How was Tidal Wave "launched"?

Friday, December 28, 2001 6:44 PM
I know it wasn't LIM, cause that wasn't around yet.

Was it hydraulic or some other form of launch? All I know is DANG I MISS THAT RIDE and with all these new launched rides, I was wondering how one of the very first ones did it.


thanks in advance guys!!

Just call me MPG...

Friday, December 28, 2001 6:51 PM
A big weight under the spike would drop, propelling the train. Most Schwarzkopf looping shuttles were fly wheel models instead of the weight drop models. I only know of 3 that used the weight drop, both Tidal Wave's (Viper & Greased Lightnin') and I think the third, which had the triangluar-type track was called White Lightning or something... I'll have to look that one up.
Edit- After looking it up, I found out it operatd as White Lightnin' @ Paramout's Carowinds from '77-'88. Then, it was relocated to Gold Reef City, as Golden Loop. As for the track, it's the same as both Tidal Wave's, except the loop, which is triangular track. As far as I know, it's the only weight drop model with any triangular track.

*** This post was edited by Long Live The SKY WHIRL on 12/29/2001. ***

Friday, December 28, 2001 7:02 PM
I'm cheating here. I am not familiar with that ride, so I will give you two possible scenarios. I know it's one or the other, someone else will have to tell you which applies to that particular ride.
Both Methods: At the back of the train there is a counterweighted flap that hangs down near the center of the car. The counterweight holds the plate in the "up" position; an electric solenoid lowers the plate. The plate provides something for the launch mechanism to push against. That way, once the train reaches full speed, it can easily pull away from the pusher, and when the train comes back the plate will be "up" and can clear the pusher if it hasn't moved back to its home position yet. By now you've probably noticed the critical part: A pusher rides along the center of the track, pulleded along by a wire rope. How it is powered is the difference between the two systems.

Method A: The wire rope is attached indirectly to a gigantic weight. The weight is lifted to the top of a tower located behind the forward spike. Upon launch, the weight is cut loose and as it drops down the tower, it pulls the wire rope which pulls the pusher, which shoves the train out of the station.

Method B: The wire rope is attached to a cable winding drum which is connected via a pneumatically controlled clutch to a fast-spinning shaft, that shaft connected to a very heavy flywheel. An electric motor spins the flywheel up to high speed, then the winding drum is connected to the flywheel shaft. The drum accelerates rapidly, pulling the wire rope which pulls the pusher which shoves the train out of the station. The flywheel stores a huge amount of energy by virtue of its immense mass, making it possible to apply lots of force to a very heavy train.

Arrow also did launched coasters; but they put their launch track way up in the air and pull it out of the station using the brute force of a DC motor.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Friday, December 28, 2001 7:31 PM
Tidal Wave, my fav. rode at Great America (and SFOG for that matter), is indeed of Method A. God I miss warms the heart to see people share their fondness of this ride. And the good news is she's still kickin'! Any word on her whereabouts? You'd think we'd see ground clearing soon.
Don't.....look.....back! The Headless Horseman awaits you in 2002!
Model coasters and rides
Friday, December 28, 2001 7:35 PM
A side note here: The flywheel method launches quite a bit faster.

Oh...and the counterweight is VERY heavy (I've heard 40,000lbs). In fact, one time, at band camp (j/k), at Great America Santa Clara, the counterweight cable snapped and dropped the thing 60' which caused a small earthquake in the employee cafeteria.

"I'll bet that thing hits 5 Gs going through that loop.....faaar ooouut!"

Friday, December 28, 2001 7:44 PM
The Tidal Wave Was my favorite ride at SGFRAM. I really miss it very much. It was also my first coaster.

Beer, My Baby, and Coasters. Is this a great country or what? ;)

Friday, December 28, 2001 7:51 PM
I thought the coaster at Kennywood used the weight too, I could be wrong.
"Villain-Once You Drop, The Fun Don't Stop!"~SFWoA Rules In 2002~With SFWoA ANYTHING Is Possible!
Friday, December 28, 2001 8:42 PM
Viper, from my understanding, is still disassembled at SFOG and will probably be resurrected but not for next season.

Viper was launched with a counterweight.  The pusher attached to the car at the back of the train which had a plate on the back end right in the middle.  Before the train would launch to pusher would engage the 'bumper,' and at once the breaks would *slam* open and the weight would be released.  At the end of the launching segment of the track, the pusher would slow down and would round a large wheel under the trak and return to the station, upside down and wait until the track stopped.

When it was ready to be launched again, the pusher would round another large (about 6' diameter) wheel and engage to the bumper again.  The process would be repeated for each launch.  Nothing needed to be raised or lowered because the pusher would keep moving in a circuit under the track so when the train returned the two would not collide.

Occasionally the pusher would disengage too early and the train would either roll back or would make it through the loop forward but not backward and would have to be unloaded between the loop and the front spike.  There are catwalks on most of the shuttle loopers there for this reason.

Answer anyone's questions?

Friday, December 28, 2001 10:08 PM
Maybe someone can answer this. If the train would valley in between the loop and the first spike, how did they bring the train back to it's starting position. Is there some sort of way that the train is raised up the spike and then released backwards? I've always been curious about that. 
Great American Thrills! Your unofficial guide to PGA!

*** This post was edited by Great American Thrills on 12/29/2001. ***

Saturday, December 29, 2001 5:58 AM

This page has some great pics and video of the flywheel launch system on Greezed Lightning at SFAW.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Saturday, December 29, 2001 12:47 PM
White Lightnin' was a weight-drop type. The track around the loop makes it very distinctive looking. What I remember of it is distorted because I saw it when I was a kid. It seems like it took forever inbetween rides. It even seems like there was a clock next to it counting down to the next launch.
Saturday, December 29, 2001 3:15 PM
The Laser Loop at Kennywood was a flywheel/clutch launched shuttle loop, just as is Greased Lightning at Astroworld is. The powerhouse on these things are impressive as all get out. There is a white line painted on the flywheel, and when it's up to full speed it looks like the entire thing is white.
Sunday, December 30, 2001 4:46 AM
White Lightning was moved the year I was born but from what my parents told me the track was somewhat light green and it stood where the water park is now.  I do know for a fact that it is the only triangular track weight drop shuttle loop/
Favorite Steel: Top Gun: the Jet Coaster
Favorite Wood:Hershey Park Wildcat.
Sunday, December 30, 2001 11:15 AM
White lightnin was WHITE  with an orange train   the clock was a floral decoration   not a countdown till the next launch   it is now located on the old smurf island 

 I believe King Cobra at PKD was a twin of White Lightnin   Anyone care to confirm or deny

White lightnin was my first major coaster  I missed an opportunity to ride it one last time after the park closed  on its last day

Tidal Wave/viper at sfog  was great too   and probably the best themed coaster I've seen  (I liked  the swamp theme) they even had real crawfish in the que line

Sunday, December 30, 2001 4:45 PM
In June I rode White Lightnin', now known as Golden Loop at GRC as others above have said. Yup, it took forever inbetween launches as it took 5 mins to winch the counterweight to its starting height. You sit in the train for 3 mins waiting & waiting then "whoa!" Not "(insert swear word)" as it's more of a gradual launch unlike flywheel & LIM/LSM launches.

It's running quite smoothly & the loop pulls massive Gs. I took these two pics & pardon the quality as I used a point-&-shoot camera.

Sunday, December 30, 2001 4:58 PM
john13601, King Kobra (now in S.A. I think) was my first "major" coaster, and Schwarzkopf's first shuttle-looper according to rcdb.  Anton ROCKS...but those weight-drops can be pretty LOUD...
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Sunday, December 30, 2001 7:09 PM
If a train vallied between the spike and the loop, a winch at the top of the spike would be attached the train, it would be hoisted to the top, and released.
Tuesday, January 1, 2002 11:07 AM
Thanks for the info, guys and gals!!  My memories of TW are quickly fading but I do remember the way it "launched" out of the station..very fast but there was still a "pick-up" of speed that occurred all the way to the loop. DANG I miss that ride.
Just call me MPG...

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