Flying Turns Update

Thursday, March 16, 2006 5:16 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar The new Space Mountain is surprisingly intense. It's been over 10 years since I rode the original, but man it'ds an awesome ride now. The effects are fantastic!

I'm starting to lose hope that KFT will be done this year. Hopefully things will pick up.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Friday, March 17, 2006 1:52 PM
Very interesting, Jason. 30 years? Sounds like a Pennsylvania highway project. I'm curious about the double lift and the 'extra elements' they said they were putting in to jazz up that otherwise boring portion of the ride.

Twister was built the same way, using a lot of local labor, including kids from Vo-tech and trade schools to help in the construction.

Here's a question I have-- how's the braking done on an FT? I'm wondering with the smooth trough how the cars are slowed down. Does it transition into a section of track?

Friday, March 17, 2006 4:19 PM
janfrederick's avatar I'd guess it might use a braking system similar to the Jet Star. I'm not sure if there are any good pictures of it, but the ride came to a stop on a skid pad (at least the version I rode at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk). The pad was a big slowly moving rubber conveyer belt.
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Friday, March 17, 2006 4:24 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
I'm curious about the double lift and the 'extra elements' they said they were putting in to jazz up that otherwise boring portion of the ride.

One of the added elements will be a 540˚ helix before the initial lift. Think of Twister's run to the first lift. Not really fast, but an exciting way to start out from the station.

The FT will have that similar feel. A drop into a 540˚helix before the lift.

Friday, March 17, 2006 4:50 PM
I think it's going to feature three lifts, but two of those will be small and for the sole purpose of "moving" the cars around the lower portions of the ride.
Friday, March 17, 2006 5:31 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Two lifts, according to Fetterman.
Friday, March 17, 2006 9:24 PM
rollergator's avatar ....and Fetterman got it *direct* from the Lemon Chill Guy! ;)
Friday, March 17, 2006 9:57 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar I belive he said there would be a tunnel near the end of the ride as well.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Friday, March 17, 2006 10:38 PM
I'm just curious how they are going to fit all this in 1300 feet if there is 2 lifts/tunnel/ 540 helix near the end.

Also, I dont know if this will help anyone but heres a picture ive never seen before of a Flying Turns ride at the 1939 worlds fair in NY. Its pretty close up and easy to see the wood used on the track and the "bent metal" braces knoebels has pictures of them making on their site:
I'm not sure if thats the break run or station.
Heres the site I got it from too, which is pretty cool itself: *** Edited 3/18/2006 4:08:29 AM UTC by P18***

Friday, March 17, 2006 11:33 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Fetterman can pack a LOT into a small footprint--see Twister. Besides, the turns on these things are so tight, a helix won't take up very much room.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Saturday, March 18, 2006 7:45 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar I could be wrong but I think the helix is in the tunnel.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

Sunday, March 19, 2006 5:28 PM
AV, I don't think it's so much the footprint as it is the length of the course. 1300 feet is less than half of Phoenix's length, and I think even a bit shorter than Whirlwind. None of the other Flying Turns rides listed on RCDB give a length. Does anyone know whether Knoebels version will be of average length or longer?

This site has a great picture of the Turns that were at the park in St. Louis. Scroll down a bit.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:25 PM

The Flying Turns I rode was brake free till the end helix/spiral. Toward the end of the spiral a crowd bar pushed the train from the side to the bottom of the trough. There the track straightend and narrowed, with guides on both sides of the train, similar to a side friction ride. Below the train, attached to this narrow track, were sled type brakes operated manually by a lever, and that's how it stopped.

Note to all-

Remember, folks, the Flying Turns rides were thrilling, but they were extremely short rides with not a lot of height or speed. 26 mph sounds about right- the fun came from the action of the train winding it's way up and around the tight curves. Anyone expecting extreme coaster thrills will be disappointed. We lost the last one of these in the late 60's, I'd guess, and back then few people had traveled over 40 MPH on any coaster or amusement device. Big difference nowadays, and I'm sure there are plenty of you who would pass on La Vibora, let's say, for a ride on Titan or Texas Giant. So I'm just sayin'....

I for one am looking forward to seeing how they pull it off. Frankly, I get nervous when I hear about modifications and things like OTS restaints, but I can't wait to see and experience it and commend Knoebel's for being the ones to bring it to us. It's the perfect place for such a project.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 7:36 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar I seem to remember reading that the KFT will be longer than the Riverview version it's being based on.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Monday, March 20, 2006 7:55 AM
It’s the weekend and I have a couple of minutes available to enjoy jabbering about the Turns project. First, many thanks to those of you who enjoy contemplating the project and how it will turn out. I hope we do you proud. I’ll try to answer some questions scattered throughout this topic.

The finished trough will be essentially without face nails or screws, although we have no way of knowing what the surface will look like after ten or fifteen years or service. Imagine a shuffleboard surface which is curved sideways into half an enormous storm drain pipe. It might be an appropriate venue if rats decide to take up snowboarding and they need a halfpipe…

We expect to have to keep a couple of carpenters busy with the ride! We hope that the need will not be so pronounced as it was with previous Turns rides; we have on our side the technological advance of pressure-treated lumber, which none of Bartlett’s creations would have benefited from to reduce the severity of maintenance on them.

Keep in mind that this ride is essentially the Riverview and/or Coney Island (second version) Turns ride, and it is not as “thrilling” as the Euclid Beach Turns. The EBP ride was my holy grail of Turns rides over the years, but the extreme nature of the ride it gave means that, as we are low on the learning curve of how to build these things, we would have had to pull our punches in so many places, lest we unwittingly make a mistake which would bring the Safety-Only advocates down on our heads. Not knowing for sure, we would have to be very conservative and stunt the ride’s potential. The Riverview ride had more than enough thrills – at Riverview Park, it was the second most popular coaster in a park where there were five other choices – but was not pushing the envelope so much that we felt we could accurately rebuild the ride without the need to neuter it.

This IS a backyard project. Phoenix, too, was a backyard project, literally as well as figuratively: Jane Knoebel, the wife of then-president Hartman “Pete” Knoebel, volunteered her backyard to host the ride we were moving from San Antonio back in 1985 when other sites were proving to be less than satisfactory hosts for the job. Everything we do is backyard-y – except that we follow all safety and professional standards when building our rides.

There will actually be three lifts in this ride, an increase of one over the Bartlett design. The first lift gets the train from the station to the opposite end of the ride, where a second lift carries the train to its highest point for the beginning of the troughed portion of the ride. The third lift comes prior to the station. It affords an additional measure of safety to a system which will demand the use of three trains to maximize throughput.

The tunnel-slash-540 degree helix comes between the first and second lift. It is not intended to provide the rush of a rocket coaster’s acceleration. It is intended to be a red herring for first-time riders who have heard about the unique aspects of the ride, but have not actually experienced them. Also, tunnels are generally fun!

The “helix” is not the same as the helix present on the Euclid Beach ride. That helix was at the very end of the ride and part of the braking system. It was not particularly gentle on either passengers or rolling stock, and the braking approach it contained – a crowd brake encroaching from the upper side – was not employed again by Bartlett on his later designs.

Braking on this Turns is accomplished by first bringing the track back up from its lowest point – slowing the train – and flaring out the radius of the final turn, allowing the car to creep downward from its highest banking around the curve, following with a straight section with funnel guides. At the far end of the funnel, the train has been “found” and “captured” by the guide track, and a set of sled brakes can do their job converting the energy of the cars into heat.

The rotating Jet Star brake was a wonderful solution to a difficult problem inherent in that ride. Our Jet Star never had the rotating brake – the brilliant people at Santa Cruz boardwalk and Dana Morgan had produced that gem. We’re eliminating the need for such an elegant solution, in part by just throwing lots of skid brakes at the trains.

That terrific picture of the Turns at the 1939 World’s Fair is showing the brake run. The station area would be to the left of the photographer. Note that Coney Island had two Turns rides. The first had a deep dip, unlike other Turns (except for the Palisades abortion, Lake Placid Bobsleds). The first Coney ride, the “Steeplechase Turns” ride had a slew of postcards made of it, and the view of the deep drop is commonly available for sale on ebay. The second ride which stood at Coney Island is the one which is pictured at the 1939 World’s Fair, and is the Turns ride which was last standing in the early 1970s before it, too, was demolished.

The notion that advances in ride technology have passed by the rides of earlier generations was tendered even back in the early 1980s when we were working on moving a wooden coaster. Most people within this industry had turned their back on the wooden coaster; the ascendancy of the steel, looping coaster was complete and irreversible, so they believed. Our fixation on the old technology of the wooden coaster proved to be appropriate and was the trigger of the second golden age of coaster building.

It remains to be seen whether our faith in the genius of the old masters will once again be rewarded with great popular approval. Keep in mind that we humans cannot feel “speed” per se, and there are various tricks used by designers to bring the sensation of speed home to the riders. Many of these tricks work independently of the actual speed. We are able to perceive acceleration, and acceleration can be generated without the need for any great speed.

We have been concerned about the shortness of the Turns ride sensation, but anyone who has ever ridden one claims that, due to the unique sensations present, the actual duration of the ride is irrelevant. We can hope. We can also hope that the ride is judged justly on its merits, as a member of a given set of rides already in place at Knoebels Groves, and not in terms of its theoretical setting next to a Texas Giant (even though it might well make the Giant suffer by comparison!).

John Fetterman

Knoebels Groves *** Edited 3/20/2006 2:13:45 PM UTC by John Fetterman***

Monday, March 20, 2006 9:31 AM
Thanks, John, that was a tremendous amount of info that should not only put to rest many of the questions, but undoubtedly will raise some more! :) That's how things seem to work around here!

Again, Thank you.

You have disturbed the forbidden temple, now-you-will-pay!!!

Monday, March 20, 2006 9:44 AM
matt.'s avatar John's post there was exactly why I'm a coaster enthusiast. If anybody needs some reafirmming of why they are in this hobby to begin with, I think that should definately cut it.

Amazing stuff.

Monday, March 20, 2006 10:19 AM
Fabulous. Thank you, Mr. Fetterman, for the report. The Euclid Beach Turns was the only one I ever got to ride, and I have dreamed many times that the true experience of a real Flying Turns was somewhere for me to repeat.

I remember a shout going up from the crowd at an early ACE convention when the steel manufacturers announced their versions of the Flying Turns. The resulting version(s), while fun, do not match up to the original experience.

It's apparent that in your version there is another commitment to re-create a classic with attention to the details that make it so, and I am always grateful to the Knoebels team for that. And more importantly because of you there is a whole new generation (or two!) of ride enthusiasts out there that will be introduced to a world of thrills not described with the adjectives longest, fastest, or tallest.

I can't wait for this. Thanks for taking your time, and getting it right. Please accept my wish to you and the crew for a safe and successful project.


P.S.-Was that crowd brake really all that rough? Maybe it's just that my teenaged body didn't think so at the time, perhaps this 50-something would disagree! I just remember it came along a little too soon and interrupted a really rockin' spiral!

Monday, March 20, 2006 10:42 AM
janfrederick's avatar John, your comments on the Jet Star at Santa Cruz made a light bulb go off. The Santa Cruz Jet Star has very different looking rolling stock from the other Jet Stars I've seen. Throw Dana Morgan into the equation and you just might have rooling stock that looks like small race cars instead of individual "Speed Racer" type bogies.

But that's only a guess at this point.

Anyway, here's to hoping your recreation is still with us when my son is 8 or 9 and is ready to head to PA for his first coaster trip. ;)

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Monday, March 20, 2006 12:04 PM
Looks like theres been some verticle construction going on over the weekend.

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