain?


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."

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:59 PM
Fun's avatar

Evidently a person has already test ridden. That is hard to get comfortable with the idea of less than 24 hours of ride commissioning before they put a person on it.

Last edited by Fun, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 11:06 PM
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 12:00 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

That definitely does not seem right - either right as in accurate or right as in moral. Probably one because of the other.


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."

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 12:15 AM
Fun's avatar

Multiple passengers at that... It seems borderline irresponsible.

https://twitter.com/MisftsUnmanaged/status/1237465036676874240?s=20

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 1:51 AM
99er's avatar

Does it though? First riders are typically those who designed the ride so if they trust their team of engineers, why wait much longer? What is an appropriate amount of time to wait after the initial tests are run and the data holds up to what they designed? Seems like those who do this for a living might know what that time frame is and are using it accordingly.


-Chris
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 5:54 AM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I can tell you that at Great Coasters, after the first train makes it around the course, there are passengers on the very next train. It surprised me too, but the engineers and builders know what they’re doing.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 7:17 AM

Irresponsible indeed. These experienced designers, builders, and operators missed a crucial step in the decision making process for putting riders on board: clearing it with the online coaster loving community. Don’t they know the risks: having fun, enjoying the ride, getting a first impression? I bet one or two of those daredevils even clapped or cheered at the end.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 7:36 AM
kpjb's avatar

Once the first couple runs are done with metering for g-forces/stress/etc, there's no reason not to use people instead of water dummies. Although before the coaster is signed off to the park, sometimes you have to sign a waiver with the manufacturer.


Hi

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 9:33 AM
Fun's avatar

Really? I'm being unreasonable here? Because RMC certainly has a track record of delivering rides without any unforeseen issues. No way in hell I'd go on, or allow others to go one of their rides without multiple days of ride cycling first. They've certainly earned the skepticism.

I can tell you from first-hand experience- B&M (with a far superior history of delivering safe rides, on schedule) has an extensive list of testing requirements that must be met before they even allow their folks to hop on.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:20 AM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I think it's even crazier for wood coasters than steel coasters, which is why I was surprised to learn how quickly the GCI engineers and construction workers hopped on the ride. For steel coasters, the track is prefabricated, and assuming the final product meets the engineering requirements (I would guess that each track piece is inspected for proper tie spacing, rail curvature, etc.), then you pretty much know that the ride's g-force profile is going to be what you designed it to be.

However, on a wooden coaster, even though the engineer designs the full ride profile and the track's heartline curvature, because the track rails are constructed on site board by board, the finished product is largely dependent on skilled carpentry. The designer really only has control over the location of the ledgers that support the track, which are spaced anywhere from 4.5' to 9' apart (in the plan view -- the actual distance can easily be over 10'). For the smoothness of the rails that have to span that distance, you're relying on guys cutting wood in the field. Therefore, a wood coaster's g-force profile is harder to predict, or be "sure of," prior to instrumenting the trains with accelerometers. Simply witnessing the first train make it back to the station doesn't mean that there isn't a rough spot somewhere on the track that could cause an injury. But I don't really believe that's the case with a steel coaster.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 11:33 AM

I think it’s completely unreasonable. These ride go through extensive design processes and they do clearance tests. If the water dummies come back intact and metering doesn’t show anything problematic, what is there to be worried about? I’m curious about what bad things have happened with new RMC coasters that we’re supposed to be so skeered of.

Last edited by bigboy, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 11:34 AM

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:42 PM

Bakeman31092 said:

However, on a wooden coaster, even though the engineer designs the full ride profile and the track's heartline curvature, because the track rails are constructed on site board by board, the finished product is largely dependent on skilled carpentry. The designer really only has control over the location of the ledgers that support the track, which are spaced anywhere from 4.5' to 9' apart (in the plan view -- the actual distance can easily be over 10'). For the smoothness of the rails that have to span that distance, you're relying on guys cutting wood in the field. Therefore, a wood coaster's g-force profile is harder to predict, or be "sure of," prior to instrumenting the trains with accelerometers. Simply witnessing the first train make it back to the station doesn't mean that there isn't a rough spot somewhere on the track that could cause an injury. But I don't really believe that's the case with a steel coaster.

I think you're vastly underestimating the precision of the engineering, and the precision of the carpenters. Both are far more exacting sciences and require pieces to be cut within minimal tolerances. In any level of wood framing, a 12" error would not fly and be remedied immediately.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 11:42 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I’m not underestimating it. I worked there.


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Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:23 AM

Well I saw them testing with people on youtube, looked like a handful of RMC people with test dummies still filling the other seats. I did see another video of workers going through the track with a clearance cut-out (not on a train, just in their hands). It did seem a little odd to me as the final track piece had been put into place I believe just the day before. However, it is possible, seeing as the park looked to be closing early, that they had cycled the ride more times than we know. On the other hand, I remember Cedar Point doing a pull-through with one MF car with a clearance cut-out sticking out of it.

Overall, this probably does mean opening it up faster. I have to admit it looked great flying through the track. It won't be a crack at trying to dethrone SV, IMO, because it has a much different layout and looked to be more centered on speed rather than airtime. Though the video was from blocked off areas and I could be very wrong. Either way, I want on.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:57 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

bigboy said:

I think it’s completely unreasonable. These ride go through extensive design processes and they do clearance tests. If the water dummies come back intact and metering doesn’t show anything problematic, what is there to be worried about? I’m curious about what bad things have happened with new RMC coasters that we’re supposed to be so skeered of.

Well, NTG did fatally launch a rider, so there's that.


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."

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Friday, March 13, 2020 12:00 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

And chalk me up as completely surprised. I assumed the however many required cycles before opening to the public was seen by engineers as useful testing to ensure safety. Is it really that useless when all is said and done and they're comfortable putting their own lives out there that quickly?


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."

+0
Friday, March 13, 2020 12:28 AM
99er's avatar

They designed it, they have to trust themselves. And I ask again, what is the amount of cycles we all think is enough before someone rides? RMC likely has a number they are comfortable with and they met that number. Id trust that more than I would a traveling coaster that was just built a day prior and likely ran a few times.


-Chris
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Friday, March 13, 2020 12:32 AM
Jeff's avatar

Realistically, what is likely to go wrong between the first run and the 100th run on a steel-tracked coaster? That's not rhetorical, I'm genuinely curious. I suspect that the answer is, "not much."


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Friday, March 13, 2020 12:46 AM
99er's avatar

That would likely be the answer. Once you have run a train 100 times and between every 10 cycles you visually inspect the failure points, another 100 runs isn't going to tell you much more than the first 100 runs. The state of Florida might have a number of cycles the coaster must hit before guests ride, but until the ride is signed off by RMC they can ride as soon as they want.

We do this all of the time in our daily lives and don't question it. Nobody test drove my car for 500 miles before I bought it to make sure the wheels didn't fall off and the seatbelts worked. It came with 2 miles on it. When I am climbing a structure for work I trust that my harness will hold my weight since I never tested it with a dummy first.

Last edited by 99er, Friday, March 13, 2020 12:47 AM
-Chris
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