PKD 4-7-2001: Hypersonic Horrors!

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Saturday, April 7, 2001 6:07 PM
On Friday, I canceled by trip to SFGAdv and Nitro. I just wasn't up to driving 3hrs up and back just to hang out in the rain. Plus I had mad work to do, so I figured I'd go to work early, then head on down to PKD. About 11:30am, I called down there and they said H:XLC WOULD be running, AND that they had added carS (yes, she said cars with an S!) I got a little giddy and asked how many were now running. She replied that she didnt have that info. I took it at that, did a little more work and then headed to the park.

I got to the park at a little befor 3pm and headed straight for Hypersonic. The attendant handing out the tickets at the begining of the queue line said it would be about 3-3.5hrs. (yeah, like I cared :)). I took my ticket and joined the line.

As I enter the queue, I notice that they are running two trains (cars), #s 1 & 4. 2 & 3 were calmly siting on the transfer tracks. Because there was (another) cheerleeding competition AND the weather was fairly warm, PKD was pretty busy. Hypersonic pretty much had a full queue. However, the line moved pretty quickly. Now one thing to note, the last stretch of the queue, right before you enter the station, is situated right alongside the launch strip. I think this was a great move. Because just as people are starting to realize they have been in line a while, FWOOM! They get to see the launch up close and personal. That helps to keep them motivated. It took about 2 hours (a little less) to get from the queue enterance to the station platform (not bad for only two cars). While waiting in line, the wind shifted and the temperature began to drop; an omen of things to come.

Like I said, after two hours, I reach the station platform. There was about a five minute delay, where the train was just sitting on the weigh station. Then it went ahead and launched. I'm about to hand the guy my ticket, when all of a sudden, you hear this big "OHMYGOSH" sound from the entire queue line. I quickly whip my head around and see the recently launched train...running BACKWARDS!! That's right sports fans (coaster fans), H:XLC ROLLED BACK. The brakes on the launch strip caught the train and it came to a final rest just ahead of the 'weigh station'.

Well, this certainly caused an uproar in a queue full of GP members. Some were cheering, some were puzzled, and some were downright afraid. I mean people had already been remarking about the train creeping over the top. Now they were VERY concerned.

Well after about 20 minutes of downtime, they finally start cycling empty cars. You should have heard the cheer that went up from the (now halfway full) queue when the train made it over the top. After a few more empty cycles, they sent off the "All Clear" warning horn and re-sent the riders who had gotten the "preview" ride. And all worked well without another hitch.

It was (finally) my turn to ride. As I have stated before, the ride was lovely in the back. This time I wanted to try (closer) to the front, so I queued for row 2. Well there was also a single rider on my train in row 3. So to do my part to help with capacity, I hopped back with him and let the people behind me get into row 2. We strap up, get weighed, and are off to the launch strip.

It's kinda weird stitting up there with everyone's eyes trained on you. I was on the side nearest the queue and everyone was real focused on the launch. The people in the queue were egging us on to put our hands up (as if I needed any coaxing;)). I felt the sled latch on, and thrust my hands skyward; eyes trained on the "christmas tree" racing lights. Pre-stage, stage, yellow, GREEN, FWOOM! We are off and we are cooking. Into the vertical ascent and all you see is clouds and sky, I begin to brace for the extreme ejector air. Here's the floaty air pre-cursor....then wait, we're slowing down. The though went through all our minds "WE'RE NOT GONNA MAKE IT!" We go just far enough that the nose got to the top, then gravity took over. The brakes on the ascent side of the tower immediately began the process of slowing us down, but we still hit the launch strip brakes kinda hard. The girl behind me (who was a little apprehensive at the start) was done. She wanted off. She quickly composed herself, but a 2nd attempt was out of her question. It's funny, but once again there was a general cheering mood from the crowd, not a fearfull one.

They unloaded us and had us walk back to the station (a short walk), where they gave us the option to ride again after a little testing. Five of us said yes while my riding partner and his 2 friend behind us just decided to leave. In his words "I just wanted to do the launch anyway". Well said.

After another 10-15 min they re-board us, along with 3 "new recruits". This time the launch was sufficient. We made it over the top, where we were all greeted with "Get yer hide outta da seat" ejection air (man, I love that!), cruise thru the turn, over the bunny hop and into the breaks. I turn to the new guys behind us and ask "Was it worth it?" One replies "Hell yeah!" and the other came up with the quote of the day "Whoever designed this thing has a disease!"

Well after my ride, it was now almost 6:30pm and I only had one (well one and a half :)) rides on H:XLC so I wanted to do a couple of thing before I left. I hopped on Hurler since I didnt ride it last Sunday when I was there (too busy with FOF). As soon as we are halfway out the station, the op stopped the train. I said (rather loudly) that I didnt want to get stuck on a second coaster. Three little kids heard this and one of them recognized me from the rollback. So I tell them how it was and that it wasnt really scary, blah, blah, yada. Anyway, mid-Hurler-ride, H:XLC rolled back AGAIN! (That's 3 for those keeping score at home). As you can guess I was through with H:XLC for the day. Anyway, I got two more re-rides on Hurler and headed to FOF. On the way, I saw an Outer Limits: Flight of Fear hat (yes it actually SAID Outer Limits). I was only two bucks so I had to scoop it. Anyway, the FOF line was like an hour and a half (now 7pm, park closes at 8pm). I say screw it, buy myself a long-sleeved H:XLC tee and a funnel cake and left the park.

Season Passholders appreciation day is on Monday (April 9th) so I'm thinking about going (10am-6pm). We'll see. It is good to know though that barring failures, a full H:XLC queue is only about 2hrs with two trains. Hopefully that will drop some more with the addition of the third.
later days,
jeremy
--HYPERSONIC: XLC! The only full-circut coaster to feature a vertical drop both forwards AND BACKWARDS!
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Saturday, April 7, 2001 6:35 PM
Wow that sounds really freaky about the car going backwards like that. Man just think if they did a giga thrust air or something. The thrust air already sound pretty darn exciting let alone if they did one like 300 feet or something. Andyway how was the launch did you face feel like it was going to rip off of your face or was it a headbanger like fof ?
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Saturday, April 7, 2001 6:43 PM
What a crazy day! I hope they work out the bugs on Hypersonic for this summer.
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SFEG-*New For 2001* Carnival Of Chaos Batman Stunt Show. Wow.
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Saturday, April 7, 2001 7:17 PM
Rollback. I need to be the lucky soul onboard a train when one of those happens. Nice to see that your had a good day Hostyl.

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2001- the year of flight!
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Saturday, April 7, 2001 10:20 PM
Jeremy, you're a lucky, lucky man!

(Funny how enthusiasts' perspectives are a bit off compared to the GP. Even funnier, WildOne and myself accompanied 2Hostyl on his first Hypersonic ride. Now he's at least a half a ride ahead of me ;) )

I need to get myself one of those Hypersonic long-T's...

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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
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Saturday, April 7, 2001 11:37 PM

JORDON DUNHAM said:
"Wow that sounds really freaky about the car going backwards like that. Man just think if they did a giga thrust air or something. The thrust air already sound pretty darn exciting let alone if they did one like 300 feet or something. Andyway how was the launch did you face feel like it was going to rip off of your face or was it a headbanger like fof ?"


Check this out man...they are building a giga thrust air in Japan right now! I forget what Stan Checketts said exactly. I think it was 107 mph and 320 feet, but I can't remember exactly. I sure hope it's running when I'm there in August.

About the launch, it is absolutely AMAZING. And to answer your question, there is no headbanging. Why? There is nothing to bang your head against. No shoulder restraints on this ride! (Like it should be :) )

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- Peabody
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Sunday, April 8, 2001 2:29 AM
Only a TURE enthusiast would consider an HS:XLC rollback an experience!

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If Lifes a Rollercoaster, I want a Flawless
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Sunday, April 8, 2001 2:29 AM
Well I don't know if I'd agree with the headline after reading the whole story, but it does sound like there's work to be done. After the headline I expected to read something along the lines of a "Wallyworld" incident. You know drove all the way to the park, waited in line, and then the ride closed as your were about to board. It's happened to me before.
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Sunday, April 8, 2001 5:33 AM
Didn't Stan Checketts say that Thrust Airs could be programmed to randomly rollback? Just to kinda screw with the riders?
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Sunday, April 8, 2001 6:08 AM
Skate: While I'm sure that's "possible", I'm pretty sure that the ones at PKD were totally unplanned. The ops/attendants/mechanics all exchanged those nervous "I dont know. What do you think? Beats me!" type glances so it seems they were as surprised as anyone.

I-Fan, sorry it was late and "Horrors" was the only word that I could think of remotely close that started with an "H". I was going for alliteration.
jeremy
--who will from now on leave the literary devices to English majors and stick to something simple...like rocket science!
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Sunday, April 8, 2001 8:55 AM
Happiness would have worked.;)

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2001- the year of flight!
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Monday, April 9, 2001 3:57 AM
Yeah, Stan said it can be programmed to roll back every now and then.
But in the case above, everyone had to unload, and then they had to run test cars. This takes time, it's already a low capacity ride. I don't think these roll backs are part of the program. Now if it rolls back, and they put the car back into position and re-launch without unloading everyone, then I'll say it's programmed.
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Monday, April 9, 2001 4:48 AM
I was in line during all 3 of these rollbacks. The first one was cool, because, well...it was the first one. The second and third ones were not so cool because by the time they have to unload and retest, our waiting time just got longer and longer. (We all started to pray for every train make it over the hill. One guy in line suggested we all blow at the same time.)

But I must say that even though I was cold, tired, and starting to get frustrated, I stuck in there and finally got to ride around 8:00. All I can say is..it was worth every single second. Never in my life has something scared me so badly before I even got on it. When I actually got my turn, everything became surreal. My hands were shaking like a leaf, and I was holding on as tight as I could. But it was the best 15 - 20 seconds of my life. My hands were still shaking 30 minutes after the ride. (I was not the only one...I saw these "cool dudes" in front of me start to lose it as their turn approached. They admitted they were scared and didn't care.)

2Hostyl, you are lucky you got to experience a rollback....it looked like you came down faster than you went up!

I do want to mention that if you are one of the brave ones that wants to hold your hands up, here is some advice. My boyfriend held his hands up, and had a sore shoulder immediately afterwards. The force is so great when you take off, be sure to at least have your shoulders firmly against the back of the seat. (Or do like me and hang on to anything you can find....which isn't a whole lot!) *** This post was edited by Lorrie on 4/9/2001. ***
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Monday, April 9, 2001 7:34 AM

Lorrie said:
"I do want to mention that if you are one of the brave ones that wants to hold your hands up, here is some advice. My boyfriend held his hands up, and had a sore shoulder immediately afterwards. The force is so great when you take off, be sure to at least have your shoulders firmly against the back of the seat. (Or do like me and hang on to anything you can find....which isn't a whole lot!)"


As a hands-up kinda guy, my approach was to put my hands slightly forward instead of straight up. That way your arms don't just get thrown backwards.

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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 4/9/2001. ***
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Sunday, June 30, 2002 3:39 PM

Nice tr!

P.S. I love digging up old trip reports!

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-Sean Newman
84 coasters in Track Record!! Hypersonic XLC # 100 in July. Waiting for the 305 foot drop tower in 2003. Thank you PKD.

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