I arrived at the park a little after 5:30 a.m., and parked next to the Cedar Creek Mine Ride entrance. I got Kara the marketing intern to help carry my video gear after walking back to the Magnum entrance to get my registration stuff. We shot a bunch of HD video for PointBuzz, which I wasn't entirely happy with, but it was the first time I ever used the camera in the field. Much to learn about its settings and the post workflow.
First impression of the ride, under a pre-dawn sky, was, "Wow, that thing is loud. Sounds similar to, but a lot more menacing than, your typical S&S tower." The sound is really more intimidating than the motion of the ride.
After getting our first interview, I decided to get a ride just before sunrise. I have to admit that I never had high expectations for the ride, which is probably why I liked it so much. In fact, I think I might like it better than maXair. There isn't really much that I can explain about the ride, because it is essentially a swing, but the air time at the top, the G's at the bottom, and the thrusts that get you moving, were all more intense than I expected.
From an engineering perspective, this is the most elegant and simple thing that S&S has built since its towers. I say that because, well, the mechanism is basically the same as the towers. The difference in this case is that instead of attaching a vehicle to the loop of cable that passes through the long cylinder, the vehicle is attached to the pulley at the top of the loop. It really isn't any more complicated than that.
The ride cycle isn't really as short as people seem to think. It's a lot longer than the tower rides, and probably as long as a lot of coasters. And it does 40 people per cycle too. If anything is going to slow the ride down, it's the after-market seat restraints that Cedar Point is so famous for. They put short nylon straps on them with carabiners on the end that clip into a big eye bolt between the seats. They're clumsy to get on and off (especially with two hands there), and you have to pull down the bar a bit (it both pivots and moves perpendicular to your lap) in order to get it to clip. That's going to slow things down.
So as skeptical as I was, after five rides, I really dig it, and I think it's an awesome addition that will be reliable, and eventually eat people when they get the hang of running it. I bet that being in the back of the park, it'll be a very short wait later in the day.
Well done. Two great non-coaster additions in two years.
For those who don't post on PointBuz.com here is some Time lapse of Skyhawk. Including Media Day.
See you tomorrow morning Jeff. :)
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