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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Friday, March 13, 2020 8:50 AM

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

Yeah and that was 2 years after the ride opened and not likely caused by something that would have been discovered in testing without riders. I understood the implication to be that there's something inherently dangerous about riding a RMC ride during testing.

Jeff said:

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."

My thoughts exactly. If the water dummies were going to be beheaded, thrown out, or cut in two, it seems as likely to happen in ride 1 as in ride 500.


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Friday, March 13, 2020 9:32 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Jeff said:

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."

Apparently that is the answer. I have a lot of "engineering" background in completely different fields (software) in which problems and bugs often don't reveal themselves until deep into testing or beyond, so that was the framework I was coming out of. I (obviously) have no idea how stress or wear on the mission-critical parts of a roller coaster actually happens or how you detect it.


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 9:51 AM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I'd never apply software practices to machines like this. You can't. My m.o. is to iterate in small cycles to reduce the blast radius of bugs and mistakes. It's a great way to build software, not so much roller coasters. 😁


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

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Friday, March 13, 2020 10:12 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Although that's how I build my K'Nex Screamin' Serpent models (and yes, I still occasionally do 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 10:26 AM
Bakeman31092's avatar

Keep in mind that much of the testing is for the computer controls and handling multi-train operation. Your test list expands significantly when you add another train into the mix. You have to make sure all the transfers, brakes, drive mechanisms and e-stops are functioning properly vis-a-vis the computer. But in terms of the actual dynamic performance of the ride, there really isn't a safety concern once you've seen a few trains successfully complete the circuit.

This especially true if you have a number of rides under your belt that have been proven over years of operation and millions of rides delivered, which is where RMC is at. Now, if this is your very first project, or you have a new train design or brand new restraint system, or you've used a construction company that has never done a roller coaster before, then yes you'll have to go through much more extensive testing before a human is allowed to ride.

As far the NTG incident, you're not going to catch a problem like that unless you specifically test for the unique set of factors that were involved in that accident. If I remember correctly, that woman had a perfect storm of body proportions that allowed her restraint to lock without actually properly securing her in the seat. As far as I know, the test dummies that are used are all the same size and shape.


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Friday, March 13, 2020 5:37 PM
Llama Drama's avatar

My take: If they want to hop on that quickly, fine. But I'd never want to...

Last edited by Llama Drama, Friday, March 13, 2020 5:38 PM
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020 3:38 AM

That video of Gwazi testing was amazing! Cant wait to ride it!


"You're a McDonald, not a whore!" - Ronald McDonald (Family Guy)

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