Indiana Beach - Steel Hawg (07/08/08)

Associated parks:
None

Friday, July 11, 2008 2:18 PM
A completely random trip to Indiana Beach led to a surprise on Tuesday evening…

As Brian and I enter Indiana Beach from the suspension bridge entrance, expecting to get a few rides on Cornball Express, Hoosier Hurricane, Galaxi and Tig’rr, the friendly attendant noticed my ACE shirt and asked if we were going to ride the new coaster. We told him that we did not think it was open as we had heard no news of the ride’s opening, soft or grand. He said that he knew employees were riding on Sunday and had a pretty good hunch that guests were riding as well. Needless to say, Brian and I were ecstatic to hear this news.

We headed for the coaster and along the way we decided to ride their Falling Star. It was running an excellent cycle with plenty of force. I always love a good ride on a falling star or rainbow as it takes me back to my childhood when I rode the Banshee, but I digress. There is a brand new coaster to ride!

We hurried along the midway ignoring most of the happenings as we focused on the giant black and orange steel sculpture. We saw that it was indeed running the course with riders.

As we approached the ride our anticipation swelled. We filled out a release form that would allow Indiana Beach to use us in a commercial. We waited in line and watched the car run through its course. One of the first things we noticed was that it has a very steep lift hill it was somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees. The car really moves up the lift hill; it reaches the top in about 18 seconds. The ride does have magnetic trims on the first drop and the block brakes trim it as well, but they do not hinder the ride experience, especially when the track is wet.

We boarded the car in the front two seats. As we commented on how comfortable the seats were, the ride operators lowered our restraints. The shoulder harnesses are two little arms that come straight down, and the lap bar is on a hinge and comes straight in. It is a very comfortable restraint system.

We take off up the lift hill and feel the rush as we are pushed into our seats by the positive g-forces. At the top of the lift, we fall down a small dip and into a slight right hand turn. We enter a left hand hairpin turn that is reminiscent of a wild mouse coaster. Then we drop down the 120 degree first drop. It is an amazing feeling that is beyond words. The car ascends and sends you around a very tight left hand turn and into the first safety brake.

As we exit the safety brake, the train tilts to the right and turns to the left giving an impression that you will be thrown out of the car. It quickly tilts the other way and sends you back through a tight left hand helix. The banking transitions beautifully into a hanging inversion that seems to leave you hanging forever. I look up …er down at this point to get a unique perspective on the the landscaping that Indiana Beach put in place. After turning right side up via a downward half loop, the car travels up a hill and through the final safety brake.

It then careens through a right hand helix and begins a fantastic downward barrel roll. This element begins about thirty feet from the ground and ends at ground level. The car then maneuvers through a fantastic horseshoe turn at a decent speed. After taking a quick photo, the car hops up into the brake run.The ride has a very small footprint, but as you can see, it packs a lot of different elements in that tiny space.

The placement of the ride makes sense as well as they have changed the parking lot by the original entrance to premium parking ($5). The ride is aligned with that entrance and it greets patrons with its bright orange cheeriness.

I think this ride is a great fit for Indiana Beach and as I spoke with John Collins, the park’s general manager, he seemed to follow my sentiments. He said, “I hope you all come out and enjoy this ride as much as I do.” He continued saying, “This ride really has a lot to offer in a really small space.” That is a real understatement. There really is no bad part of the ride and it paces through the course nicely. It is very smooth and it is very comfortable.For a nice video and pictures, click here.

Edited for more paragraph breaks. *** Edited 7/11/2008 6:20:39 PM UTC by a_hoffman50***

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Friday, July 11, 2008 2:48 PM
I'm so excited to hear this ride was so good. I will have to try to get up there one weekend at the beginning of school!
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Monday, July 14, 2008 2:00 AM
This coaster has some unique forces. Add that to it being IB's only looper and the new management that has not been in the amusement industry before. I am not surprised that they do not allow glasses.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008 12:32 AM
I have to give Steel Hawg a big thumbs up for the fun factor. I rode it on 7/11. I had to wait for about 45 minutes first thing after the park opened while they did some work on it. It ran about 5 cars then the ride shut down. I was on the 5th car and they had to use the emergency unlock to get us out. I spent the entire rest of the day riding the cornball and relaxing in the lazy river and on the beach.

I'll agree that it is a surprisingly comfortable ride with smooth transitions. Very exciting and seemingly very re-ridable. They were extremely slow dispatching the cars and I saw it running for only a few brief periods during the day with long periods on downtime. It is a very short ride also, but it certainly does a lot in the small space.

I tried to visualize future expansion of the park as I have often done. I can only guess that any future expansion will continue out into the current pay lot.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:09 AM
A little birdie told me that the mini golf near the Ferris Wheel may be gone next year. Expansion there? Who knows.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:45 AM
This really looks like a very unique ride, but the track kind of looks cheesy, like a carnival ride or something. I'm intrigued. :)
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:54 PM
Just a note on the glasses. My boyfriend and I rode Steel Hawg on July 13. My boyfriend always uses a strap to secure his glasses on. The ride op told him to take off his glasses before riding, but when he pointed out that they were secured with a strap, he given the okay to ride with them on.
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